Do You Have Tips to Share?

Posted by on May 10, 2014 in block lotto community, my sampler | 4 comments

Sophie-Green BarsI started making the Diagonal Bars blocks for my Mod-Mod Throw quilt, using the Rainbow Scraps Challenge color of the month: Green.  Here’s my first of eight blocks.

A couple of quilters have emailed me about their problems with the block coming out the wrong size, so, as I made this block, I paid close attention at each step looking for answers for them.

Technically speaking, when you put a 5 inch square (the finished size of the 5 bars after they are sewn together) on point, it will be 7 1/16 inches … and so the perfectionists among us should accept that if your block comes out 7 5/16 inches (including the seam allowances), it is actually perfect.

I mentioned to someone in email and I want to say it again here … not all 1/4-inch feet for sewing machines are the same.  I have an after-market 1/4-inch foot made for my old Singer 301 and while I am glad to have found it and bought it, when I use it, my blocks inevitably come out too large. If you count the number of seams from the upper left corner to the lower right corner, there are 6 seams … so if you’re off just a smidge when cutting or sewing, that will be multiplied 6 times and could become significant. In the sewn block, each of the bars should measure 1-inch wide and 5 inches long, no more, no less.

Beyond being careful with measuring and sewing, I couldn’t come up with any useful tips for this block, so, as usual, I’m asking you to share your experience/tips in the comments.  This *should* be an easy block … and I know it’s frustrating for some that it’s not.

(Since this is my Rainbow Scraps Challenge of the week, I’m joining the Scrap Happy Saturday links with this post.)




  1. Great colors on this one!
    I think any block with square on point in the middle is bound to be tricky when it comes to even measurements. I tend to make my corners a bit big and then trim to an even size. I don’t mind having the square “float” a bit in middle. Unless you are mixing it with other blocks though, having an odd measurement should not be a problem.

    • Angela, FYI, for the Block Lotto we do have size requirements and blacks can only be 1/4 inch smaller or larger. 5, 7, 10, 14 are magic numbers for block sizes, be Use when you put them on point you do get something that is easily measured.

  2. My 1/4″ foot for the Janome I use sometimes had a guard on the right side. I discovered that when the fabric butted up to that, the seam was way out. So I got hubby to remove the guard, and now use the edge of foot as a guide. Much, much better!
    You block looks lovely.

  3. Well, I may be imagining things but I think when I sew with unwashed fabrics blocks turn out more accurate than with washed fabrics. Case in point…I made my QAL blocks all with unwashed fabrics and they all turned out perfectly. Then I made 9 lotto blocks with washed fabrics and 3 of them were definitely not right even though the middle square measured properly before the corners were added. Of the six I ended up with I remade two of them so I would have 1/4 inch seam allowance for joining blocks. So, I think sizing in the unwashed fabric or starched fabric does better than washed fabric. Just saying…it might be my imagination.

    I also fold corners in half as well as the block in order to match up half marks before sewing for proper alignment.

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