Remember this block I made for Aimee for AQB2?
Well, I decided the Interlaced Star was going to be my block for the 3×6 Bee. After a tiny bit of trial & error, I figured out it was more helpful to make via paper piecing – it really helps eliminate a lot of the distortion caused by the bias and other non-grain angles of the fabrics. So as I was making my blocks for 3×6, I decided to document the steps for how I do it.
WARNING: Photo-intensive post!
Since I needed to make 12.5” unfinished blocks, I decided to use ugly scrapbook paper (remember scrapbooking? it’s the hobby I had before I started sewing) and factor in a 1/4” seam all the way around to get to the proper size. Here’s how to make the block, starting with the template.
Draw an X across your paper.
Using your ruler, also make a small mark to denote the halfway point across your paper on each side.
Draw a line from the top left corner to the middle of your right side. Leave a bit of a gap in your line (you’ll see why below).
Rotate your paper 90 degrees, and draw another line top left corner to middle right. This line will intersect the line you just drew.
Repeat until all 4 lines have been drawn.
Next, draw a short line from the top center down to the point where your star lines come together.
Repeat for all sides until you have something that looks like this.
I apparently forgot to take a photo of the next step, but it may be helpful to label each of your pieces. The big fat triangles are your background fabric, along with the smaller triangles that don’t appear to be part of the star. Once labeled, cut your template up along the diagonal, to yield 4 pieces.
I made an extra paper template, cut it one of the quadrants, taped those pieces onto the inside of a cereal box, drew a 1/4” seam around each piece, and cut out to use as templates.
Then cut your pieces. Note that the wrong side of the fabric should be face up when cutting. If using solids, this won’t matter, but any patterned fabric should be RS facing down on your cutting mat.
For this block, the requested colors were yellow & brown. I’m lacking in brown fabric, but managed to swipe 2 brown pieces from a layer cake. For the background fabric, you need to cut 4 of each of the 2 triangles. I was able to fold the layer cake squares diagonally in half and get my templates to fit on the piece. Note: this method will only work if you only have a solid fabric, with no clear right/wrong side of the fabric.
What I had left of the layer cake was 2 3.5” squares plus another strip about 3.5” wide.
For the star pieces, you’ll need 4 different fabrics (or maybe just 1, but 4 is way more fun). There are 2 triangle shapes to cut from each of your 4 fabrics. I was able to cut an 11×5 piece of fabric and stack all 4 on top of each other to make my cuts. (Plus, this will leave you with enough leftover to get a 2.5” square out of the fabric, plus smaller scrap pieces.)
Once all of your fabric is cut, lay out your block in a pleasing arrangement. Note that your fabrics will still be RS down (hence, the muted colors in the photo).
EDIT: For these next steps, I would actually start w/piece B in the diagram below, and first sew to the smaller triangle background piece. So just flip the first 2 sewing steps around.
Take your big background triangle, and arrange your paper piece so that there is a 1/4” border showing on the outside of the paper. I used a glue stick to help keep this piece tacked down to my fabric.
Line up your small triangle of one of your focus fabrics RS together. Carefully flip over so your drawing lines are showing and you’re ready to sew!
Make sure your stitch length is set pretty short (I used a length of 1, which was sufficient to perforate my paper when I removed it later on). I also chain-pieced each of my quadrants throughout this process.
Once the first line is stitched, iron open your patterned fabric.
Line up your small background triangle RS together on top of your small focus fabric triangle. Again, carefully flip this over, holding your fabric in place.
This piece is a bit more awkward to sew, you have to either start/end in the middle of your paper foundation. I made sure to take a couple of backstitches on this middle section.
Again, iron open your fabric after sewing.
At this point, I take all of my template pieces back and rearrange them, pattern sides up, so I know how to match up my star points.
Lay your large focus fabric triangles so that they have a corresponding point through the other triangle.
RS together, sew on the long angle of your large focus fabric triangle to your paper foundation.
Iron your final piece open. Flip your block over, and use a ruler to trim your block to a 1/4” on each side.
Lay you blocks back out again (so you can make sure you get the correct pieces sewn together. Note that I’m still trying to chain piece here, so the 4th quadrant is still stuck on my machine.
Take 2 adjacent triangle pieces and place RS together.
Sew together down the long side of the big pattern triangle. I found it easiest to just skim right along the edge of my paper template, since that was basically a built-in 1/4” seam allowance.
At this stage, I ripped off my paper pieces.
Iron your seam against the long focus fabric triangle piece (your fabric will naturally want to go this direction – be careful at the apex of this triangle, there’s a lot of fabric down there. Press firmly, but be sure not to pull on the fabric. Do this for each half, and then you’ll be able to match the seams when you sew the 2 halves together.
Press your seams on your final block and flip it over to admire your handiwork. AND then you notice you screwed up. Because you were cocky (having made this block several times at this point), and feel SO confident to do a tutorial…
Regret the fact that you forgot to switch your stitch length back up to a normal level when piecing the quadrants together. Take a 1/2 hour to rip out those teeny tiny stitches. Maybe take a break from the eye strain those tiny stitches cause to have dinner. Come back, lay it all back out again, triple-check that you’re sewing down the proper side, and try it all again.
And VIOLA! It works the 2nd time around. After a 2+ hour time commitment on your part, trying to get photographic evidence of the major steps in the block-making process.
Rinse, lather, and repeat 5 more times til you have all the blocks made for your 3×6 beehive.
I think I’ll keep making this block, I really think it’s pretty, and the more I make it, the easier it becomes!