Thursday, July 14, 2011

No Templates Tutorial!...

I have had several emails asking different questions about how I draft the quilt blocks so I thought I would share how I do it
in a tutorial...
"Drafting a quilt block 101"

You can draft so many traditional
quilt blocks (but not all)
for rotary cutting instead of templates by using very simple math.
Now don't get me wrong, templates are a part of quilting and there are so many blocks and quilts made with templates....
But for me, when there is a way to rotary cut/use a ruler instead...
that's usually what I do.

I'm probably much too comfortable with my
rotary cutter and rulers:)
But that's just me!
If you happen to be one of the many who love to use templates only...go for it!
I'm just talking about me here.

Okay...with that being said...on to the tute.

First of all...let me say that I am so not a math's just that I have been quilting and designing for many years and I have learned a thing or two that I would be happy to pass on to you:)

The first thing you need is graph paper.
For this quilt I am making now I am using a
5" x 8" pad.
I got mine at Office Max. 
I'm sure you could use any old paper but let me tell you that drafting blocks
becomes alot easier when using
graph me!
I heart drawing on graph paper...
we always had it around the house
when I was a girl because my Dad
designed rockets for a living
and he always had a large supply on hand.

Also...I would suggest using a pencil...of course we all need to erase!
I love a .05 mechanical pencil to do
all of my drawing.

           Okay...lets get started!
The first thing you will need to know is what is the FINISHED SIZE of the block you are drafting....always go by the finished size ...not unfinished...  
I will show you how to draft the block in the top photo of this post...
the finished size is 6"x 6".


Next you will need to decide what each square of the graph paper will represent.
I've decided on mine that one square
will equal 1/2 inch...
so now I draw a square that is
12 x 12 squares.
Because  each square equals 1/2 inch....
I have just drawn the outside of a
6" finished block.


You can see by the picture of the block in the photo that this block is divided in go ahead and draw a line down the center both ways.

If it's easier you can draw a little grid on the top of the block reminding you where the inch marks go.

Now you need to figure out the finished size of the large squares....I labeled mine "A".

Because you know that the
finished size of the block is 6"...
and you know that half of 6 is 3...
and you know that each square is 1/2"...
you know that the
large "A" squares finish at 3". 
Because you know that you will need to add 1/2" to the 3" square for seam allowance
 (1/4" for each side both ways)...
you have your cutting measurment
for "A"... which is 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"!! 

Okay...on to small squares.
I labeled 4 squares that I will cut
from the same fabric "B".
How do you know what size to cut them?

1. Count your small squares on the graph paper.
2. There are 3 that equal 1/2".
3. The finished size "B" square is
1 1/2" x 1 1/2".
4. Add 1/2" for seam allowance.
5. Cutting size for "B" will be 2" x 2".

I now know that the remaining squares
will be cut 2" x 2".
I label two of them "C" that will be from
the same fabric....
and two of them "D" that will be cut from 
 the same fabric.

I cut them out and placed them on my
mini design board...

and stitched it together.

My block measures 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" square right now because it's unfinished...
but it will measure 6" x 6" square after
it is sewn into the quilt.

Fabrics used;
Red Gingham, Green Dots & Pink Cherries =
Red and White Seed Catalogue =

When each block is complete...
I put my drafted block into a sheet protecter.
The binder that I bought to use for this project came from Office Max.

The binder is a new size by Avery and it's half size...meaning it fits half of a sheet of  standard 8 1/2" x 11" paper.
Love it!!!!

The sheet protecters fit in the binder perfectly!!!
They should have thought of this a long time ago for us quilters....just think of all the patterns out there that are sized perfectly for this...thank you Avery:) you feel like you can draft a quilt block for rotary cutting now?...I hope so.
In my next post I will teach you how to draft half square triangles along with the method I use to sew them together!...
With what you have learned should be able to draft any blocks that consist of squares and rectangles!

Have fun and I'll type at ya later:)


Michele said...

The templates were scaring me. You make it look so organized and easy!

Kim with a K said...

Thank you....I'm quite interested in joining along BUT SCARED of templates!!!
You really make quilting fun!

Sherri said...

Great tutorial, Lori!

DevonMaid said...

I'm OK with the squareish ones ... it's some of the triangles that scare me!

Kim with a K said...

OK - I'm back from ordering the book (have to wait one week!!!) My husband who is usually quite supportive of me is laughing and says I won't last 2 weeks! I'm really excited to prove him wrongish!

Amy said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial, Lori. I am headed out to get the great new sized binder and sheet protectors you showed. I agree that they should have had those a long time ago. Organized quilt and cross stitch patterns are now in my future. Thanks for making the drafting of these blocks a task that I now know I can do!!! Excited to start my Farmers Wife quilt!!!

Tina said...

You are a genuis! Thanks so very much for the tutorial - I did "think" about doing the FWQAL, but then thought that it really looked to be a pain due to the templates....I may have to reconsider. Great tutorial and extremely thoughtful of you to share....much appreciated!!

Maxine said...

Thanks Lori for the great tutorial..Off to buy the book and the new binder and of course the sheet protectors..Can't wait for the next tutorial...Also love your fabric and the seed print...

my happy bluebird said...

Thank you so much, Lori! :-) I've been busy doing summer stuff with my kids, so I didn't start my blocks yet -- now I have these wonderful instructions and I'm ready to go! Hopefully I can get something done tomorrow. :-)

my happy bluebird said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie said...

Thanks so much, Lori! I got my book on Monday - have loads of fabric just waiting - and now I'll be so organized! I love it! I'm excited to get started - on vacation/staycation for 2 weeks and I'm ready to get caught up with FWQS! Thanks for the "nudge"! This is gonna be fun!

dream quilt create said...

Thanks Lori! Easy peasy......I am going to buy the book tonight and go to the store for supplies tomorrow ♥

Susan said...

Outstanding tutorial. Thank you!

Becky J. said...

i love the idea of making any pattern book {old ones especially} into something you can sew! i am going to have to check out the binders-- great idea!

Nedra said...

Lori, There are big STARS in heaven with your name on them! Thank you so much! Your tut is so easy to follow and well written. I'm looking forward to learning more.

amy said...

ooh, wonderful! I'm going to get some grid paper now! thanks so much for this xo amy

Mary Jane said...

Which Office Max? The one in Provo didn't know what I was talking about.

my happy bluebird said...

Hi Lori! I'm doing my "homework" and I noticed an error on the last block in the list of "5 more blocks". It should be block #92 instead of "392". I just finished my diagram and I'm off to cut the fabric for my first block! :-)

melanie said...

I am in love with your blog! Two questions....what pattern of yours would be easiest to start with for a newbie quilter??? Also, when is the next quilt market where your products will be on display? Thanks a bunch!

Nanette Merrill said...

Love that annie's farm stand fabric. This is how I do my blocks, too. I have several notebooks that have grid and that is how I save mine. Fun fun.

Memaw and Papa said...

How can I read this and not say a big Thank You!!!
I made my six design boards and have the fabrics chose and cut. I am singing your praises! This is so fun. I had been looking at the book for six weeks but couldn't figure out how to start.
You are the best
Cindy from Utah

tealeafquilts said...

Once again, thank you for your willingness to share.

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