Wednesday, October 18, 2006

8 Inch Striped Block


By Brandi M. Seals

The striped block is a great piece to be able to make. It is such a simple design, but it can be used in a number of different ways. The feel of the block can easily change just by using different colors, adjusting the width of the stripes, or turning the block's direction.

The block shown here is an 8 inch block with 1/2 inch pink stripes and 1 inch white stripes. Feel free to adjust the size of the block or stripes to suit the size of quilt you are making. You could do 6 inch blocks or 10 inch blocks or any size you want. Generally when I see a design like this it is in a baby's quilt, but you can make it more adult by just changing the color of the stripes.

To make this block you will first need to pick out your fabrics. I would avoid any sort of patterned fabric in this design as it may seem too busy looking. Find colors that coordinate together but are not too similar. If they are too similar the stripes will not stand out as much as they should.

Be sure to launder the fabrics before you begin cutting. Fabric may shrink a bit or the dye may bleed a bit that is why it is important to always wash and dry the fabric before cutting it. Do not forget to iron the fabric before cutting and iron every seam you sew.

You will want to fold your material in half so that the manufacture's finished ends are placed together. Next, cut out strips in the appropriate width. For the thin stripes cut 1 inch wide strips. For the thicker stripes, cut 1.5 inch stripes. Once you have the proper width cut, divide the long strip of fabric into the appropriate length strips (8.5 inches).

Do all of the cutting at the same time. Do not work on one block, and then gather everything to make a second as it will not be an effective use of your time.

You will need a self-healing mat, ruler and rotary cutter to make the required cuts. Make sure you are making straight cuts and that everything is cut to the proper size. If anything is off, it will throw the quilt off.

With everything cut out, it is time to begin sewing. Sewing the strips together will be very easy. Start on one side and work all the way across until you have completed your first block.

Instead of doing a whole quilt top with all the striped blocks facing one direction, make some changes. I like to have one block with vertical stripes next to one with horizontal stripes. If you continue on in this manner, the quilt will be more interesting than if everything faced the same direction.

As a secondary idea, why not do solid blocks and striped blocks. Do solid blocks in the fabric you used for each of the stripes. Work in groups of three. For example, if you were working doing a pink and white striped blocks, you would have a pink block, a pink and white striped block, and a white block in a row. Continue sewing the blocks in that pattern until you have formed a quilt top.

This design looks great in baby quilts. If you are doing a quilt for a child, consider having a fun pattern for the backing. Make sure some of the colors from the front are replicated in the backing but there is no reason that a fun cartoon character cannot be on the fabric. It is all about having a little surprise on the back.

If you will be making a quilt for a baby shower and you do not know the sex of the child, you could do it in a neutral green or better yet, make striped blocks in all the common child-like pastel colors. There can be blue striped and yellow striped blocks. Use pink striped and green striped blocks or any color you think may be appropriate.

Regardless of what pattern you decide to use this block in or the size of quilt you make, I am sure you will be happy you choose the striped block. It is easy to make and takes very little time to put together, yet it can really dress up a quilt.

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