Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sweet Sixteen Quilt Along - A New Technique!

Hi, all!

I hope you're enjoying the Sweet Sixteen Quilt Along as much as I am!  I've really been amazed at all the ways I've seen to use sixteen-patch blocks - and I'm enjoying seeing the ways you are taking the inspiration and turning it into beautiful quilts!  

If this is your first time stopping by the quilt along, here's what's happened so far.  The first week, we learned some techniques for making sixteen-patch blocks (beyond your basic "sew sixteen squares together"!)  Then we started exploring some ways to use those blocks...

The second week we saw a quilt using pinwheels with 16's.

Then a modern take on the 16-patch quilt.

Week four showcased a one-block quilt...

...and week five revealed an old favorite, the postage stamp quilt.

Week six was a quilt made by a tutorial from Amanda Jean Nyberg, originally written for the 2011 Hands2Help Challenge.

And last week's quilt was a riot of color using 16's and snowball blocks.

So now we come to this week's quilt - a checkerboard quilt!

Sorry about the pictures - I have to take my sun when I can get it, which in this case was late afternoon so the pics are kind of golden...

What I'm most excited about with this quilt is the new (at least to me) technique to make 16-patch blocks from layer cakes or 10" squares.  I've not seen this technique anywhere else.  I got the idea from a recent tutorial paired with the release of Jolly Bars (5"x10" precuts).  They used two jolly bar precuts to make one 16-patch block. Well, I didn't have any jolly bars, and truthfully was too cheap to go out and buy one. But I did have a layer cake on hand, and thought I would just cut it in half.  But then I started thinking a little bit more, and did a little experimenting, and came up with a cool method of making two sixteen patch blocks from two 10" squares.  Tutorial below!


So here's how you make these blocks.

To start with, choose two 10" squares from your layer cake.  They will become the two colors in your checkerboard block, so be sure you like the contrast between the two.  Draw a line down the center of the lighter colored block.

Now lay the squares directly on top of each other and stitch a 1/4 inch seam from the right and left sides of the squares.  Then stitch 1/4 inch to either side of the line you drew in the center.

Now you will cut the sewn piece on the line you drew (between the two lines of stitching) and then 2.5" from the edge of each of the two pieces.  You will now have four pieces, measuring 2.5" x 10", and seamed down one side.

Press the seams toward the darker fabric.

Take two of those strips and draw a line down the center, five inches from the edge.

Now take one of those strips and one of the unmarked strips and lay them right sides together, with the colors alternating.

Match up the seams carefully so that when you seam across the middle, you'll have a nice neat intersection.

Pin with three pins - right, left and center.

Stitch 1/4" from the right side, the left side, and on each side of the center line.

Now you will cut the sewn piece on the line you drew (between the two lines of stitching) and then 2.5" from the edge of each of the two pieces.  You will now have four pieces, measuring 2.5" x 5", and seamed down one side, for each of the two strip sets you sewed together.  Eight total, which will give you two identical finished blocks.

Press the seams.  I use this technique (see tip #3).  Not only does it give you a cool pinwheel effect in the center, but it makes those intersections much easier to quilt.  You will notice that my pinwheels go two different directions - if you press this way, you will have four that go clockwise and four that go counterclockwise.    Use four of one type to make each block.

Sew your four matching 4-patch blocks together to make a sixteen-patch block.  Easy peasy!!

A layer cake will give you forty-two blocks, which I laid out in a 6 x 7 grid.  One inch sashing (cut 1.5" wide) and one inch cornerstones (cut 1.5" square) and a two inch outer border (cut 2.5" wide) yielded a 59" x 68" quilt.

I also think these blocks would look great set on point.  Give it a try!  And if you do, be sure to link it up at some point so we can all see it....


And that's this week's offering!  Only one more week to go, and we'll have eight great ways to use 16-patch blocks.  Make one of each and you'll make a huge dent in your scraps stash!!

Next week's quilt is on the sewing table but it's still in small pieces so no teaser.  But I think it's going to be beautiful!  Be sure to check back next Sunday and see if I'm right.

And link up below to show off your progress - we'd love to be inspired by what you've done!!




  1. Wow! That's a fantastic method. Thanks for sharing.

  2. that is an interesting technique you have going there!

  3. Interesting method. Your quilts sure are pretty!

  4. I always love learning new techniques. Thanks!

  5. Clever idea! and lovely quilt :-)

  6. That's a cool trick!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Holy moly!!!! Quick - pass me a layer cake! I need to try this. :D

  8. Thank you Sarah ! Lead me to the nearest layer cake :)

  9. Thanks for the tutorial, Sarah! It's interesting how there are so many great techniques.

  10. I love this one and will definitely use this technique sometime. What a time saver.

  11. This is an absolutely genius technique.

  12. Great process. Thanks for sharing. I have a layer cake in mind. Now to find the time.

  13. Sixteen patch block from a layer cake? Who knew? Thank you for sharing this technique. Can't wait to try it!


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