North Pole Sampler – Week 6 – Garland Block

North Pole Sampler – Week 6 – Garland Block


[ Jingle bells intro ] Hi, it’s Jen from Shabby Fabrics! Welcome
to week six of our North Pole Sampler Sew Along, we’re zooming right along and now
we’ll be working on our garland block units. There’s two of them. This is what
one of them looks like. You have ten of the garland blocks, and they have a
little bit of sashing on the top and the middle, and two pieces on the end. So we
have one of those completed, and most of a second one completed. I wanted to
show you how to make the garland block, and then we’ll put the whole unit
together. So we’ll get our pattern pieces. Of course, everything has been cut out
and nicely labeled for us, ready to go. As options come up to use rulers, or not,
I’ll show you what the option would be to use those or not use those as you
prefer. And we’ll start off with making some half square triangle units, which will be the top of our kind of garland unit. And the one that I’ll be filling in
here, is this piece right here. It’s the little cute little snowman on the aqua background. So we’ll take our piece here, and our white. And this is where the very
first option will come in for you. If you—let’s look at our instructions here—if
you would like to draw the line and sew on a quarter inch seam allowance, you grab a FriXion pen and a ruler and just draw corner to corner. Place your pieces right sides together, put a little pin on either side of that, and you will sew a
quarter inch on either side of that line. So that’s your first option. That’s how
I’ve done half square triangle units for— for many, many years. And then Fons and
Porter said “You know what?” and I introduced this to you in the
previous block, this is that quarter inch seam marker. Two of these come in a
package. If you would prefer to sew on a line, versus having to sew a quarter inch
away from the line, how you use this is— I’m just gonna choose the shorter
of the two, since I’m working with such a small unit— and I will put my yellow line corner-to-corner, draw, and now I don’t have to worry about
finding a quarter inch away from a drawn line. I get to sew on a line. I’m—I’m
usually way more accurate when all I have to do is sew on a line, versus hoping that I’ve got a good quarter inch seam allowance going. Now I’m gonna put
my pins in here in opposite directions, because I’ll pivot around, like you’ve
seen me do before. And let’s head off to our sewing machine right away and let’s get started on making our half square triangle unit. Boy, it’s a lot trickier
working with smaller pieces. I mentioned it before that I’ve always known that
working with smaller pieces— I think with anything, really, but particularly in
sewing—you just have to be a little bit more precise. Now with that ruler, I’m
just going to put that corner to corner and I’m gonna go ahead and make a cut. We’ll separate that. Let’s see if it matters how we’re pressing, let’s take a
look and see what happened. Looks like they were consistently pressing to the
dark. Our instructions no doubt mention that, yes, and the instructions, they say
press toward the red. Well, as you can see, we use different colors for each section of the garland. When they say ‘press to the red,’ it’s whatever color—the blue, the green, the aqua, whatever that is. So let’s go ahead and give that a press now—gosh, these
pieces are so tiny— But again, that surely makes it cute. Tiny seems to be pretty cute. And I will trim off that excess fabric
there, I don’t want that. We definitely don’t need extra bulk anywhere. Okay, so
let’s get that a little bit cleaned up. Let’s move on to the next part of our
pattern. So just like our pattern is saying, that’s going to produce two half
square triangle units. All right, what’s next? Notice how they’re showing that
there’s a piece in-between, and that’s our piece. Okay. So that’s just following
our pattern along. So you know it’s oriented this way. This was the unit we’re working on together right now, this one right here, So we’ve got that
oriented properly. And you can see that that is just going to be right sides
together. Press—press toward the middle, and right sides together pressing toward
the middle. Let’s talk about the bottom portion. We will sew that, but let’s go
ahead and move down into this portion here. Here we have a rectangle. And I’ll
move some of these clips out of the way now, so there’s less to look at. You have
these tiny little 1-inch pieces— oh my goodness, they’re so tiny. Here again,
you’ll have the option— this is a little bit different than the other one, where we drew a line and you would sew on either side of that line, or use the Fons and Porter marking tool. Here, your choice is to either draw the line and sew on the line—not a quarter inch away, but sew on it, that’s option one. Or—I’ll just iron
that away, so you’re not looking at that— that’s when the Corner Clipper can come
