Hi everyone! I hope early fall is going well for all of you. I have been busy finalizing everything for the Fall Market debut of my patterns. I will be rolling out each one of those patterns here (the ones that have not been released yet) in the coming weeks. I’ll talk about the inspiration behind the designs and give some tips for making the project.
But for today, I thought it would be fun to talk about organizing pieces of blocks so you have access to them at the sewing machine, but you are not mixing them together. I use these homemade mini design boards!
All you need to make the boards, is a stiff piece of cardboard (you can recycle boxes!), scrap batting and a glue stick. That’s all!
I cut the cardboard pieces to about 13″ square so they can accommodate block pieces for a finished 12″ block. You can also make smaller boards if you make smaller blocks more often, or you can make some boards that are larger. I have a few boards that are 19″ square. I can fit pieces on them for 4 blocks that will be 6″ finished.
Once you have the size cardboard square you want, cut a piece of scrap batting that measures about 1/2″ larger than your square. Lay the batting on a flat surface, then lay the cardboard square in the center so you have batting overlap on all 4 sides. Fold the batting over the cardboard edge and secure it to the back of the cardboard with a glue stick. I use a permanent glue stick so it will stay secure through constant use.
Here is a block laid out on one of these mini design boards, all ready to stitch the pieces together!
Now, you can lay out all your blocks on individual mini boards, stack them up and carry them all to your machine. This helps you not to mix up the pieces for each block. Also, it’s a time saver! You don’t have to stop and lay out the pieces for the next block …. it’s already laid out on the board below the one you just finished!
Here’s a stack of mini boards I started for the project I’m working on:
So, what do you think of this time saving idea? Share some of your ideas in the comments below and win a free pattern. My new pattern Country Dance!
This one would be a great quilt project to have mini boards for. The drawing will take place on Monday, October 8th. ***We have a winner! Congrats Cathy!***
In the meantime ….
When piecing blocks or if I am working on an EPP project and I plan to go on a retreat or go and sew with quilting friends, I like to put all my fabrics for a block in a small baggie. So when not at home sewing (I sew with friends once a week) I just have to pull out a baggie and start sewing the block. Quick, organized, and easy to take on the road. thanks!
What a great idea. This way you can see the block fully and not so apt to put a piece on upside down as I (as a new quilter) have done. I am definitely going to do this.
That is definitely an advantage to this. I have sewn pieces in blocks upside down before!
I do this in a similar way, but I also stack blocks that are the same on top of each other
(this would use only one design board). Then when I’m at my machine , I start at the top left corner and sew the first two pieces of the top block together.
Chain piecing, I sew the same two pieces on all my blocks.
Now go to the second and repeat process, continue until the first 2 pieces in each block and each row are sewn.
Now clip threads between the last two blocks sewn, and return to the machine, sewing the 3rd piece to each row, working down the stack of the first row, then the second and so on.
Do this until all rows are sewn together.
Clip threads and press each row.
Arrange rows for each block, again stacking blocks.
Sew rows together, working in the same manner as above.
This process saves a lot of time, uses a minimum of thread and trips to the ironing board.
Really great process! I do like chain piecing myself so any time I can do it, I do. Great time saver!
Karen Martin says
I couldn’t sew without my block boards—love them. I cut my batting even with the edge of the board, and finish with decorative duct tape.
I like the decorative tape idea!
Joni Giancola says
I don’t have a block board, but my design wall is right next to my sewing machine. I position several blocks at a time on it while piecing, then hang the completed block with a child pant hanger until I’m ready to assemble the quilt….
The hanger is a great idea. I do that with finished blocks myself.
Nanette Chopin says
When I am working on a quilt with different blocks and have a lot of pieces I always lay them out in order to prevent the ‘the ripper’ from coming for a visit!
If I am working on the same block, I keep the first one close by to prevent mistakes, or a copy of the instructions (visual person) close by! I love your Country Dance and the churn dashes!