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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tutorial: Tumbler blocks/ Y-seams

Today is Saturday--Lone Star day! So why the tumbler blocks? Why not? Those of you not doing a Lone Star might want to make tumbler blocks someday. By the way, thank you for all your comments last week saying that you learned something even if you are not doing a Lone Star. That made my day, because really, what I like more than anything is to teach.

 Using my normal very step by step high visual method lets learn tumblers and Y's. Keep in mind that triangles and Y-seams are not all the same size of angle, so your diamond shapes may look a bit different than shown, but the Y principle is the same.(The Lone Star angles WILL be different).

For those of you joining me on Barbara's book: She shows how to make Y-seams on pages 20,21. I tried her method first (because remember, I am learning too) and didn't like marking the pieces, A, B, C. It was a bit of a pain to me to keep referring to the book.."Am I folding C over A like I should?" etc. Also, I press my seams open...a tip from Jan. I tried both and I was more accurate by pressing them open. You'll see as we go. So you get the Hillbilly Tonya method today :)

Pick three different pieces of fabric and cut them into strips of the same width. I cut 2" strips. We are going to cut the corners off of one end of the strips at a 60 degree angle. You can do this one of two ways.

The little arrow is pointing to the dotted line on my mat. That line is 60 degrees, so I would just line up my ruler along it. 

My favorite method though is to use the straight lines on my mat and the 60 degree line on my ruler. Line the 60 degree along the top edge of your strip and cut off the little angle edge.

Then flip that little strip piece over and line it up on a vertical cutting mat line and make cuts every 2" (or whatever the width of your strip is)

There, easy peasy tumbler blocks.
 Now lets get to piecing Y-seams.
I found it easier for me to mark little itty bitty scores in the centers so that I would remember which corners were to be in the middle.

Now get out your handy dandy Jinny Beyer ruler I talked you into buying, (or get out your ruler and measure exactly 1/4" up from center) and find the edge that matches the shape of your piece. Line it up just right and then put a little dot in the center. The other dots are not necessary unless you want to use them. The center is our crucial point here.
(A word about pencils and the Perfect Piecer ruler--I tried 3 different ones, with the lead breaking in the little holes on all 3. Moved to a mechanical and did fine. I wanted it dark for photos but would have used my sewline pencil normally.)

Put a dot in the center of all three pieces.

Turn the top piece down and place over the left piece, right sides together. Then pin right through both dots matching them up exactly.

Put in your machine and lower needle down right where that pin is, removing pin before you sew.
Two very important things to remember:
ALWAYS work from the center dot out, and ALWAYS tack your middle stitches by sewing two stitches, then reversing two then sewing again, or using a tacking stitch if your machine has one.

Press your seams open

Now pick up your third little piece, place right sides together, and pin through dots. This is where the pressing open of the seams will help you. 

Here is a view from the back:

Sew from the center out again.

Press your seams open 

Fold your block so that you can sew the remaining side

When you sew this side, you have to be very careful to keep all those seam allowances out of the way. (experience speaking...I got to use my seam ripper on my very first Y attempt).
Sew from the middle out, press open your Y seam

And there you have it!

Practice, Practice, Practice!
You will want to perfect these before you make your Lone Star quilt.

Want to make a tumbler quilt?
You can find a coloring page RIGHT HERE to aid in your design.

Next week: We will be looking at fabric ideas for quilt number one: The Gradient Star


Kylie Lloyd said...

great pics and tutorial for y seams Tonya.

FabricFascination said...

I did a baby blocks quilt years ago, it was a challenge. Thanks for the clear directions and pictures.

Wanda said...

Ok we already know I'm weird anyway but I love doing Y seams. They turn out so cool. You are a natural at tutorials.


Belinda said...

Well that was very informative and helpful!!!! Makes it seem effortless instead of intimidating. Thanks Tonya!

krisgray said...

Oh - thanks for the pressing open tip. I've only done a few y seams and those seam allowances really got in the way.

KatieQ said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. I have only made one block of the Tumbling Blocks pattern. It was by hand so it was much easier (for me anyway). I'm glad you showed your method. I will definitely try it.

Snoodles said...

Super tutorial - thanks for all the pictures and details! :) How are the dresdens coming? (Oh, I probably shouldn't have brought that up, should I? LOL)

Barb said...

Wonderful tutorial!!

Patty@Granma's said...

You have more ambition! But it sure looks easier the way you showed it!

Linda said...

Oh boy! Doesn't look to hard, I hope. I will attempt this tomorrow. Great picture tutorial. Thanks for the tips :)

Marcia - Crafty Sewing and Quilting said...

Fantastic tutorial with all the photos! You do make it look so easy! Excellent explanation for making the y seams! Thanks for sharing! Hope you are having a great weekend!

Gladys said...

Thank you very much for these wonderfull Tutorial! All your photos make it very understandable for me I do not know their language (I communicate through a translator). Thank you and have a beautiful day!