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About Me

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I'm just a new wife who has an obsession with my sewing machine! In Oct. 2010, my mother and I created my first sewing project - Euro pillow shams. I was hooked! I read everything I could get my hands on that had to do with sewing! Books, magazines, online tutorials. I experimented and found that I get so much enjoyment from making quilts, and that it's where I found my niche. I'm still a beginner, but I've learned so much in just 5 short months, that I want to share it with someone!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A wonky pinwheel tutorial

Do you remember these pinwheels I showed you earlier this week? 

Well, I'd love to show you how to make them! They are quick, easy, and so addicting, you'll want to crank out dozens of these!

For the quilt top for these pinwheels, I'm using four charm packs - two white, and two of Make Life by Sweetwater for Moda. You can use any combination you want, but I would suggest using a solid and a print. 

*If you don't feel comfortable possibly cutting your squares wrong, then practice on some scraps of 5 inch squares! There is absolutely no harm in practice, I highly encourage it! It took me a few trial and errors for me to get the hang of it :)

Materials Needed

Four Charm Squares - Two charm squares in a solid, and two in a print (matching of the print is not required). 

Sewing machine


1/4 inch seam foot

Rotary cutter, mat, and a clear ruler at least 6 inches long

Part one

So, you have your four, 5 inch, charm squares. Lay those charm squares on top of each other, in a stack, right sides facing up. This part is VERY important, as you don't want the blades of the pinwheels to face in the same direction!

Part Two

Now that your charm squares are in a stack, right sides facing up, you're ready to cut!

QUICK TIP - To make sure that you cut in the right place, mark your start and stop point with a couple pieces of tape. I always start on a number with zero, because it's like starting on the actual number zero. So, since I placed my squares at the 10 inch mark, I place one piece of tape above the charm squares at the 12 inch mark with the long side facing left, and another piece of tape on the 13 inch mark, with the long side facing right

Now that you're ready to cut, place your ruler with the edges lining snugly up with each line that you have marked with the tape. 

Hold your ruler down firmly, without letting it slide, and cut through all four charm packs.

Part Three

At this point, you will now have two stacks :).

I don't like to move them all that much from this general area, otherwise I run the risk of getting everything mixed up and sewing the wrong things together! 

Lay the printed ones out like this.

And your white ones out like this. 
Now you're ready to sew!

Part Four 

Lay your pieces together. You should have four pairs of printed and white squares. 

Using your 1/4 inch seam foot, Sew along the side so that your little blocks look like this.

It's okay if you're not perfect when you line up the side, but try to get it lined up as closely as possible

This is why I don't like to move around these little blocks all that much, so that way you know which side to sew.

Press your seams. It doesn't matter which way you press them. You should now have four more little blocks. 

Part Five

Now that you have four 'things', lay them out in the pinwheel shape!

You will notice that the 'things' are different sizes in terms of length. That's okay! We'll be trimming that off :).

Now, take the top left 'thing' and lay it on top of the bottom left 'thing', with the top seam, making sure that the 'fat' end of the top left, printed 'thing' is sticking out. Sew together using a 1/4 inch seam. 

Repeat for the other half of your pinwheel. 

Trim off the excess, using the rotary cutter, mat, and ruler. Make sure the skinny end of printed block is not the end you're cutting off!

Press your seams in opposite directions from each-other. This will make piecing the blocks and making a nice point a lot easier. 

This is what you should have. 

Part Six

Now that your seams are pressed in opposite direction, you're ready to finish the block!

Making that little notch in the middle, with your seams pressed in opposite directions, line up the straight edges of your two half-blocks.

Remember, you want to line up your half-blocks going from the center - outward. When you do this, you will have a longer strip on each side that will be trimmed off.

Sew the seam, with your 1/4 inch foot.
Trim off the excess on each side.

Press your seam to one side - it doesn't matter which side you press.

And you're done! You should feel very proud of yourself :). It looks complicated, but it's easy!

I like easy blocks that look hard. So go make many more and make a pretty quilt top!

Happy Quilting!