April 14, 2018

Square-in-a-square tutorial: done by folding, no cutting of pieces!

Square-in-square tutorial: made with folds, no cutting

Many thanks to Judy Chaffee, who taught this method to a group of us at a recent quilting retreat. She learned it at a Modern Quilt Guild meeting in Kansas City, where the group used it to make some charity quilts. Both Judy and I looked for a pre-existing tutorial using google searches, but couldn't find one, so I've written up how to make the block. This method produces very quickly.

These directions use two squares of fabric, 5" and 10". These are convenient if you like pre-cuts (charm packs and layer cakes), but the method works for any size, smaller or larger. The small square does not have to be half the size of the larger square—vary according to the look you are after. Making the basic version, the unfinished block will be 1" smaller than the largest square, 1-1/2" when finished.

Basic version (with photos illlustrating steps below):
1.    Put a 5" square right-side up on a 10" square, also right-side up.
2.    Line up a straight-edge (cardstock, folded piece of paper, ruler) with the top of the 5" square and fold the background fabric over the edge. Iron in place. Remove the straight-edge. (If using a ruler as the straightedge, remove the ruler before ironing, being careful to keep fold in place.)
3.    Repeat the folding/pressing on the bottom of the 5" square.
4.    Sew a 1/4" seam, sewing the two folds down (top and bottom).
5.    Iron seams open.
6.    Repeat fold-press-sew on other two sides.
7.    Done!
Step 1: Place small square on large square, both right side up.

Step 2: Place "straight-edge" over small square, lined up with its top edge.  Fold over background fabric and press. The dark 5" square is not visible, underneath the pink paper.
Step 2, another view: Folded flap lifted up, so you can see the crease.

Step 3: Both top and bottom folded down; you can see the 5" square peeking from underneath.

Step 4: Sew 1/4" seams. 

Step 5: Iron seams open.
[Ignore the fact that the central fabric is different from what's shown in the first photo. I forgot to take a photo of step 1, so had to substitute something later for the first photo.]

Step 6: Fold and press repeated on the other two sides.

Step 6: Sew seams on final 2 sides.

Step 7: Finished square-in-square.

View of the back; note that the block has two layers of fabric in the central square, so there is some added thickness.
Alternate versions (see photos below): When doing alternate versions, just be careful to maintain enough of the background fabric for an ample seam allowance (i.e., leave at least 1/2" of background showing)
    Vary the size of the squares and/or vary the proportion of small to large square.
    Place the square somewhere else than in the center--e.g., towards one corner.
    Do the process more than once for multiple frames.
    Place the square on point, or wonky. You'll end up with a square that needs some trimming down.

Smaller central square

Place the small square in a place other than the center.  And do the process twice for a double-framed square. This Thomas Jefferson block was made by Dorothy Roderick. 

On point.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this. How clever it that???? I will make a square or two, maybe a third in point to keep as samples for the future. LOVE IT!!!!!