How to sew a tumbling blocks quilt

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How to sew a tumbling blocks quilt
You can sew the quilt by hand, or use a machine. (SarapulSar38/iStock/Getty Images)

The Tumbling Blocks quilt pattern uses light and dark fabrics in a repeated pattern to create the illusion of falling blocks. The success of the design depends on the sewer's ability to choose the best fabrics and then to align the seams throughout construction. You can add a simple fabric border or choose a more elaborate one like the "picket fence" border that creates yet another illusion.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 3 coordinating fabrics: dark, medium and light
  • Sewing thread
  • Quilting thread
  • Sewing needles
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Tin or plastic for templates
  • Scissors
  • Ruler and/or straight edge
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine

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Instructions

    Assemble blocks

  1. 1

    Choose three cotton fabrics for the design. Select a solid color as fabric number 1 and two other fabrics in patterned, one a medium shade and one a lighter shade of the first.

  2. 2

    Wash, tumble dry and press the fabrics. Calculate how many pieces of each color are needed to complete each block. Figure the number of blocks for the entire quilt based on the desired size.

  3. 3

    Use a rotary cutter and mat to cut the diamond, parallelogram and triangle shapes from the three fabrics. Organize the shapes in the various fabrics by stacking them, then running a thread through the stack and knotting it on both ends.

  4. 4

    Follow the design template to create the pieces for the first block. Maintain a 6 mm (1/4 inch) seam throughout. Press the finished pieces and block the seams.

  5. 5

    Refer to the illustration and arrange the complete pieces for one block on a table top. Review the arrangement and make sure that the "tumbling block" designed is properly conveyed.

  6. 6

    Pin the pieces of the block together one section at a time and sew. Press each seam as the assembly progresses.

    Complete the quilt

  1. 1

    Press each completed block and trim any loose seams. Use the illustration as a guide and arrange the finished quilt blocks on a table so that the overall designed is continued across the seams.

  2. 2

    Start in the first row of blocks and working left to right, pin the first two blocks together. Sew them together with a 6 mm (1/4 inch) seam. Press and block the seam.

  3. 3

    Place the two sewn blocks back in the arrangement. Sew the next two blocks together as in Step 2. Proceed, sewing the units of two blocks together then until the entire row of blocks is joined.

  4. 4

    Continue with Row 2, sewing all the blocks together. Block the seams and clip the threads each time.

  5. 5

    Pin completed Row 1 to Row 2, carefully matching the seams as well as the design. Stitch the rows together, using a 6 mm (1/4 inch) seam. Press and block the seams. Continue sewing the rows together until the quilt top is fully assembled.

  6. 6

    Add a border to the finished quilt top as desired. Sandwich the quilt top, batting and quilt backing and pin around all four edges. Pin rows horizontally and vertically to secure the quilt top.

  7. 7

    Stitch through all the layers in the desired quilting pattern. Add binding around all four edges and stitch in place.

Tips and warnings

  • Print out the templates A and B for the two pieces of the quilt block.
  • Use the paper outlines to create templates of plastic or tin.

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