Oregon · Quilting

Making a Square for a Group Quilt


I decided to write a tutorial on making a group quilt square because I messed up when I made my first square.  I didn’t understand how to put it together and I kept taking it apart and putting it back together until the fabrics were frayed.  It ended up wonky and too small.  In the end I had to tell the person in charge that my square was ruined.  She was understanding, but it was embarrassing to me.   I’d like to save others from this experience.

This is the fourth square I’ve made for a group project with my quilt guild.  We are putting together quilts for older veterans.  Each square has been different and each square has been a challenge for me.  I didn’t keep photos of the first three but thought I’d write about this one.  The square is called Missouri Star.

These are the instructions.

We were provided the white fabric, but had to use our own red and blue material.

The directions said to use either red or blue for pieces C,D,E & F.  This was a bit confusing because I knew I needed to space the red and blue so that two reds weren’t seamed together, etc.  I played around with the placement and cut out my pieces.  Its important to be as exact as possible when cutting out and not to stretch the pieces before sewing them.

This is the diagram close up:  If you’ve never put a pattern like this together, its can be overwhelming.  Look at the diagram on the right side.  The square is constructed in three rows.  Before you can construct each row you need to put the small pieces together to make either squares or rectangles. Then sew the top row together, the middle row together and the bottom row together.  Then you will sew the top row to the middle, and the bottom row to the middle.

Seam Allowances:  Measure that your seam allowance is exactly 1/4″  Don’t switch between quarter inch feet.  They vary.  Even a thread or two will make your seam allowances off.  You need to sew a straight, 1/4″ seam.  If its not straight your square will be wonky and if its more or less than 1/4″ it will make your square too small or two large.

My ruler slipped a little in the photo but it really is 1/4″

Points:  Now here’s a little about sewing points.  When you sew the points together, you want to make sure the tip of the point is not caught in the seam and also that if two points meet that they line up perfectly.

Here’s a sure fire way to line up two points that meet:

1. Put a straight pin through the tip of one point.
2. Put the same pin on through the tip of the other point, then pin the seam together.
3. Line up the entire seam and pin. Sew the seam making sure you don’t move the pin holding the two tips together. I actually put my machine needle in the hole where the straight pin is before pulling it out.

Be sure and press each seam as you go.

When piecing a quilt that other people are going to put together you want to leave 1/4″ seam allowance along the sides and if the square has points on the sides you want to make sure they won’t be cut off when its sewn together.

This shows the 1/4″ seam allowance on the side.

When you are done, press the square and measure that it is square.  All done!

We decided to take our jeep into the Sluslaw National Forest for a ride today.  It was a sunny beautiful day so we took the top off the jeep.  We didn’t pass any cars in a three hour drive!.  The crowds are getting thick on the coast because the eclipse is Monday, but we were the only ones to venture out on these backroads.

This is the Fisher School Covered Bridge.
A glimpse of the lovely dirt road
The forest is full of old growth firs, cedar and hardwood trees.
View from top of the ridge

If this tutorial helps just one new quilter then I’m happy.  I’ve only been quilting for a short time myself and if you are piecing your first group quilt square know that I’m in the trenches with you!

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