Sew Lets QAL: Block 1 Sewing Machine

Hi! Welcome to Opening Day of the Sew Let’s Quilt Along!

You’ll find the details of the quilt along on the Sew Lets QAL tab above. Here’s the short version: we’re presenting the blocks for this quilt along in segments. To win a prize, make all the blocks from that segment, then upload a photo of them to our Facebook group, Instagram with the hashtag #sewletsqal, or to a special linky we’ll host at the end of that segment.

This is Block 1 of Segment 1. There will be five blocks in this segment, released every two weeks. The last block in Segment 1 will be released on May 7th; the Segment will end on May 20th, so to enter for the Segment Prize, you’ll have to have all five blocks finished by then. The prize for Segment 1 will be announced on May 21st.

Block 1: Sewing Machine

This week’s block is a Sewing Machine. The designer of Block 1 is Sandra @ Sandra Healy Designs and you can download the pattern there.

Here’s my version of Sandra’s block.

I picked my fabric choices for this block from my quilt along fabric pull. My thought was that I wanted something pretty for the sewing machine, but not so busy that you couldn’t tell what it was. So I choose a pretty tone on tone print. Next, I chose a coordinating “bee fabric” to act as the table. I chose a light grey for the panel and two coordinating solids for the large knob in the front.

I spent a lot of time choosing the spool fabrics. In the end I picked three fabrics whose colors are my favorites—teal, purple, and fuchsia. I didn’t want solid fabrics, but something that kind of looked “thready.”

My Tips and Tutorials for Making This Block

Here are my tips for making the Sewing Machine block.

This block has a lot of pieces, so my first tip is to mark them.

You’ll find a diagram on Page 5 of the pattern. Print it out because it’ll help you organize. Me, I like to clip my labels to my pieces using my Clover Mini Clips.

Sew the Flip Corners carefully

This block uses a technique called Flip Corners to create the angles on the sewing machine. With a flip corner, you draw a diagonal line, place the square on the corner of a larger piece RST, sew on the line, then flip the top piece back towards the corner, creating a right angle.

To sew flip corners correctly, take the time to carefully mark the diagonal line on the back of the flip corner squares. I use a regular pencil, a small ruler, and my sandboard to do that. A sandboard really helps to prevent the square from slipping so you can mark the diagonally correctly.

Then, instead of sewing right on the line you've drawn, sew just a bit to the right of it (closer to the corner) as you see here. Sewing the seam just a bit short of center makes a bit more room for the fold, so when you press the flip square back towards the corner it will fit perfectly.

Making block 10 2.jpg

With flip corners, you typically trim the seam allowance after pressing the corner back.There are two schools of thought with this. If you don't trim, then you always have the bottom fabric (which is cut to size) to help you construct the block properly. If you do trim the seam allowance, you will have a lot less bulk in the seams. And you can always trim the finished unit to size (which I highly recommend if you do trim the seam allowance).

For this block, there are lots of tiny (1-1/4” and 1-3/4”) flip corners. With flip corners that tiny, I don’t bother trimming because I’d rather keep that under fabric that’s already cut to the right size so my units are correctly sized. So my tip is: don’t trim!

Don’t forget to add the embroidery!

This block includes a lot of cute embroidered details. Without them, your sewing machine block just won’t be as cute. Don’t let the fact that you don’t normally embroider stop you from adding these personal touches!

First things first. Before adding the embroidery, fuse some light-weight interfacing on the back of your block, in the areas where the embroidery is going to be. This will stabilize the block and prevent it from distorting out of shape as you make your stitches.

The first embroidery you need to add is the spool ends for the thread spools. To do that, you simply take one stitch at either end of the thread spool, using 10 strands of brown embroidery floss. To secure the thread, you can make a quilter’s knot. Click here to learn how.

Next, you need to create the thread guide at the top of the sewing machine. To do that, take six single stitches close together in a parallel row.

To create the needle, you use an outline or stem stitch. Click here to learn how.

To create the thread that runs through the thread guides on top of the machine and also through the needle at the bottom of the machine, you can again use an outline or stem stitch, or you can mark the line with a marking tool, and stitching the line using your sewing machine. Me, I stitched it with my machine of course! <grin> My tip here is to use a thicker thread, such as 40 wt or 20 wt if you can. I ended up using Aurifil 50 wt. #2530 Blossom Pink because it matched my spool fabric perfectly! I think it turned out pretty good.

Adding the applique

To add the applique, start by printing out the templates on page 4. Use the 1” square to ensure they are the correct size. Print at 100% and DO NOT scale the pattern to fit.

Next, trace the shapes on the back of your fusible web, fuse the web onto the back of your fabrics, cut them out, then fuse them in place. Edge stitch around the shapes to hold them in place and to finish the edge.

If you’ve never machine appliqued before, click here for a step by step photo tutorial.

I edge-stitched my block with Mettler Metrosene 100 wt. #0554 Jade and Sulky 40 wt #1033 Dark Orchid

Add the buttons after quilting

For obvious reasons, you don’t want to add the buttons for the sewing machine until after the block is sewn into a project or quilt and you’ve finished it.

I’m not yet sure which buttons I’m going to use or how many. I do know however that I love to play with buttons and I have a big collection of them. <grin>

Thanks for the Tips! Where do I get the pattern?

Drop by Sandra’s blog to download your free Sewing Machine block pattern. Hurry! The pattern is only available for free until September 21st.

Here are the hosts for Segment 1. Drop by their blogs for tips on making the block.

Abbie @ Sparkle On
April @ JANDA Bend Quilts
Bobbi @ Snowy Days Quilting
Karen @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats
Sherry @ Powered by Quilting
Becca @ Pretty Piney Quilts
Sandy @ SandyStar Designs
Sandra @ Sandra Healy Designs
Kathleen @ Kathleen McMusing

How Do I Enter the Giveaway?

First, you must be 18 years old to enter.

Now, unlike previous quilt alongs, this time you simply make the block. Then after the end of Segment 1, you need to post a photo of all blocks in that Segment to enter the giveaway. If you want to see the schedule for the quilt along and the list of block designers, click here.

When it’s time, you’ll post a single photo of all the blocks in Segment 1 to one of the following places to enter the Segment giveaway:

  • On Instagram, with the hashtag #sewletsqal

  • In our private Facebook group

  • To the linky on any of the host’s blogs

Remember, you don’t have to get the blocks done until it’s time to post a photo of all the blocks in Segment 1 and enter our Segment Prize giveaway. Personally though, I’d make the blocks when they come out so you don’t fall behind.

Here’s what you might win for making all the blocks in this Segment:

Thanks for stopping by! The next block will be released March 26th.

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Tell me…Are you planning on making a quilt or a series of projects with your blocks from the quilt along?

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