It’s A New Year Sewalong Week 3: Sewing!
Welcome back to our It’s a New Year Sewalong! Can you believe we have over 300 people sewing along with us? Okay, maybe not everybody in the facebook group is actually sewing along. But if they’re not sewing they are watching and I can appreciate that. We have so many beautiful fabric pics and a few of you are already sewing blocks so I know this post (my tips for sewing your log cabin blocks together) has been much anticipated. 🙂
Over the course of this sewalong, I’ll provide detailed instructions for cutting, piecing, pressing, and sewing the mini log cabin block shown below. If you’ve sewn log cabins before, awesome. If not, no worries, I’ll show you how. Here’s our schedule:
- Week 1: Pick your fabrics (January 1)
- Week 2: Cutting (January 8)
- Week 3: Sewing (this week)
- Week 4: Make Something! (January 22)
- Week 5: Deadline for posting a finished photo to our Finished Projects Album in the SewCanShe Sewcialites Facebook Group (January 29)
- Winner and honorable mentions posted on the blog February 1st!
Each week I’ll give you an assignment. Once you finish, post a picture of your work in our sweet ‘SewCanShe Sewcialites’ facebook group. Have fun browsing everyone else’s fabric choices, progress, and finished projects. Make friends, be social!
Then at the end one lucky winner will get a $50 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop. The prize is sweet, but the fun of an online sewing group is even sweeter.
If you are just now joining us you can still catch up. I mean how long does it take to pick fabrics and cut a few strips? Read the posts for Week 1 and Week 2 above for more info. So here we go with the post for Week 3…
This Week’s Assignment: Sew one or more Mini Log Cabin Blocks
By now you should have decided how many log cabin blocks you want to make, cut one 1.5” square for the center of each block, and cut a bunch of 1” strips for the ‘logs.’ See the previous Sewalong blog posts for more info about those steps.
Now I’m going to show you how I sewed my blocks together. I’m not saying that this is the only way that you can sew these blocks together. I’ve seen lots of different ways so if you would like to sew yours using some other method, feel free. But I’m pretty picky about my piecing and after sewing over 130 of these little babies I can show you the way I like best.
First of all, if you’re making a bunch of blocks with the same fabric and color combination, chain piecing is the way to go. It’s faster, and you’ll actually make fewer mistakes when you repeat each step this way, trust me.
So start with a pile of your blocks on one side of your sewing machine and your strips on the other side. Cut a piece of strip the length of the side of the block (a tad longer is okay because you’ll trim it anyway) and sew it on with a scant 1/4” seam allowance. What I mean by scant is about 3/16”.
When the first center block has one strip sewn to it, immediately sew the next block and strip, and the next, and the next until you have as many as you want of this particular fabric combination.
Now you have a nice little row of blocks all ‘chained’ together with thread.
Pressing these blocks is easy. First ‘set your seams’ by quickly pressing down and up on the blocks before you open them.
Then fold back the strip and make a crease with your fingers. If you don’t pick up the block, you will be automatically pressing the seam toward the log (what you want to do).
Now press up and down with your iron again… don’t rub the iron around the block or you’ll distort the shape.
Since you sewed your seam with a scant 1/4” seam allowance (actually about 3/16”), you will be able to trim away a little extra from the top to straighten up your block again.
You should also trim the extra off your side edges too.
After this first trimming, your block will be 1.5” x 2”.
After all of your blocks have been pressed and trimmed, repeat the process to sew more strips on each block in the ABC order shown above. I don’t measure the length of each log before I cut it, I simply cut a strip that’s a bit longer than the side I will sew it to. Then I trim the sides down later.
Sew the new ‘logs’ on in the same direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) for all of your blocks.
Here’s a little slide show of one block being made from start to finish. Forgive me… I accidentally took the wrong picture at one step, but you’ll get the gist of it.
The first time you trim up your block, it will be 1.5” x 2”. The next time it will be 2” x 2”, then 2” x 2.5”, etc. One side of the block will increase by .5 inch with every strip.
Stop sewing ‘logs’ onto the block after 12 strips or when it measures 4.5”.
Trimming or ‘squaring up’ your block after each strip is time consuming, but it will help you fix any variation in your seams at every step.
If you are new to quilting or want a great (and free) refresher course check out this awesome Craftsy class that covers just about everything you might want to know. It is long and moves kind of slow but I have a lot of laundry to fold so I watched it all one week and learned some things that I didn’t know I didn’t know. 🙂
Now show us your blocks in the facebook group!
I am totally loving all of the pictures that have already been posted and I can’t wait to see more. I love the fact that we have people who are just starting on their first quilting project and seasoned quilters who have 30 years of quilts behind them. Feel free to post any questions that you might have and answer someone else’s question too. It’s so much fun to be sewing together.
Next week the assignment will be to sew your blocks together and make something. What will you make? It can be as small as a coaster or as big as a quilt.
You have until January 29 to upload a picture of your project to the It’s a New Year Sewalong Project Album. For the purposes of the $50 Fat Quarter Shop gift card prize, a quilt top is considered an entry. I will be totally amazed and impressed by anyone who can finish and bind a whole quilt by that date.
Last of all… here are some pictures from our ‘Sewcialites’! There are way, way too many to post them all. 🙂
Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂
So a bag is not an entry?
Absolutely! Feel free to make a bag, a skirt, a zipper case, a book cover, or anything at all! The only requirement is that it contains at least one mini-log cabin block.
Thanks for asking!
Thanks for featuring my block layout. You made my day!