into play. And boy, you’re using the smallest little portion of that Corner
Clipper. So let’s turn that around, let’s look at that. What if we decide we want
to do that Corner Clipper? If something comes—becomes more confusing to you, ’cause sometimes that’s confusing, you’re like ‘I’m confused as to how to use
the tool,’ that’s when I go back and I refer to—’what am I trying to get
accomplished here?’ “If my line was drawn here, and my line was drawn here, how would I manage the Corner Clipper?” Sometimes it’s easy to visualize it.
Actually, on the right side, before you spin that mat around—because there’s
our line, right, that you would have drawn— I’m gonna go ahead and trim this. Anytime
you’re confused, stop. If it’s too confusing to use the tool for that step,
don’t use it. All right. And here— there’s my corner to corner. Let’s trim that away. See, even I had to kind-of re-acclimate. I was like, oh, that’s kind of confusing me
right now. Let’s go to the sewing machine. I’m gonna sew this, I’m also gonna sew
this. Let’s do some consolidation. Let’s— let’s do a couple things at the machine
at one time, since we’re headed over that direction. I’m just gonna put a quick pin in—and these are so tiny, I don’t even think a pin is gonna go in there very well. So let’s just head over there. We’ll be very careful and we’ll double check
our alignment before we start sewing. I’m just gonna put that to the side.
Anytime you don’t pin for whatever reason, you have to double check. I think
I’ll just cut my thread there because that was just a little bit hard to do
that pivot. Let me go back. Sometimes when I can consolidate and sew a bunch of
stuff together, I do it, but sometimes it doesn’t work out because of the way
things are sewn together and chain stitched. Just clip your threads and
start again. It’s okay. Do it only when it makes sense to do it. So let’s look at our pieces. How do we
press? Looks like down here, we press toward the white. And that sounds like something I would want to do, I always prefer to press out in this direction
versus pressing back towards the blue. It’s much more difficult to do. Boy, tiny little pieces. Be careful here, you’re gonna get your fingers pretty
close to the iron—that you don’t get burned. So this is—this is our little
bottom portion. You see that right there? Now for this portion—let’s trim off our
threads—they’re pressing inward toward the white. And that makes sense, right?
Look how it wants to go that direction. That’s because there’s a lot of bulk
over on this side. Actually, I can press that better. Very easy to take a little
tuck there. Now let’s do this side. Oop. Let me double check I’ve got that right. Yes. Starter strips seem to really help when
you’re dealing with small pieces that your machine tines don’t want to eat. So
I—I find myself using starter strips more with little pieces. Okay, let’s warm
that seam up. Press to the middle. Check it from the front. Make sure you didn’t
take any tack. If you need to trim any threads, go ahead and do that. All right.
So let’s see how is this going to work. That’s really all there is to making
that cute little block. Right sides together, just like we’ve done before. Pin the beginning and the end, and the middle, if you feel it’s necessary. I’m going to, just because it’s such a little thing, and I don’t want it to stretch or distort. Okay, here we go. So let’s see, where does our seam want
to go? I don’t even really need to refer to my instructions, do I. It’s pretty obvious that that seam wants to go downward. Let’s see, is that what we did?
Yes. So when the fabric tells you where it wants to go, most of the time we can agree with that. Now and again—I think we saw that on the last block where we were pressing away from the dark, which was not our norm, that we need— we did that to
have interlocking seams. I think that was last block, they’re all starting to blend
together. But it was one of our previous blocks. Okay, so this is our little garland unit. You will make a total of twenty: ten for each unit. Once these are laid out, and of course arrange them in any arrangement you want— we just kind of
spread out the colors, do whatever you want— you will place them right sides
together. Now this is one of those places where I don’t have interlocking seams. Do you see how that seam is going down here? And the seam is going down here.You’re
gonna have some bulk at that point. If there was ever a time that your machine
might bog down a little bit, it’s at that place, because it’s going through more layers. So you may have noticed that you’re sewing along, sewing along—I’m only sewing through two layers right here, right? But when I get to this
section I have: one, two, three, four, five, six! Naturally, your machine might get a
little bit bogged down. I’m gonna pin that seam because I want that—I don’t
want that to walk away or move as my machine gets to it. And it’s gonna—it’s
