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2 favorite tips for sewing with directional fabric


Yesterday on QUILTsocial I shared with you tips on how to overcome the fear of cutting up a fabric panel. Tomorrow I’ll cut up my Artisan Spirit City Scene fabric panel, but first, let me show you my two favorite tips for sewing with directional fabric.

Making the panel into a lap quilt

I’d like to make my panel into a lap quilt to send to my son who’s just left for university for the first time, so I’m going to add some rows of pieced blocks to the top and bottom of the quilt.

I want to sew my pieced rows together first before I trim the panel, so that I can adjust the size of the panel to match the finished size of the rows.

The City Scene fabrics
The City Scene fabrics


I’m using the two different directional fabrics and two of the other fabrics to make square-on-point pieced blocks. The first block will have the lightest fabric as the center and the striped fabric on the corners.

Assembling the block
Assembling the block



Here are the materials for the lap quilt:

  • 1 Artisan Spirit City Scene panel
  • ⅝yd [0.5m] City Scene fabric #21874-64 (second from the right in the first photo)
  • ⅜yd [0.3m] City Scene fabric #21876-64 (stripe – fourth from the right in the photo)
  • ¼yd [0.2m] City Scene fabric #21877-63 (third from the right in the photo)
  • ½yd [0.45m] City Scene fabric #21879-63 (second from the left in the photo)
  • 1yd [1m] Colorworks fabric #9000-93 (dark gray)
  • 3yd [3m] backing

TIP 1 – pay attention to the direction in which you cut the fabric

To make the pieced blocks, cut one 6½” strip across the width of both fabric #21877-63 and fabric #21879-63 and then cut each strip into five 6½” squares.

Cut two 5″ strips across the width of both fabric #21876-64 and fabric #21874-64 and then cut ten 5″ squares of each fabric.

From each fabric cut FIVE of these squares diagonally one way and FIVE diagonally the other way. This will make it possible to sew the block with the lines in the fabric pointing in the same direction.

Cutting the squares of Artisan Spirit City Scene fabrics by Northcott on the diagonal.
Cutting on the diagonal


Sew one fabric #21876-64 triangle to one side of a fabric #21879-63 square lining it up so that an equal amount of the triangle is hanging over on either side of the square.

Lining up the triangle
Lining up the triangle


If you’re using a ¼” foot with a guide to sew  your blocks together, you’ll need to trim off the dog ears after pressing.

Trim off the dog ears
Trim off the dog ears


Tip 2 – preview alignment before sewing

Sew a second triangle to the opposite side of the square, but first PREVIEW the alignment of the fabric before you sew. As you can see, this triangle has the fabric lines running in the correct direction.

Previewing the triangle before sewing
Previewing the triangle before sewing


Press the seams towards the two triangles and then sew triangles to the remaining two sides of the square. Repeat these steps to make a total of five Block 1 that look like the following:

The finished block
The finished block


Follow these same steps using fabric #21877-63 and fabric #21879-63 to make a total of five Block 2. Sew three of Block 1 and two of Block 2 together to make one row (alternating the blocks) and sew the remaining blocks together to make a second row.

The finished blocks sewn into rows
The finished blocks sewn into rows


Now that my rows are sewn together and pressed, I’m ready to work on my panel. Join me tomorrow to see how everything is sewn together into a lap quilt.


This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: Overcoming the fear of cutting quilt panels

Go to part 5: 1 essential tip for sewing together oddly shaped fabric pieces

I have been designing and publishing quilt patterns for the last 16 years under the business name Fairfield Road Designs. My patterns range from fusible applique and piecing to felted wool applique and punchneedle. You can see all of patterns on my website

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