Monday, April 5, 2021

Hive 3 April Tutorial: Letter-Size Paper-Pieced Strippy Block


This past year has made me recommit to spending my limited creative/making time on things I truly enjoy.  Stashbee is one of those things!  This is my fifth year in Stashbee.  I've loved making blocks for my hivemates, and the quilts I've made from my own bee blocks are some of my favorites.  When deciding on the block for my turn as April Queen Bee, I decided to go back to the simple style of the blocks I made as a beginner quilter over twenty years ago.  I still have the first strippy quilts I made, and I still love them. 

To make this block a bit different, I decided to make the block rectangular using letter-size (8-1/2" x 11") paper as the foundation, start with a white or whitish center diagonal strip, and use a mostly blue palette for the rest of the strips.  


You'll need one white or whitish solid or print strip (I used a Moda Grunge print with a white base for my sample blocks) at least 15" long, and a variety of blue or mostly blue strips of various lengths.  Cut all strips about 1" to 2" wide.  The edges of the strips should be straight, but they don't have to be parallel.    


Start with a regular piece of letter-size paper.  I used printer paper, but any paper cut to 8-1/2" x 11" will do.

Pin your white strip roughly diagonally (either left- or right-leaning orientation is fine) right side up onto the paper.

Take a blue strip that's long enough to overlap on each end by a bit, and pin it right side down onto the white strip, pinning through the paper and matching the right side edges.  Place your pins at least 1/2" from the edge so you won't run over them when sewing.

Use a piece of cardstock to fold a sharp crease in the paper along the edges of the fabric strips.  I found a brochure about sewing machine needles that worked for this. Junk mail is also a good resource for this type of cardstock.  

To sew, adjust your stitch length to no longer than 1.5mm.  This will make it possible to tear away the paper easily later.  Don't worry, you don't need to remove the paper, I'll do that.  Backstitch at the beginning and end of the paper.  (This makes sure the stitches won't split apart when the blocks are trimmed and the paper is removed.)  

Sew the strips together with the paper side up and the fabrics against the feed dogs. Use the crease in the paper as a guide for the right edge of your presser foot (you can use a 1/4" or a standard foot for this), and sew.  

Flip the blue strip away from the white strip, and press with a dry iron.

Pin your next blue strip down, lining up the edges with the prior strip, create a new crease in the paper, sew, flip, and press.  Repeat with additional blue strips.

When you've covered the entire piece of paper with strips, it will look pretty shaggy.

You can send me the block as-is, and I'll trim it down.  If you want to trim it to see how great it looks all neatened up, use a ruler and rotary cutter to trim even with the paper edges.

These are easy and fun, and I hope you enjoy making them.  Happy sewing Stashbee friends.

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