gonna be more work for your machine. I just want to check that one more time, and I’m trimming some of these extra threads out of the way. It will help give you a clearer view. Can you see that, on the upper camera there? I’m just going to pinch that together with my fingers and put a pin right in there. Hoping that does not move on me. And if it does, after I’m done sewing I
will seam rip it and do it again. So all is not lost, even if that happens.
Let’s go sew that and see how we did. Notice this Bernina just didn’t even
remotely hesitate. Even in that intersection with those six layers, it just doesn’t even know it. It’s such a strong and capable sewing machine. Now as
you can see, equal distribution of the seam, the bulk of the seam, right now, is
what’s best. So let’s press that open. Remember, sometimes wiggling that in there will help open that seam up for you. So let’s look at that. Now, right away I see
something that I don’t like. Do you see it? This seems to be every single video—and this is not planned guys, this happens— do you notice how this has
shifted down by maybe a sixteenth of an inch? My seam is off by a sixteenth of an
inch, and I’m off here. I don’t like that. I’m not going to get this far down the
road and let that happen. So we’re just going to—I always un-press
my seam, it makes it a little bit easier— And with the thread warm, it’s easier for
me to just pick out a couple of the—of the threads. I don’t have to do every one.
And this will quickly come apart. And I’m going to also take note of the direction
that I need to shift this ever—ever so slightly. So even with careful, careful
pinning, being as strategic as possible, sometimes they just get off. Can I
explain it? No. Do I wish I knew? Yes. So we already know
I was shifted down just a touch, right? I’m gonna re-press that, so it’s
just—I’m kinda resetting. I’m starting again. All right, let’s do that again, with
the focus being: are these, first off, the same height? And they are. They just got
off ever so slightly. So what that tells me, is my emphasis. I kept making such a big deal about that center. You know where my big deal is going to be right now? The beginning and the end, because I think I lost my way, right? I said before, every
other video, pin the beginning and pin the end. And I think that’s where I went
just a little bit off on that. Now let’s take a quick peek. And that just lined up
beautifully where it’s supposed to. Let’s go resew that. Back that pin out just
a little bit, so I don’t have to pull it out as I’m sewing. Same with this one. I
got a little bit too close. All right, let’s try again. Here we go. Round two. So, hopefully I’ll be happier with this
one. Let’s look—yes, see how that was worth it? That didn’t take us very long at all to make that correction. Just do it, just
make the change. You’ll be so much happier you did. Because these quilts,
they’re gonna be on your wall year after year. And you know what? Someday you may give them—hand them down to your kids or grandkids. And you want to be—feel good about—that you did the best that you could on that project. Okay. So now I’ve
got—that unit is complete, and we’ve sewn one of our sashing strips on the top of
the bottom unit, and then this is our next unit. I’ll move my spinning mat
out of the way here. And I’ll move my other stuff out of the way so we can
just focus on the project. And kind of what I’m thinking about and looking at
at this point— so we know this goes like this. This is going to go like—you might even turn it sideways, so you can see the whole thing. Like this. This piece will
come in on the top, and then these two pieces will come in on the side. I would encourage you, rather than to sew this piece on, that you flip this piece first.
The reason being is, without that upper piece on, I can see if my seam here is lining up with my seam here. It’s off right there, you see that? It’s on here,
and it’s on here. If this strip was sewn on top of this, when I flipped it I
wouldn’t have that visual cue. So I would encourage you to go ahead with your
bottom row— let me show you in the pattern. With your bottom row here, sew your V on here, you’ve of course got this assembled as well. Let’s attach this together before you put that top sashing strip on. So that’s what
we’re gonna do right now. I’m going to pin the beginning and the end, and I’m going to be checking each of those points along the way. Because you want
these seams to be stacked just like this. You don’t want them to be off, because
you’ll notice it. So that one—I feel really good about that one. Let’s pin that, it’s right in line with where it should be. Okay, that one is lined up nicely as well. That one I want to fuss with in just a
minute, but I know I like this. I’m gonna pin the things I’m happy with. Now, looking at the seam allowance, and kind of examining it, I can make a determination just visually. Like, is that—is that off, is it too wide, is it too narrow? Sometimes things can just happen during pressing, cutting. Fabric has a
