We have hit week 5 in the Happy Flower QAL hosted by the lovely ladies Wynne, Melissa, and Kristyne, and there are lots of us around the world who are sewing along. If you’re just tuning in, we are sewing our way through the quilt in the amazing book by Atsuko Matsuyama, called Happy Flower Quilts. At the rate of two blocks a week, so far it’s been very doable to keep up, and there are fun and inspiring pics to follow along with on Instagram and Facebook. My first few blocks can be found here and here.
There was a real mixed bag of skill levels this time around. Block 7 was straight forward, and block 8 was a whole cloth block that I decided to miss out at this stage. So I’m only going to show you three this time…I haven’t decided what my whole cloth blocks will be yet, so I won’t waste fabric cutting it out. Block 9 was more challenging, and block 10 was another interesting applique one.
Here’s my block 7. This one’s got the cutest little bunnies with baskets in the centre. I’ve chosen four different pinks for the corner squares, and fresh mint for the little triangles. This one was really fun to put together!
Such a pretty view to spy as I walk into my sewing room each day…
Now, this is my block 9…and this was a real challenge for me! I made a trial one out of plain fabric first to be sure I was getting it right, and I actually thought that turned out better than this one!
Anyway, if the sight of those angles scares you like it did me when you first see it, I’ll break it down into step by step pictures.
First, let’s talk templates and grain.
There are a few things to remember when tracing templates. Remember that accuracy is important in every step to get a nice finish.
So photocopy your templates, then cut them out so that you can JUST see the lines left on your blocks. Then trace around them on the fabric, as slowly and carefully as you can. What you have actually traced is a fraction bigger than the original, so when you cut them out, you want to cut your traced lines OFF, otherwise you will be making them bigger than the actual template.
A note about grain: There are several right angles in this block, even though they might not be obvious at first glance. Take advantage of this and place your templates so the grain runs parallel to as many sides as possible. This will reduce the amount of stretch that occurs when sewing. On the little triangle blocks, only one side can run along the grain, but make sure you use it.
After you’ve cut everything out, lay it out in order, and the assembly starts to become a bit more obvious.
When I expand it like this, it begins to make a bit of sense…
Begin by sewing those middle rows together. Press the central row seams facing out, and both outer rows facing in, so that your seams will nest when you join the three rows together.
After assembling those middle sections, sew the blades onto the those central triangles, one side at a time.
You’ll see that we’re left with some internal angles which can strike fear into your heart! Let’s break it down…
Now there’s no one right way to do this, but here’s what I do. I flip that odd shaped section over, and align that straight central triangle with the square edge. Place a pin going though both seams where they need to meet. Then sew between those seams, starting and finishing exactly on your seam line. Check that it’s beautifully lined up.
Then I do a small snip on seam of the triangle, at right angles, to allow the rest of the seam to be able to bend back. Align the ends of the blades, and join up those other two seams.
Here they are, joined up. And don’t worry, it won’t look nice until you press it. Press those seams open, and square up your block if necessary.
I hope this helps with your assembly of all those tricky angles!
Here’s my final block this week, number 10. There wasn’t really much that could be done to make these smoozy blobs look like blossoms. I thought they turned out rather like marshmallows lol! But love my green and aqua fabrics that contrast with the red strawberries.
You can start any time with this QAL, and there’s no need to do them in the same order either. Till next time!