Summer in the Garden...
A warm welcome if you are joining me from the marvellous Moda Bakeshop, it's lovely to be sewing with you again this summer. This year we're spending the summer in the garden with a bouquet of flower blocks and our favourite pollinators. Today I'm bringing you the Blooming Butterfly...
I hesitate to speak for my fellow chefs, but as well as designing some pretty blocks for you to make during the Moda Bakeshop sewalongs, we hope that we can pass on our favourite tips and techniques. So as well as having oodles of fun, we can leave you feeling more confident and accomplished when you come to choose your next project.
As many of you joining us for the sewalongs are new to quilting, I took lots of photos when I was making my block and, hopefully, they'll be helpful if any of the techniques I've used are new to you.
Gathering your Supplies:
You will need three fabrics to make the Blooming Butterfly block: a background (I chose Bella solid in aqua), a large scale print for the upper wing (Wild Flowers in navy, from Crystal Manning's Ladybird for Moda Fabrics) and a small scale print for the lower wing (Cascade in porcelain, also from Ladybird). You will also need a 6" piece of ribbon - mine is 3/8" wide navy polka dot - although you could omit the ribbon altogether or substitute some embroidery.
There is a lovely printable pattern on the Moda Bakeshop website, with a handy line drawing of the block at the top. If you are using different fabrics to me, why not colour this in to remind you which fabric goes where?
As well as my sewing machine, rotary cutter, cutting mat, acrylic ruler, iron and pressing mat (I've been converted to a wool mat), there are a few extra notions that I find useful...
I don't generally starch my fabric - I make an exception for Liberty Tana Lawn - but I do regularly use Flatter pressing spray to prepare my fabric before cutting. My favourite fabric marker is a water-soluble pen, I've used lots of different brands. For this particular block I also used some washi tape to mark my ruler and some basting glue.
Making Half Square Triangles:
Once you have cut out the pieces for your block you are ready to make the lower wing (a). Set aside the smaller pairs of background squares and the ribbon for the time being and draw a diagonal line on the large background square (b).
Place, right sides together, with the lower wing square (the small-scale print) and pin, to stop it shifting when you sew (c). This is particularly important when you're using larger squares.
Sew a ¼” away from each side of the drawn line, then cut along that line and press both half square triangles (HSTs) open (d). As my background was darker than my print, I pressed the seam towards the background. You will only need one of these units, so set the remaining HST aside for another project.
Nearly Making Quarter Square Triangles:
If we were making a true quarter square triangle we would use both of the HSTs we've just made. But to make our Blooming Butterfly wings we will use just one HST and the remaining large print square.
The first step is to mark another diagonal line on the back of the HST PERPENDICULAR to the seam (e) and then pin, right sides together, to the print square. Don’t worry that the HST is slightly smaller, you will be trimming your units down (f).
Again, stitch ¼” away from each side of the marked line, cut apart (g) and press open, with the seam towards the navy print, to give two mirror image wing units (h).
Trimming the Wing Units:
The wing units now need to be trimmed down, according to the size you're making. I made the 12½" block so I needed to trim mine to 6½" square. My ruler was 6½" x 12½", so I marked the 6½" square with my washi tape, before trimming my units two adjacent sides at a time (i-j).
Most rulers have a diagonal line at one corner and I was lucky that I had two, which allowed me to centre my ruler properly. If your ruler only has one, you can add the second diagonal with washi tape, using your cutting board to line it up.
Assembling the Block:
Please note that I've assembled my block in a slightly different order to the method described in the Bakeshop post.
The block is assembled in two rows of two (k), pressing away from the wings (l), so that the centre seams will nest beautifully (m) when the rows are joined (n).
The next step is to add Easy Corner Triangles to each wing tip (you may also know this technique as 'snowballing') with the remaining small background squares.
Again you will be drawing diagonal lines on the back of your small squares and pinning to each wing tip (o), but this time you will stitch ON the line (p). Trim ¼” away from the stitched line (q) and press the corners out (r).
Machine Applique with Ribbon:
Depending on your choice of ribbon you may want to change your thread and bobbin colour to match. I swapped out my usual ivory for navy.
Turn a small seam on the ends of the ribbon, securing it with glue baste (s) then use the glue baste again to position it on the block. to the block (t). Lining the ribbon up with the inside edge of the presser foot, stitch in place (u), overlapping the stitches slightly where they meet. I like to turn down the speed on my machine for this step. Give your block a good press from back and front and trim it to size if you need to (v).
Here's the back of my block...
If you make a Blooming Butterfly block I'd love to see it: tag me on Instagram - I'm @cakestandquilts - and be sure to add the sewalong hashtag #summerinthegardenQAL to connect with and cheer on your fellow sewalong participants.
There are eighteen gorgeous blocks to choose from, three beautiful settings to explore and - best of all - new quilty friends to be made! Enjoy the rest of the summer,