certain level of stretch to it. I’m just gonna move this over, just like this, and see how it’s lined up now, as I move it over with my fingers? And I’m just gonna
press right here and put a pin in. This is, again, reality quilting. Does
everything line up perfectly every time? Of course it doesn’t. Do I wish? Of course
I do. But that’s just not real life. We’re all
about talking about real life and real quilting here at Shabby. Because I want you, as a beginner, to know— or even as an experienced sewer, to know: yep,
I’ve been doing this for decades, and I consistently make mistakes,
minor deviance—deviations from where I want to be. Seam rip ’em, do it again or
remake that block as necessary. So, let’s go over to the sewing machine. And let’s sew this. Let’s see how we did. I think I need a
lint roller for my pressing mat, here. We’re well into this project and I’m
getting all kinds of threads on here. I’ll make a point of doing that. So, let’s
see, how did we do? We’re nicely lined up. I’m happy with
that. Things are lined up here and here, everything in between. So, let’s warm up
our seam. Of course we’ll be pressing toward our sashing, where we have no bulk. Now I’ll put on that top sashing strip the
same way, of course! I’ll just quickly do that. But carefully, of course. [ Jingle bell musical interlude ] Hopefully we’re done with that seam
ripper for today. Huh! Seems I’ve been using that a lot lately.
You know, having—that’s the reality of sewing, again. You are going to seam
rip something from time to time, and having a seam ripper that you enjoy
using when you have to use it, that’s effective, is so important. So you know, it’s a minimal investment, but I just can’t say enough about the Clover one.
I’ve had several that just weren’t very sharp, and in the attempt of trying to
break the thread and kind of dig in there because the tip wasn’t very sharp,
I actually put a hole in my fabric, so that was completely disappointing. So I
can’t recommend that Clover Seam Ripper enough. And I’ve got a couple, of course, because it seems like I do a fair amount of seam ripping at times. Um, alright. This is what this will look like at this point. Let’s move that out of the way, we’ll move this over here, and now comes the side sashing strips. Let’s see how we’re doing. Let’s see once we have our block all
stretched out, it looks like we’re doing really well with pressing in our
quarter inch seam allowance so that our sashing strips are fitting on very
nicely. No big deviations that we can’t fix with an extra press, or just a little bit of… I wouldn’t say ‘stretching’ of the fabric, because it’s not that, but it’s just kind of that—getting that natural… All of those seams, they want to relax!
And when you don’t let them relax, that sashing fits perfectly. See, I’m not
letting the seams relax right now. There we go, same down here. Fits pretty nicely. [ Jingle bell musical interlude ] Okay, that block unit is done. Let’s give
it a final press, and then of course you’re gonna want to check your
measurements. But I’m feeling confident, because our sashing strips fit both horizontally and on the ends. I’m feeling confident our block is measuring what it
should be. But it’s always nice to just double-check. Should be five and a half
by sixteen and a half. Okay. Let’s check. Let’s see how we’re doing. Sixteen and a half would put me at
thirty six and a half, which is where we are here. And five and a half will put me
up here at five and a half. Yes! I’m excited! This is great, we’re—we’re doing great. I hope you’re enjoying our Sew Along. Our next block is a little bit more
involved, it will be the stocking block, but it’s all the things you’ve learned
along the way. So don’t worry that there’s a lot of pieces! It’s all the
same good habits you’ve been practicing up till now. So I’ll see you next week, where
we’ll make four of our stocking blocks. We’re almost done with our quilt. I’ll
see you then. [ Jingle bells outro ]

6 thoughts on “North Pole Sampler – Week 6 – Garland Block

  1. Wow love the great tip on how to a-line the garland to match. I would have never thought about doing that. Thank you

  2. Could you use a color rectangle and a white rectangle and snowball the colors on both instead of the small white piece in the top section? Of course the snowballs would need to be different sizes for the upper and lower rectangle.

  3. I was going to buy the PDF pattern, but it is $18 for four pages that I have to print out, the same amount as I would pay for a 25 page printed version that they would have to mail to me. That's pretty steep for a PDF version. I think I'll just figure it all out on my own and make this quilt that way. I'm all for folks getting the money they deserve, (and I would have happily paid up to about $12 for the PDF version), but to charge the same for PDF as a printed version that is 6 times larger AND needs to be mailed just isn't right.

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