I’m back! The summer holidays are over and my children have gone back to school. There’s no time to dwell on how terribly quiet the house is, I’ve filled the silence with the hum of my sewing machine. After two months of zero sewing I am more than ready to get stuck back in.
Today I’m thrilled to be sharing a few tips and tricks to help you make the Georgia block in the Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sewalong hosted by Angie @GnomeAngel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell.
With mostly squares and just four half square triangles Gerogia is straightforward to sew together. The tricky part is cutting, six divided by five is not an easy number to measure on your ruler, you really need templates for this one. You can use the templates provided in the CD at the back of the book, or Marti Michell template Set S (The 6″ Five-Patch Block Set).
I’ve used my Marti Michell templates to make this block but if you’re printing the templates here’re a few things I’ve found helpful when working from printed templates;
- a loop of washi tape or sellotape on the back of paper templates is really useful for holding the paper in place while cutting the fabric.
- I place my ruler on top of the paper template and line it up with the edge of the paper so that I can use a rotary cutter for cutting.
- template plastic is another option and is especially useful if you’ll be reusing your templates. Make your templates by tracing the pieces on to template plastic and cutting them out. Then place your templates on to the fabric and trace around the plastic with a Sewline pen, use scissors to cut the fabric along the traced line.
- another option is to use freezer paper to make your templates, you can then iron the template to the fabric before cutting out.
If you need help on how to construct this block then check out Marti’s instructions for making Georgia using Set S here. Don’t miss the “From Marti Michell Chart #34‘ link at the bottom of the post for a one page PDF with complete instructions for the block. Angie has also written a detailed tutorial for Georgia here. Rather than repeat the instructions, I thought I’d share some general tips on making the block. Please note, this is what works for me, you may prefer to do things differently, the important thing is to figure out what works best for you.
Tips for making Georgia
- Take care choosing fabrics. I wanted to choose three fabrics that would work well together, work in with my other blocks and be different enough from each other that my careful piecing didn’t get blurred from one fabric to the next. Don’t ask me how long it took to choose these three fabrics, after a two month holiday, I was feeling a little rusty! I ended up leaving several fabric options lying around where I could see them every time I walked past. Seeing them throughout the day helped eliminate a couple of fabrics and I settled on the three in the photo below, Hope Valley by Denyse Schmidt, Meadow by Leah Duncan and Homebody by Kimberly Kight for Cotton and Steel. Taking a black and white image is a useful way to see the difference in value between the three fabrics. To help keep my Farmer’s Wife fabric organised I keep it all in a separate container.
- Iron fabrics before cutting. I don’t prewash my fabrics so they still have sizing which keeps the fabric crisp and means I almost never use starch.
- Cut carefully. I love the engineered corners on the Marti Michell templates, they make piecing triangles so much easier. I’d almost finished cutting when I decided that I didn’t need to cut the engineered corners on the square pieces.
- Lay block pieces out before sewing and take note of any directional fabric. I only used one directional fabric, the Leah Duncan Meadow print (Sprinkled Noon). I chose to arrange the sprinkles so that they’re all running in the same direction.
In preparation for sewing, I pick up the pieces in the same order every time. I move from left to right, starting at the top row. I stack the two pieces of fabric on top of each other so that the seam I’m about to sew is always on the right hand side.
Make sure you’re using a scant 1/4″ seam. My Husqvarna Viking machine has a 1/4″ setting which moves the needle to the right of centre position and means I can use the standard foot for sewing. I’ve found that I need to line the fabric up so that it’s just a tad to the left of the edge of the foot to achieve an accurate 1/4″ seam. Get to know your machine so that you can achieve an accurate 1/4″ seam every time. With lots of small pieces and only 6″ blocks an accurate seam allowance is really important.
Chain piece where possible.
Iron each seam flat to set it, then iron the seam open. I almost always iron my seams open as I like the block to sit flat. I iron to the side if I think the fabric will sit more easily that way. For this block, I ironed all seams open except the two middle seams with the HSTs, these I ironed away from the HST (towards the middle, see image below). For the second (middle) row I ironed the centre seams away from the middle so that I could nest the centre seams between rows.
I use a pin or two when I’m matching seams, especially when the seams have been ironed open.
My final piece of advice, take your time and enjoy each step of the process 🙂
Click here to purchase a copy of the book The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99
09/02/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell
10/02/2016: Peta @ She Quilts Alot
11/02/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell
12/02/2016: Sherri @ A Quilting Life
16/02/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell
17/02/2016: Nathalie @ Les Ouvrages de Nat
18/02/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell
19/02/2016: Anita @ Daydreams of Quilts
23/02/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell
24/02/2016: Raylee @ Sunflower Quilting
25/02/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell
26/02/2016: Jemima @ Tied With a Ribbon & Rachel @ Family Ever After