- It wastes very little fabric whereas the wonky log cabin can waste a lot.
- It preserves the orientation of your fabric so your stripes and other designs aren't going 4 different directions.
- It's a quick way to cut several blocks. You can rotate the finished block to vary the look.
The one drawback is that you have to be very careful not to mix up your cut strips. It's like putting a puzzle back together without the picture if you mix up the strips. I suggest only cutting and sewing one set of blocks at a time. My quilt above is made from 9 different sets of blocks.
Step 1--Decide your block size.
- Add 1" to your desired finished block size for each cut border. Also, in order to add a bit of flexibility, add 1.5" for the outside seam allowance. For example, if you want a 12" finished block, and you were to cut two borders as I did in this tutorial, you'll need to add 2" as well as an additional 1.5" for the outside seam allowance so you'll start out with a 15.5" square of fabric. Once pieced, you will square your block to 12.5" for a finished, sewn block of 12 inches. (These estimates are based on a 1/4 inch seam allowance.)
- Stack four or five squares of fabric, lining up all edges. If you are using a directional fabric, make sure you have it oriented correctly. I paired three prints with one square of white. (While I wanted quite a bit of white in this quilt, I didn't want every square to have white.) My finished blocks have three layers--the center block and two borders. By cutting four fabrics I was able to mix up my selection when arranging my blocks so all of my blocks have a slightly different variation of fabrics.
- Make the first cut. Using your ruler and rotary cutter, slice strips off each side. The wonkiness of the cut is up to you. Keep in mind seam allowances and the number of cuts you will end up making before your block is complete. For example, don't make your cuts too wide that you don't have enough fabric for center cuts. Likewise, don't cut too narrow that you will have problems later with seam allowances. Most of my strips were around two inches wide.
- Next cut strips off the top and bottom. This completes your outer border.
- Repeat the process to cut the inner border. First cut the sides and then the top and bottom strips.
- Be careful to not mix up the pieces. Now arrange the blocks on a design board. (My design board is nothing fancy. It's an old piece of foam board covered in Warm and White.) I start by arranging all my outer borders first. (You'll have to look closely for the white border in the bottom right.)
- Next arrange your inner borders.
- Finally add your center blocks. After sewing a section, I always place it back on the board while working on other blocks. This way I don't get mixed up. I had to undo my fair share of seams while sewing this quilt when I wasn't careful enough to keep them straight.
- Take your center block and the top and bottom strips for your inner border and sew them together. Press seams. Trim slightly if the edges aren't even.
- Next sew on the side pieces for your inner border. Notice they will be a bit long. The center section is now shorter due to your seams. Simply center the side strips and sew. Press. Trim your edges after sewing.
- Add the top and bottom strips of your outer border in the same manner. Trim your sides as needed to even them up. Be careful not to change the angle of the inner borders of your block; only trim the excess off the edges.
- Add your side strips for the outer border and square up your block. I squared mine to 11.5" for an 11" finished block. I recommend using a square ruler for this. I find it is much more accurate.
- Finished! Notice that by simply rotating the finished blocks it gives them each a different look.