This week on QUILTsocial I get to play with Northcott’s new ‘Full Bloom‘ fabric line! I was super excited to pick out the fabrics I wanted from the website, but when they arrived at my house they were even MORE beautiful than they looked online!!
When I first saw the fabrics online, my preliminary plan was to use the black tone-on-tone fabric as a background for fusible applique using the bright reds, greens, oranges and yellows. But once I saw the size of the flower squares on the panel, I decided to use them as the center of pieced quilt blocks.
If you want to make your own Full Bloom quilt with me this week, hop onto the Northcott website and use the Product Finder on the Full Bloom page to find a shop near you that carries all of the fabrics.
- one panel 21778-99
- ½yd [50cm] 21779-24 (stripe)
- fat quarter 21780-24 (red tone on tone)
- fat quarter 21780-52 (yellow tone on tone)
- fat quarter 21780-72 (green tone on tone)
- ¼yd [20cm] 21808-10 (white polka dot)
- fat quarter 9025-23 (pink leaf print)
- fat quarter 9025-53 (yellow leaf print)
- fat quarter 9025-58 (orange leaf print)
- fat quarter 9025-77 (green leaf print)
- 1¼yd [1m] 9025-99 (black leaf print)
- ⅜yd [40cm] binding
- 3¼yd [3m] backing
The problem with panels and pre-printed squares
Fabric is stretchy, and every fabric manufacturer, despite their best intentions may have images that are printed not-quite square. So in order to use these lovely fabrics to make quilts, we sometimes have to get ‘creative’. Here are my 2 essential tips for using preprinted fabric squares in pieced quilt blocks:
TIP 1 trimming is key
As you can see the flower squares in my Full Bloom fabric panel measure 5½” x 5¼”. If I were to put plain borders around each square, I could trim to this size. If you want to make a more complicated pieced block, you’ll want to trim these so that they’re the same height and width. Unless, of course, you REALLY like a challenge!!
Keep in mind when trimming, that you’re going to have a ¼” seam allowance on each side and you can trim so that the white fabric is showing on any of the sides, as long as it is less than ¼” wide. Here’s the square of Full Bloom fabric trimmed to 5½” square. As you can see I left a small amount of white on each side, but this will be hidden in the seam allowance.
TIP 2 add borders to the panel or printed square as needed
We do a lot of designing with Northcott panels and we’ve learned this tip the hard way! Sometimes a panel will be up to ½” narrower or wider than we think it’s going to be when we design a quilt.
If the borders that go around the quilt are pieced, then the panel needs to be EXACTLY the right size to fit!! The solution to this problem is to incorporate an inner border that can be trimmed or widened to make the panel section the right size to fit the borders.
In my original plan, I was going to make pieced borders for each of the fabric squares. Each of the flower squares would have two 2½” squares of the bright fabrics on each side and another square in the corners. BUT, due to a cutting error (yes, I was cutting too late at night and THOUGHT that I had it all figured out but obviously didn’t) the two 2½” squares sewn together are too short to fit onto the side of the fabric square. Three sewn together is too long. AND I’ve already cut all of my fabrics into 2½” strips, so I’ve got to come up with a solution.
Here’s where the inner border solution comes into play. I added 1″ strips of fabric first to the sides of my squares:
And then added 1″ strips of the black fabric to the top and bottom. By using a fabric with the same color are the background in the square, you hardly notice it’s there!
Now my border with three of the 2½” squares sewn together fits perfectly!!
Putting the plan into action
Now that I’ve figured out how to get everything to fit, I need to cut all of my Northcott Full Bloom fabrics. Tomorrow I’ll show you what needs to be cut, I’ll also talk about how to get everything organized to make projects more portable, as there are times you’ll want to take your project along to work or at a retreat or a sewing day away.