Saturday, May 1, 2021

Hive 3 May Tutorial- Air Castle Flower Block

Happy May! I love all things Spring and Summer, so this month, I'm sharing a tutorial for a modified Air Castle Block with a flower feel. 


Many thanks to Ruth at for this tutorial. I have modified it only slightly to achieve the flower effect. 


You will need three primary fabrics - dark, medium and light - as well as a background fabric, center, and center border. I prefer bright colors, and I enjoy busy floral prints, but be creative! Pick three shades of the same or similar-ish color to give the feel of textured/shaded flower petals. You can even swap the medium and light, as long as you're using three different primary fabrics. (For my second block above, I accidentally swapped the medium and the light, but I love it!)

For the background, use a white or low volume fabric. 

For the center of the flower and center border, use yellows, greens, oranges, or whatever contrasts with the other fabrics you select to read like a flower. 

My pull is limited because we recently moved and some of my stash is still in storage, but here's a little inspiration.

I've pulled blues, pinks, teals, and turquoise, but don't be afraid to use purples, reds, greens, oranges, yellows, etc. Just try to keep things bright and cheery.


Here are the cutting instructions for a 12" block (will measure 12.5'' when you're done):

Background Fabric/Low Volume: TWO 5" sqs, ONE 5 1/4" sq 

Dark Fabric: ONE 5 1/4" sq

Medium Fabric: TWO 5" sqs

Light Fabric: TWO 5" sqs

Center Border: FOUR 2 1/2" sq

Center: ONE 4 1/2" sq

Piecing the Block

First make the corner units - HST squares.

You will need the TWO medium fabric squares and the TWO background squares of the same size. Draw a line through the diagonal, corner to corner, on the wrong side of the background squares, then sew 1/4" on both sides of the line. Tip: It's ok to sew a slightly less than 1/4" seam here because you'll be trimming the unit to accurate size.

Now you can cut along the line and press open the triangles. Press the seam toward the background fabric (this helps with construction later). This will make a total of FOUR units. You will need to trim them to 4 1/2", making sure the diagonal line on the ruler aligns with the seam.

Make the center unit next. You will need the center square and the FOUR center border squares.

Start by drawing a diagonal line, corner to corner through the center border squares, on the wrong side.

Place one of these center border squares in the corner of the center square so raw edges are even and diagonal line goes across the corner. Pieces should be right sides together.

This time, stitch along the line. You can repeat for the opposite corner too.

Use a ruler to trim 1/4'' from the outside of each line. 

Now press the center border squares open. (I pressed mine to the outside.) After they are pressed well, add the other two corners in the same way to complete the center unit.

One more unit to go: the star points. 

You will need your largest background square and your dark square for step 1 and the remaining light squares for step 2.

Step 1: On the wrong side of your background square, draw two diagonal lines, from corner to corner in both directions. You are going to sew 1/4" from the right side of the line only, from the corner to the middle of the square, stopping when you get to the line. (Hopefully you can see this below.)

Note: If you want the dark fabric on the opposite side, then sew on the left side of the line. Here again, it is ok to sew a slightly smaller seam. This gives you more room for trimming accurately.

Next cut along both lines and press the triangle units open. (I pressed toward the dark fabric.) No need to trim here.

For the next step, cut your TWO light fabric squares in half through the diagonal.

You will sew these triangles to the triangles in the first step with a 1/4'' seam allowance. Sew with the plain (light) triangles on top. This helps prevent stretching the seam as you sew. Press open. (I pressed toward the light fabric.)

Once joined, trim to 4 1/2". Be sure to align the seams with the diagonal line on the ruler.

Now that you have made all your units, lay them out, rotating them as necessary to look like the photo below.

First sew the units in rows. Tip: When stitching the center unit, sew with that unit on top so you can see where the seams intersect. That's where you want to sew through so your points are perfect.

Join the rows to create your Air Castle Flower block.

Ta-da! Your block should measure 12.5'' square. Don't worry about trimming to square. I'll be happy to do that.

And because I wanted to test the tutorial out one more time before sharing, here's another bonus example.

Thank You!

Thank you for all what I know will be a beautiful collection of Air Castle Flower Blocks. I can't wait to see what you each do!

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