Hi everybody! and welcome to Week 2 of the Quiltsew Along for the Quilted Nutmeg Jacket :)
In this post, I will explain how I created the 9-patch blocks, how to join them together with the solid squares to create the top "fabric" for each pattern piece, the piecing technique, tips and tricks and we will also be cutting the lining and wadding / batting. Are you ready? Let's go!
This type of block is very common in the quilting universe and used a lot as a base for more complex designs. It is easy to piece (sew) and it just requires pressing all seams open thoroughly.
The 9-patch blocks are made out of 9 mini squares measuring 1 1/2'' each and sewn together. The resulted square will be a bit bigger than the desired 3 1/4'', but I will show you how to square it up later in this post.
Now that you have all your mini squares cut up, it is time to sew!
TIP: Chain-piecing is the best technique to use here, consisting in sewing together blocks of fabric one right after another in a long chain, with a continuous stitch, without lifting your pressure foot or cutting the thread. There is no need for back-stitching at the beginning or at the end as the blocks will be sewn together later on. Check the pic below.
Another useful trick, and not only for quilting, is to use what is called a 'header' (take a look at this video about how to use a header to know more). A header is a small piece of scrap fabric, usually folded, and placed before the blocks you want to sew. The possible nest of threads that ocurs when one starts sewing, will end up there, so the first block will have a neat line of stitches.
2. Press the seams open.
TIP: First, use your fingers to press the seam open and then apply gentle taps with your hot iron on the wrong side. Don't use steam so as not to distort or stretch the fabric. Go to the right side and give it another press.
3. Now, pin and sew the other three mini squares to the right of the ones you have just finished pressing and press the seam open again.
4. Now, pin and sew with right sides together the first and second rows and press the seam open. Repeat with the bottom row and give the block a nice final press, checking that all seams at the back are open.
5. Now, we are going to square-up our block so that it measures 3 1/4'' on all sides. For that, place strips of washi-tape or cello tape along the 3 1/4'' lines on your ruler and a small piece of tape, again on the ruler, where the centre of the square is.
Then, mark with a fabric pen/chalk or Frixion pen the centre of the block on the fabric itself. Match the centre of the block with the centre of the square and trim the right side and the top of the block.
Rotate your block twice to the right, place again your ruler on top of the block, matching the mark on the fabric and the centre of the square and trim again the right side and the top. Now, your block should be a perfect square measuring 3 1/4'' x 3 1/4''.
6. Repeat this process with all of your 9-patch blocks, ready to be joined to the solid ones on the next step.
JOINING 9-PATCH BLOCKS WITH SOLIDS
The next part of the tutorial this week would be to join the 9-patch blocks to the solid ones. It is a pretty easy task just facing blocks right sides together, pinning and sewing using the usual 1/4'' seam allowance. Press seam open.
TIP: Remember the chain-piecing technique so that you can do many blocks one after the other in one go.
Here, you need to follow the pictures you took at the beginning of the quiltsew-along or the diagrams you created to know how many blocks you need per pattern piece, the rows and disposition. Keep pinning, sewing and pressing seams open.
When you finish your first row (and then after each row), double check that the blocks are well aligned and that all seams are properly pressed open. Sometimes you may need to trim an edge because one the blocks is bigger than it should be, like shown below.
When it's time to join the rows, we need to apply the seam nesting technique. This simply means aligning the seams of each block between rows so that they not only line up nicely but seem to almost fit together perfectly like a puzzle piece.
Pin and sew only where the seam meet (with right sides together) and then check that they align as best as possible. Unpick and try again if necessary. After this, pin the rest of the row and sew.
Repeat with all the rows.
After this, you will end up with different fabric tops for each of your jacket pattern pieces. Check that these fit easily inside of your fabric, leaving a space of around 3''/7cm in between the edges of your pattern pieces and the edge of your fabric pieces. This is important as the fabric piece shrink a bit when quilted.
As you can see, I didn't follow that here (by mistake), but as I was going to trim the button placket at the front, I made it work in the end.
CUTTING LINING AND WADDING
The last step we need to do this week, ready for next time, is to cut the lining and wadding / batting. Follow the measurements you took on the 'Getting Ready' post or, just to be safe, measure the finished fabric top pieces and replicate those on the lining and wadding for each pattern piece, adding a couple of inches to all sides.
When making quilts, you always need for your wadding to be around 4''/10cm bigger than your quilt top and for your backing to be around 4''/10cm bigger than your wadding, but I found that that amount was not that necessary here.
And a last note, we are going to quilt the three layers (top, wadding and lining) BEFORE we cut the actual pattern pieces, so don't be tempeted to do that beforehand ;)
I hope that today's post was useful and yes! I know this is quite a bit of work you need to do this week, but no worries, take your time. You can go at your own pace. You will keep receiving the newsletters and you can always go back to the blog to continue the quiltsew-along when you are ready :)
Thank you for following along and see you next week!
PS. You can contact me at any time on Instagram or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any doubts.