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A Common Mistake – How Not to Let it Happen

Craftsy BOM final quiltI am so pleased with the excitement about the 2015 Block of the Month class with Craftsy and the number of you who have already enrolled! While I will not be answering questions directly or be participating in the class discussions, so many wonderful questions have been raised which can apply to more than just this class that I am going to address them in my blog. The first one I want to look at is why your finished block might be too small.

First of all, the pattern for the Craftsy BOM is correct. The finished size of all the blocks in the quilt is 9″. That means that with the seam allowance your blocks should measure 9 1/2″.

If your block does not measure 9 1/2″ when you finish it, don’t panic. Once all the blocks are finished, I will explain in a later lesson the technique of adding additional strips to the blocks that allows them all to be floating on the background. In that lesson, I will tell you what to do if your blocks do not all measure the correct size. I will explain how to adjust those strips to accommodate blocks that are too small or too large.

So then, there is the question of why sometimes blocks do not come out the correct size.

gauge for block size1.  First and foremost it could be the set up of your printer. As you set up the printing, make sure that it is set to print the actual size (100%, no scaling) not “fit to page.” Once you have printed it out, please note the gauge on the template page of your pattern and make sure to use an accurate ruler to see that the pattern has printed in the correct size. I downloaded the pattern and printed it and found that it did not print to the correct scale. It was a bit too small. When there is a pattern with so many seams, even a small deviation can cause the finished block to be off by as must as half an inch. All printers are different and while most do a fine job, not all print accurately. In my computer, I went to “page set-up” and fiddled with the numbers and found when I printed the pattern I had to scale the printing up to 101%. Your printer will be different from mine and if your pattern is off you will have to play around with the scaling until you get the correct size.

2.  If your block came out the wrong size with the proper scaling, did you rotary cut the pieces or use the templates for the lesson? The blocks in the quilt are drafted from a variety of different “grids.” May Basket uses a grid with five equal divisions. For a 9″ block, each of those divisions should be 1.8″.  This means that the “finished” size of the short sides of the half square triangles in May Basket should measure 1.8″. It is pretty difficult to accurately rotary cut 1.8″ which is why templates are used for this particular lesson. Other lessons have blocks that are drafted with grids that are friendlier to rotary cutting. If your ruler does not measure these divisions accurately, your templates/foundations will not be the correct size.

The various blocks for the 2015 BOM are drafted on a variety of grids. For instance the first block "May Basket" is drafted in a 5 x 5 grid. If the block finished at 5, 7.5 or 10 inches, each division would be 1, 1.5 or 2 inches, respectively. However, since the blocks in the quilt finish at 9 inches, each division is 1.8 inches. Once seam allowances are added, this is not an easy cut using a rotary cutter. This block will be much more accurate if templates are used to cut the pieces.
The various blocks for the 2015 BOM are drafted on a variety of grids. For instance the first block “May Basket” is drafted in a 5 x 5 grid. If the block finished at 5, 7.5 or 10 inches, each division would be 1, 1.5 or 2 inches, respectively. However, since the blocks in the quilt finish at 9 inches, each division is 1.8 inches. Once seam allowances are added, this is not an easy cut using a rotary cutter. This block will be much more accurate if templates are used to cut the pieces.
Basket of fruit is drafted from a grid of 6 x 6. Therefore the pieces in this block could be accurately cut using either template or rotary cutting techniques.
Basket of fruit is drafted from a grid of 6 x 6. Therefore the pieces in this block could be accurately cut using either template or rotary cutting techniques.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ash Basket is drafted on a grid of 20 x 20 squares. It will be much more accurate to cut using templates.
Ash Basket is drafted on a grid of 20 x 20 squares. It will be much more accurate to cut using templates.
Like "Basket of Fruit", "Cherry Basket" is also drafted from a 6 x 6 grid, so either rotary cutting or using templates will work.
Like “Basket of Fruit”, “Cherry Basket” is also drafted from a 6 x 6 grid, so either rotary cutting or using templates will work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on how to determine the grids that are used for drafting blocks, see my book “The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns.”

3.  Make sure the pieces are cut accurately and that you take the exact quarter inch seam allowance when you sew.

I have loved seeing all the blocks which have already been finished…..keep them coming!

15 thoughts on “A Common Mistake – How Not to Let it Happen

  1. Thank you

  2. I am really enjoying this class and I’m learning so much. Thanks for this opportunity.

  3. Thank for this advice. Like being in class with you.

  4. Jinny, for the #1 BOM (January) I cut out the half square triangles with your template. When I went to sew the first 3 HST to the focus block it was 1/2″ too long. It would be extremely helpful if you would tell us in the instructions what size the unfinished HST’s SHOULD be. I know I am not the only one wanting to know. Thank you!

    1. This is something that needs to be directed to Craftsy as Jinny did the design and Craftsy contracted the pattern instructions. Thanks!

  5. I love to read Jinny’s information about … well … just about anything. I have been making quilts for over 30 years and still, I learn new things from Jinny all the time. I have most of her books and it is a nice, relaxing way to spend an hour or two just looking through them.

    Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge Jinny.

  6. I think it would help everyone if on your template you would state in inches what the template measures

    1. The reason for the templates is because this measurement is not easily located on a standard ruler.

  7. I am wondering why make this so difficult? Wouldn’t it have been much better and easier to have provided the templates in the correct size with the kit? Maybe a thought for furture kits. I have had my kit since Dec. After reading all the problems people are having I’m afraid to start. Considering returning unopened kit.

    1. Not everyone purchases a kit so the pattern was written for everyone in case they wanted to use their own fabrics.

  8. Hi Jinny I am so excited to get started on the 2015 BOM but I am still waiting on the fabric to restock could you tell me if it is going to be available .

    1. Hi Sharon,
      As the kit is sold exclusively through Craftsy, you would need to contact them to find out when they are restocking. Their contact information is help@craftsy.com or 1-888-979-6769. I believe they might also have a waitlist.
      Thanks!

  9. Thank you so much! I did use the templates and all came out accurate and beautiful. I am a brand new quilter and working of my first three now at the same time – I am hooked. I have ordered your book and am very thankful for your information on grids – I had no idea but it makes complete since.
    One problem – Your fabric is so beautiful I don’t want to look at anything else! Just to beautiful for words.

  10. Thank you very much, Jinny, for addressing the issue of the blocks finishing at less than 9-1/2″. I’ve been disappointed with myself (especially since I’ve been quilting for 14 years) and immobilized to continue, worrying about my first two blocks being smaller, especially after I got impatient and squared them up (which made it worse, I’m afraid). I’ve been wondering if there is enough fabric in the kit to remake the first two blocks.

    I’ll take a deep breath and continue now to the 3rd and 4th block; try to be more careful; and look forward to your technique to fix the problem.

  11. A great lesson for someone new to the idea of more complex piecing, drafting on a grid system, and just plain accuracy in sewing. Thanks for this post Ginny!
    – Karen

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