Summer is finally here in the UK, hooray! And what better way to celebrate than with some summer sewing, especially if the fabric reminds you of holidays – take a look at this gorgeous collection called Summerside by Dana Willard for Art Gallery Fabrics. I just love the retro swimwear, giant flowers and cheeky smiley lollipops!
Continuing with my beginner quilting series, I wanted to show you one of my favourite blocks, the Churn Dash block, with some cute fussy-cutting, so you can really show off those adorable motifs.
In case you’re wondering what I mean by ‘fussy-cutting’ let me explain. It means cutting out the fabric to showcase a particular motif. It could be a flower, a cute character, a word, and this becomes a feature of the project you incorporate it into.
Fussy-cutting can be a lot of fun, the only down side is it can potentially waste a lot of fabric. So you need to weigh up if it’s worth it! Plus remember when you cut out a motif don’t forget to allow for the seam allowance!
I really love the Churn Dash block, it’s one of my favourites because it’s so versatile and can look so different depending on the fabrics you use and there’s a great opportunity to play with light and shade. Plus this is a block that has a long history. It is thought to have originated between 1800 and 1849; it’s representative of the butter churn and the centre square is the butter stick or ‘dash’ of the butter churn. So many blocks of this time reflected what American women saw around them in their daily lives.
I just love how we can use these traditional blocks and put a modern spin on them, or in this case, a retro vibe!
So, to make a 12” finished Churn Dash block you will need:
4 1/2″-square fussy-cut centre piece
2 5″ squares background fabric for half square triangle (HST) corners
2 5″ squares churn dash fabric
Churn dash strip – 18×2 1/2”
Background strip – 18×2 1/2”
1 First, cut out your fussy-cut centre.
2 To make the HST churn dash corners, place the background and corner fabric right sides together and draw a line diagonally down the centre. Pin and stitch a 1/4” either side of the line, and cut down the drawn line to create two HSTs. Repeat to create the other two corners. Open out each HST and press to the dark side.
3 Fold the square at the edge to get the centre point place the ruler at the 2 1/4” position. Trim and repeat on all four sides to create a finished 4 1/2” HST. Repeat with the remaining squares, to make four HSTs.
NOTE: For more detailed instructions on how to make HSTs, head back to my blogpost ‘Quilt Basics – Perfect Half Square Triangles.’
4 Now we need to make the rest of the churn dash and background. Because my fabric is directional, I’ve cut my 18” strip in half and sewed two strips together with the directional print on the top, and two strips together with the directional print on the bottom. If you’re not using directional prints, you can just sew the strips together.
5 Now sub-cut these strips so that you have four squares in total, each measuring 4 1/2” square.
6 You will now have nine squares, all measuring 4 1/2”. Lay them out in the following formation, taking care to orientate them in a way that is balanced and in a way that you are happy with.
7 Stitch the top row together pressing the seams to the right, the middle row with the seams pressed to the left and the bottom row with the seams pressed to the right. This will ensure that everything lies nice and flat and reduces bulk.
8 Finally, stitch all the rows together to complete your block!
Why not make several and make a table runner, or make even more and make a quilt! It’s a fabulous way to show off a fabric collection, and the fussy-cut centres are a great way to make motifs stand out. Have a play and see where your creativity takes you!
I’ll be back next month with a roundup of the Festival of Quilts – I’m so excited to be there again this year, and if you can’t be there, then at least I can share a little bit of the quilt magic with you.