Monday, March 26, 2012

New York Beauty Tutorial

Sew Sweetness

Today we're doing Block 8 in the NY Beauty Quilt Along. The full tutorial schedule is posted at Sew Sweetness.

We've had some great tutorials so far from Kim, Sara and Megan.  Head over to their blogs for more great tips.  To add to what they have mentioned, I plan to share a couple things I did a bit different on this block than I did last time I made a New York Beauty block.

Tip #1: Making outer corners one piece instead of two and preserve the orientation of the fabric.

First, piece your outer templates into one piece.  Slice off the seam allowance from one template.
Then carefully tape them together ensuring that all seam lines match up.

When cutting your fabric, line the template with the grain of the fabric and cut.  Rotate the template 90 degrees and cut a second section.  Repeat this step two more times until you have four corner sections.

By doing this you will have all four corner sections with the design oriented correctly which is perfect if you plan to use four of the same block together for a pillow or other small project.

Tip #2:  Cut outer block seams 1/4" large to allow a bit of wiggle room when squaring blocks.
A big challenge when making my first NY Beauty blocks was the fact that nothing ever squared up quite right.  I seemed to be just 1/8" off, but that's enough to mess things up.  I experimented and gave myself a little wiggle room on the corner templates and the inner template and found this worked out great for me.  Give yourself exactly 1/4" extra on the outside edges of the corner template and the inside template.  This might not work for everyone, but I thought I'd share how it worked for me.

Cut the curve according to the pattern, but use a ruler to slice your fabric 1/4" from the pattern line on the outside edges.

Now we're ready to start piecing this guy together.

To make one block #8 you'll need:

  • 1 inside corner cut with the template.
  • 1 outer corner cut with the template.
  • 10 pieces 2" x 4" of white
  • 5 pieces 1.75" x 6" of yellow prints
  • 6 pieces 1.75 x 6" of red/orange/green prints (if matching these blocks in a circle, be aware that the outer red sections will be seamed together.  Make sure they match from one block to the next.)

I chose to make four of the same block. Piecing went fairly quickly since each block was identical. 

After piecing each new fabric, I always trim the excess to 1/4"  I have an Add-A-Quarter Ruler and love it for this.  The little ridge on the ruler helps keep it in place so you don't slip when trimming the bulky seams.

After piecing the entire section, you'll have something like this.

Carefully trim to the pattern lines.

Now it's time to piece everything together.  Mark the excess 1/4" on the outside of the green piece. Match this 1/4" mark with the outside edge of the pieced section and pin.  Pin at the centers, and pin the other edge, also at the 1/4" mark.  Slowly sew this curve.  If you have to give yourself a little slack at the end of the seam it is okay because of the extra fabric.

Repeat with the outer section.  Pin at the center of each section.

Then pin at the excess 1/4" mark.

Pin well around the curve and sew.

Press well then square the block to 8.5".  That extra 1/4" is expected and will help me create a perfect 8.5" block.  It's time to square everything up.

Line up a square ruler with each edge of the pieced center section.  Trim excess fabric.

Now line the 8.5" line of the ruler with the clean edges and trim the remaining two sides to give a perfect 8.5" square.  You never want to trim the pieced center section if you can avoid it.  This is the most critical part of the design.  By giving myself a little extra fabric to work with around the edges I was usually able to square the block without trimming my pieced points section.

If you choose to make all four blocks, it will turn out something like this--perfect for a pillow or mini quilt.

It's not to late to join up with the QAL.  Check out the flickr group and add your photos of NY Beauty blocks.


  1. I really love this block, Kati, and the colors are fab :) Awesome tutorial!

  2. Love the idea of an extra quarter inch! I'm gonna give it a try on my next block.

  3. Beautiful Kati!!!!! Well done!!!

  4. This is a wonderful tute. Your colors are really pretty too.


  5. Another Beauty!!! Thanks for the great tutorial.

  6. Gorgeous block, Kati! And thanks for the tip about making the corners all one piece. That's what I've been doing with mine, and I'm sure people will find it very useful.

  7. What a nice block!! Thanks for the tutorial!!
    Have a great day!

  8. Beautiful block! I love the background fabric.

    Thanks for the tutorial - as usual it is clear, concise and easy to follow :)

  9. Thanks for showing how you do it, I will give it a try tomorrow.

  10. Perfect fabric choice, thanks for the tute :o)

  11. Gorgeous - I think this is the one I am going to try! 'Try' being the word!

  12. Very Beautiful block! Your fabric choices are stunning and your tips are great! Thank you!

  13. I love the 4 blocks put together! Really like the fabrics that you used.

  14. Great tips for getting a nicely square block at the end. Thank you!

  15. I love this! What fabric line did you use?

  16. Beautiful block. I can't find the place to download it. The link wouldn't allow.

  17. Can you please contact me directly with the link to download Block 8? Thank you!

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. The links to the pdfs are working again for anyone following this quilt along.

    Go to: Click on the NY Beauties link in the page.

  20. Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial.
    Now I know what I did wrong.
    Hugs Olga from Germany

  21. This is an awesome tutorial with great tips. Thanks Kati!