Matching Block Points - Pinwheel!

I’ve had a lot of quilters ask how to match up their points in a quilt block! A couple years ago I was asking the same question, too.

I was taught this method for pinning blocks by the wonderful Melissa Corry of Happy Quilting Melissa (not affiliated in any way). I’m just a seriously thankful student! So keep scrollin’ for some pics on the method I learned from her!

(You should also take some time to check out her blog. She is an *amazing* quilter. She can spit out a quilt – cut to quilt – in 3 DAYS!!!)

How to pin your blocks to get perfectly matched points:

Isn’t it so pretty? A perfectly pointed Pinwheel!

The secret to perfect points is to use a pin to match up the points. But more importantly – don’t stress about the perfect 1/4” seam! I’m going to say that again… Don’t stress about the quarter inch seam!

If you are like me, you probably don’t trim your quilt blocks. Okay, okay, I do trim them sometimes. But most of the time I have uneven edges within a quilt block. Some fabrics sew differently, sometimes I don’t cut perfectly straight of grain, sometimes my “scant quarter inch” is more of a “chubby quarter inch” seam. For whatever reason, the edges of my fabric never match up perfectly on the edge of the block. And that’s ok! It just means there may be a bit of finagling when you sew seams to match your points.

Look for this tiny triangle in the seam on the wrong side of the fabric.

For the pics in this tutorial I’m using blocks from a mini quilt I’m putting together for my sisters for some quarantine quilting. I actually trimmed these blocks (shocking, I know), so you won’t see uneven fabric edges. But it will still explain things perfectly.

Take a pin and insert it into the very point of the tiny triangle I showed earlier. We are just marking where the point is on the block. Make sure this is on the wrong side of the fabric in the seam allowance. You will be pinning your two pieces right sides together.

Look closely. It’s hard to see the pin!

Next, put your second quilt square right sides together with the first square. Put the tip of the pin through the second block. Aim for the exact tip of the triangle, or “point”. And then leave the pin standing. Dont fold the pin down and push it through the fabric again! Leave it standing.

As you start sewing, hold the pin upright while leaving it in the points. This helps ensure the points will go under the presser foot at the same time and helps you aim the points toward the sewing needle.

Look very closely! You can see the needle on the point of the tiny triangle.

Hold onto the pin until the last possible moment. Go slowly! You want to leave the pin in until you can get it right up against the sewing needle. Or not quite that close – we don’t want you to hurt yourself or break a needle!

When you sew, do your best to create a 1/4” seam. BUT WAIT. DIDNT SHE SAY NOT TO STRESS ABOUT THE 1/4 INCH SEAM?!

Yes. Yes, I did.

What I mean is, try to match up the pieces of the quilt block as best you can to create a square block. You should rely on the standard 1/4” seam. BUT, when you have uneven fabric edges on the block, you can’t make a perfect 1/4” seam, or the block will not be square. It will be skiwompas. That’s a technical term from my mother – it means crooked. ?

So as you do your best to create a 1/4” seam, keep in mind that you may veer a bit wider or skinnier on the seam as you aim to hit the points of your triangles. And that is ok. It’s more important to have matched points than to have a perfect 1/4” seam.

I prefer to press my seams open when sewing a pinwheel.

The last step is the press the seams! When making a pinwheel block, the seams can get very bulky in the center point of the block. I mean, there are 8 different fabrics meeting in the middle! The general rule of thumb is to press fabric to the dark side, meaning the darker colored fabric. But I chose specifically to press the seams open to reduce the bulk and to make my longarm quilter (meaning ME) happy. It is easier to quilt around points when they lay flatter. It makes the quilting go smoothly, there is less chance of breaking a needle, or even potentially messing up the timing on the machine. Granted, a bulky seam likely won’t break my HQ16 like that, but it reduces the probability. (This is a newer version of my machine, if you’re interested). And the end result looks much nicer!

And here is the finished product!

Flip the block over, and you’re done! Perfectly matched points! Drop a comment if you have any questions!

But before I go, check out the quilt that made me a pro at using this method to match my points! The pattern is called “Corkscrew” and I learned it from a Melissa Corry class at the Utah Quilt Guild Quilt Festival in 2018. It only took me a year and a half to get it done! ?

Matching my points was essential in giving this quilt a crisp look.

Look at this gorgeous pinwheel! And I had a lot of fun with the machine quilting too.

This is the quilt featured on my Home page. I plan on entering it this year in the county fair! If we have a county fair this summer… thanks Covid! ? But at least I’ve got a finished quilt to snuggle in!

Corkscrew quilt in the snow!