Tips to Making a Good Fabric Block

Author: Carolyn Newman   Date Posted:18 August 2016 

TIPS to making a Good Quilting Block!



This is all about Good Habits! Like brushing your teeth. You want a nice finish on your project with all your points visible and no huge bumps where you have sewn your seams. These TIPs should help you in your process. I’ve chosen AUNT ELIZA’S STAR BLOCK to use in this example.



There are marks on those rulers for a reason. Pick your cutting line which in this example is the 15” mark. Your Fabric and fabric pattern should be square.

Notice how on the Edge ruler the numbers 1- 4 line up perfectly with the inches on the mat. When you are cutting your fabric what you want to look at is that number 1 over the 14” mark on the mat. When you have that lined up on the bottom and the top on the other side of the fabric…you are ready to cut. I think when you go to cut it’s always best to trim your fabric this way first. Make sure it’s right. If you have a long piece, then fold in half. For the blocks we are doing nothing will be that long. (If you are left handed then the fabric would be to the right side of the ruler)





IMG_0483¼ “SEAMS are not as hard as they seem. Don’t be daunted by them because as soon as you master it a lot of your problems will be over

You have several ways of marking your fabric, with Frixion Pen, Pencil or anything like that. If you have a ¼” foot that’s a huge help. If you don’t you might consider getting one. Best investment ever! Now these photos show you my ¼” foot and the short seam I sewed.

IMG_0516I laid my ruler on top so you can see it’s ¼” seam. If you have to draw that line, then do so. I buy my Frixion pens at Woollies. They iron out just as well as more expensive products.

There are different options out there but it works just as well for me






Should you fold over and press to the dark side or should you open flat and press?

Mostly always I will open flat and press. When you start a project you read the directions first. Have a look at the seam intersections. Do you have just 2 seams coming together or do you have 3 or 4 coming together?

For those of you who always press to the dark side when you flip over to the right side and iron you find those hard bumps that usually cause you to dirty up the fabric, twist up the seam and sometimes scorch it because it’s like trying to iron flat the Rocky Mountains! Not going to work.

You need to make that decision at the beginning. Once again this is very important and a must to get right now  as it can impact your project later on






Did you know there are different sized pins? Some are so much smaller like Dress Pins for example. If you would rather sew over the pins you use, then that is something to think about.  See that pin? Right up the middle. Not to the left or right. But should be in between stitches in the middle of the seam and not sticking through fabric.


This is the correct way your pins should be placed








This is not the right way to do it


This is the correct way your pins should be placed

Yes, it is fiddly I know but it’s worth the time. Remember it’s about developing good habits. It’s important that both points going through are centred. Cause believe it or not if you have the point closet to the ball of the pin going through fabric you whole piece will be cockeyed! It really anchors it properly.  Now some of you may have your needle in the opposite direction pointing in to the fabric. I just prefer mine this way.    


Diagonal marking is from point to point. Not side of point. So put your marker point on one corner point if you need to and then set your ruler next to it. Mark your solid line. If you don’t have machine ¼” foot and need to mark your ¼” lines, then do so like I did in the example below with a dash line. The solid line is for cutting.


The photo below is a good example of when it’s not right. That line of holes on the top side of the solid line was my first sewing line that wasn’t right. I looked at it and knew it wasn’t right so I picked it out and resewed it. Before cutting I made my other diagonal line.


You can see the waviness came out once it was cut.








First…with your cut pieces closed press the seam to set it. Then open flat and press. Gently because these are bias cuts on those triangles and you don’t want to stretch them out.







YEP…STARCH!!! Give them a spray and press.

















Now to sew these together. Same as before These are small and one pin centre in the seam should be fine. Sew slowly. Don’t sew fast. Control it. I don’t remove my pins. But I do sew slowly over them.

Only one pin is needed. You put the first section under the needle, the centre is pinned and you hold the end closest to you. It’s short pieces and easy to control. Over 7 or 8 inches and up you might want to use another pin each side.







When you have sewn all your triangle pieces together and you have your four squares this would be a good time to clip those dog ears. Don’t touch the square…just the little dog ears. You don’t need em throwing you off Sewing your ”seams together and certainly don’t need the extra bulk in your seams.







If you need to …two pins are plenty. Too many and they can make the whole process more difficult and cause distortion to the bias edges. NOTICE FLAT SEAMS. Sew slowly. This isn’t a race!







IMG_0509Here are two longer pieces and you can see where I have put needles into the joint areas CENTRED in the seam only. Now if you sew slowly enough to maintain good control these distances between pins are short. A firm press with your fingers should be fine. I’m not against pins at all. I use them all the time. But they can make things more difficult sometimes than they need to be. Don’t rush and speed. Let me know how you go!

When I opened up look what I found! Those points shouldn’t be back so far. Unpicked and did it again.


FINISHED! Front and Back. Sides not even…don’t worry about that. It will become part of the seam when the time comes to sew the quilt together.

Lessons learnt?




I welcome comments on this tutorial good or bad! Please complete the feedback form. If you want a pdf copy please email me and request it and ill do my best to get it to you as soon as Im able, Happy Quilting !

Comments (6)

Thanks, I am visually impaired and need extra help

31 December 2017
I will not let my loss of vision or MS stop me quilting. Really appreciate learning new methods because quilting changes so quickly especially notions, templates etc. The only nod to rulers/templates/squaring up grids is if it really does do what it says (many don't) and how will it be of benefit to me. With that said I do use the methods shown but when it comes to cuts and trimming etc. I rely heavily on Creative Grids stripology CGRCE2 it is the most useful tool. I can accurately cut strips (multiple in a minute) sub cuts e.g. HST, squares etc. The grid has open slots to run your rotary cutter on. Line up once and go for it. Turn it round and make your sub cuts or square your blocks. I endorse this because i can feel each groove so I know what widths I am cutting by feeling along the slots. I just wanted to share as there may be other people who have similar problems. Also you can move ad reposition easily but when you apply some pressure for cutting it locks to the fabric. So I hope this might help someone and i forgt to say I dont waste fabric now and I don't cut myself either, quite important after two serious accidents lol.

I want to send you a

17 May 2017
I want to send you an award for most helpful internet writer.


26 January 2017
What an amazing tutorial. This will set me on my feet. I have access to two lovely ladies who have done heaps fo quilting, but a page like this to refer to makes it so much easier. Thank you!


19 August 2016
I have read so many quilting books with different ideas - but Carrie this is great. So many tips and tricks. Now to start using them! Thank you. PW

Tips for good blocks

19 August 2016
Really good tips and I hope they will help me as I tackle my 4th attempt ! LOL Bernadette Aitken

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