Welcome back to my 2021 BOW! Are you having fun yet? Have you decided to take some of these blocks and make a small wall hanging or table runner? I hope so! As I said when we began, when the series ends I will have a layout for a sampler using these blocks. But they are fun stand alone blocks to create other quilts! If you are just joining the fun, here are links to the previous blog posts for the first 3 blocks: Week1, Week2, and Week3. As with the other weeks, I will have some quilting technique tips. This week, I will cover seam alignment when piecing a block. So let’s get started with Block 4!
Block #4 – Mountain Pass
For instructions to make this block, click here: 2021 BOW Block 4.
Now let’s get into this week’s quilting technique tip. I hope this will help you to complete this block or just provide a refresher for those of you who are experienced quilters.
Many quilt patterns and their designs depend on seam alignment to make the design flow. If you do not match seams when piecing a block, the design can suffer. Same thing goes for joining blocks. Here’s an example of one of my patterns that shows the importance of seam alignment, my quilt pattern, Follow the Stars:
Here’s a few close-up photos (below) of one of the blocks and where the blocks meet in the quilt that demonstrates how seam alignment is important in the design.
Within the block (photo on left), you want the black corner squares to line up and meet right at the points of the squares to create the flow. In the photo on the right, when joining the blocks, you want the black squares of each block to align with the sashing to create the overall “criss crossing” design in the quilt.
So here are the steps I follow in aligning seams. The examples below are from a Jacob’s Ladder table runner pattern, called Fiesta, I designed. Here’s one of the table runners in the pattern. Looking closely, you can see how important it is to line up the seams of these blocks carefully to create the flow of the whole pattern.
The Jacob’s Ladder block that makes up this table runner has a seam that needs to match up so the four-patch units in the block are aligned correctly and then when the blocks are pieced together, the middle seams of each block need to align. Here’s how I make sure seams align when piecing blocks together:
The two blocks on the left are the ones I am stitching together. I lay one block on top of the other and then I peel back the top one so I can align the seams. I try to bend it back where the 1/4″ seam line will be to make sure the seams are aligned. Once I am satisfied, I will pin the unit there first so my seam alignment does not move when I pin other parts of the block. When I am done, the seams are matched perfectly on the front (photo below). Pinning is definitely and important part of seam alignment!
As you can see, part of the runner design depends on the corners of the squares meeting accurately and I accomplished that by carefully aligning the seams and pinning them in place before stitching.
Hopefully this brief tutorial on seam alignment will help you with this block and other projects you may be working on. I like to think we learn something new every day! It never hurts either to brush up on your skills even if you are an experienced quilter.
Leave me a comment on this tutorial and you will be entered into a drawing for my pattern, Oh My Scraps!. You will also be entered into the grand prize drawing that will take place at the end of this series. Sorry, drawing is open only for US residents.
The drawing for this pattern will be on Monday, May 10th. **We have a winner! Congrats, Darrell!**
Donna Hanneman says
Thanks for the great tip! A relatively easy way to get an accurate point!
You do an excellent job of aligning seams. A goal we all try to reach. Sometimes that means the seam ripper comes out. The fork pins help with aligning seams.
Gail S says
Thank you for great tutorials. I love the blocks
Thanks for the great tips and sharing your very helpful techniques with us. Love this block and the scrappy look of your quilts!
Just found your BOW posts-so I have some catching up to do- Thanks so much for the technique instructions, they are so helpful in improving my quilting skills
Thanks for all your learning tips and the beautiful work you do!
Enjoying these blocks so much! Also your tips; the soap dish idea is great!
Donna W says
The Block of the Week has had so many great tips. Thanks!
Thanks for the great tips and techniques. I’ve just started your block of the week so catching up. It’s helpful seeing different or new ways to do things or to be reminded of how I should do things. lol. Thanks again. I look forward to more tips/techniques.
Great tips! Ordered some door stoppers to slant my machine!
I just love this block.. (i.e. Mountain Pass) it is a pattern I have not seen before. I am loving this block of the week.. thank you for all you do.
Ariel Koenigsberg says
Thanks for the refresher on seam alignment. Also really like the idea of the soap dish and I see the magnet turned upside down on your sewing table for pins. I am going to have to try that too. I have neck issues from a fusion and the idea of tilting the sewing machine is one I will have to try.
Wonderful tips, always!
Wanda Nelson says
I love your patterns! And thanks for the tips. Always clear and helpful.
Gayle Shumaker says
Wonderful tutorials. Thank you.