Tuesday 27 June 2017

2017 FAL: Quarter 2 End Tutorials #1 - Twister Block

I'm delighted to be here for the end of 2017 FAL Quarter 2 tutorials week to share something fun with you.  At least, I hope you'll think it's fun.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I just love working on simple, effective blocks.  There are definitely seasons for complex patchwork with multiple techniques demanding much skill and attention, and then, there are times when I just want something that comes together swiftly.  Not because I care any less, but often for the joy of seeing progress that feels like progress, if you know what I mean.  Anyway, less babble.  I have one of these kind of blocks to share with you today for my FAL tutorial.  I hope you can see its potential and might even give it a go.

This block has been inspired by a pic I saw months ago online somewhere (probably IG) but there was no block name or details given, just a photo, so I'm sorry I can't give credit.  So I pulled together a little instruction for myself and am sharing it here as a free tutorial for you all.  I've also called the block the Twister block because of a 'twist' in the construction process and because it kind of reminded me of two those little wire twisting tabs you get. (Yes, my mind makes odd connections.) And, if you look at my flimsy above you'll see that in the negative space the shape of the coloured fabrics has been 'twisted' in the opposite direction.

Let me say from the outset that my method of constructing this block will work best with NON-DIRECTIONAL fabric, but I will give you the block cutting measurements for working with directional fabrics further down the post if that's what you prefer to use.  You'll see that my fabrics had me doing both.  Also, further down I've given you the fabric requirements for a lap size (60" square) version of the quilt top.

So, without further ado, here's how to make a Twister block:

Twister Block
12.5" square unfinished

Fabric A (solid background)
Cut 1: 6.5" x 7"
Cut 2: 3.5" x 7"

Fabric B (non-directional print)
Cut 1: 9.5" x7"
Cut 1: 3.5" x 7"
(Both of these can be cut from a single piece measuring 13" x 7")

Use scant 0.25" seam allowances throughout.

1.  First take one of the 3.5" x 7" pieces of your background fabric and stitch it to the larger 9.5" x 7".  Press the seam towards the darker fabric.  You now have a piece measuring 12.5" x 7".

2.  Cut this 12.5" x 7" piece in two as shown above to give you two pieces measuring 12.5" x 3.5" (see below).

3.  Just to mention: handle the pieces carefully where you have made the cut, just to prevent the seams opening where you have no excess of thread keeping them closed.

4.  Now 'twist' one of the pieces upside down on your mat so that your layout looks like the pic above and then sew the pieces together along the centre seam.  This time, I pressed the seam open just because I didn't want my strong red showing through my white background.  Leave the joined piece aside for a few minutes.

5.  Take your three remaining pieces of fabric and lay them out as I have above.  Join the background 6.5" x 7" piece to the 3.5" x 7" print fabric and then stitch the final 3.5" x 7" background piece to the bottom.  Press seams towards the darker fabric.  You now have a piece measuring 12.5" x 7".

6.  As before, cut this 12.5" x 7" piece in two to give you two pieces measuring 12.5" x 3.5".

7.  This time, you need to 'twist' the second piece upside down on your mat and make room between the two pieces for the piece you joined in steps 1 - 4.  Check that the layout is the same as the photo above and then stitch the two side pieces to the centre piece, pressing seams open.

8. And, yes, it really was that easy.  You now have a 12.5" square Twister block!

Now as promised, here are the cutting measurements for using DIRECTIONAL prints in your blocks.

The construction is simple, just join the pieces in columns and then stitch the columns together, taking care to press the fabrics whichever way best prevents darker fabrics showing through paler ones.

Love this fluttery pic of my flimsy - you can see I added a white border to finish.

Lap Quilt Fabric Requirements

Since the potential of this block is in its repeat, you might fancy making a few more and growing your blocks into a lap quilt. So, for those who might be interested, here are the fabric requirements for a 25 block quilt measuring 60" square:

Fabric A - Background solid - 2m
  • Cut 9 strips 7" x WOF,
  • From each 7" strip you will be able to sub-cut enough pieces for 3 of the Twister blocks (i.e. cut 6: 3.5" x 7" and cut 3: 6.5" x 7")

Fabric B - Print fabric - 13 fqs
  • Each block requires 13" x7" of print fabric so you will be able to cut enough fabric for at least 2 blocks from a fat quarter of fabric. (You might get three blocks worth from a generous fq.) 
  • I recommend 13 fat quarters for 25 blocks, cutting 2 blocks worth of pieces from 12 fqs and 1 from the final fq

Binding Fabric - half metre
  • You should be able to make sufficient binding from 6 strips cut 2.5" x FWOF (unless you add a border to the quilt, in which case you'll need to measure for yourself exactly how many strips you'd need)

I hope this tutorial and the extra cutting measurements are clear and helpful and that some of you at least will have fun with them!

This block would be a great one for Bees and charity block drives where you would end up with a lovely variety of prints, and your Bee mates will thank you for an easy month's stitching ;-)


  1. thankyou for this Sarah definately going on my to do list but unfortunately it is rather long at the moment! At first thought it was all squares so good to see we have some rectangles not so much piecing works beautifully

  2. Wonderful pattern and such simple construction for the ending design. Thanks for the tutorial.

  3. Great pattern and so very clever!

  4. This is soooo cool!! Thank you for sharing with us!! You did AWESOME job, and the Tutorial is Grrrrreat! :)

  5. Thank you for the tutorial. I missed this, but someone else did it, and linked you!


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I do try to respond to every comment, but forgive me if occasionally time does not permit.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...