Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Ready for some fun with set in seams? I did try to avoid them as much as possible, but alas...
I strongly recommend get a disappearing or washable marker for this one.
Remember you can always click on a photo to see a bigger version which will show more detail.
This tutorial is rather involved, so if you notice an error please let me know so I can correct it.

Out of your main fabric:
Cut one 6" square, then cut it in half diagonally twice to form 4 triangles as in the photo.
Cut two 2 1/8" squares.

Out of your background fabric:
Cut two 2 1/8" squares.

Reassemble the main square as follows.
Step 1:

Step 2:

Out of the 2 1/8" squares, make four half square triangle squares as follows.
Using a pencil or marker draw a diagonal line corner to corner on the wrong side of each of the two background squares.
Place the four squares right sides together, matching a background square with a main fabric square.
Stitch a diagonal seam on each side of the pencil line, 1/4" away from the line.

Cut along the pencil line.

Trim the large square to exactly 5".
The small squares should be 1 3/4" now. Trim off the little fabric flaps sticking out.

The following steps show how I did the set in seams. If you have a better method, please go ahead and use that.
On the back of a small square, on the background fabric side, mark your stitching lines as follows:

The way I mark 1/4" seam lines is by using my square ruler. Just line up the 1/4" line on the ruler with the edge of the fabric with the ruler edge sticking into the fabric. Draw a line.

Clip the corner of the fabric on the diagonal up to where the seam lines cross. Be careful not to clip past the seam lines. (See photo)

On each corner of your big square do the following.
Using a disappearing marker, draw a line 1 ½" in from the edge on both edges. Make sure the lines meet on the diagonal seam. This will be your stitching line.

You can, once again, use your square ruler to make this really simple.

Using the same method, draw a line 1 ¼" in from the corner on both edges.

Cut out the corner along these lines.

Right sides together, place a small square on top of the big square as in the photo, lining up the stitching lines and edges. Make sure the spot where the stitching lines meet on the small square is on the diagonal seam of the large square.
Starting from the center, stitch the seam.

Line up the second seam line on the small square with the seam line on the large square and stitch this seam starting from the edge and going towards the center, ending on the diagonal seam of the large square.
You should stop stitching at the start of the first seam. Do not stitch beyond that. Because this is a ninety degree corner you will have to maneuver the fabric somewhat. Make sure the edges of your fabric line up so that you can stitch a straight seam. This is exactly what we did in block B-8. The corner is just tighter.

Press the seam allowance toward large square. Repeat on all four corners.

Woohoo! We're almost there!
This is the point where my set in seam bravado ended, so I reverted to reverse applique.
Cut a piece of freezer paper about 3" square. Trace the small center square from the block diagram onto the dull side of the freezer paper and cut out.
Carefully centering the freezer paper, iron it onto the right side of your block using a hot dry iron.

Cut the center square out of the fabric leaving a small seam allowance all the way around.
Cut a 3" square out of background fabric. Place it right side up on a table. Place the block right side up on top of it. Baste all the way around, making sure to stay at least ½" away from the edge.

Using the reverse applique method we've used before, applique the small square.
Trim away the excess fabric on the back and in the seam allowance to reduce bulk.

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