Thursday, March 8, 2012

Roman Stripe: A Block Tutorial

Leftovers! I'm always finding myself with leftover strips from various projects. Pairing these strips with a favorite solid makes this block a scrap buster.
What you'll need~
• An 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" sheet of paper~one per block
• A solid background fabric*
• Strips of fabric at least 14" long and between 1 1/2" and 2" wide.
Start with an 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" square of paper. From the diagonal draw a pencil line 1/4" to the left or right.
From the gray background solid, cut a 10" x 10" square. Cut along it's diagonal to make 2 triangles. You'll use one triangle per block.
Set machine stitch length to 1.5~a shorter stitch length will allow the paper to perforate away from the fabric more readily. With right sides together, align a solid triangle and one strip length. Set these atop the paper with the aligned edges touching the drawn line. You'll notice both the triangle and strip length extend beyond the paper along all edges~this is a good thing! Stitch a 1/4" seam through all 3 layers.
Press. Be sure not to pull or stretch the gray triangle.
Add your next strip, aligning the raw edges. Press and repeat until your paper foundation is completely covered. Press well.
This is what your block will look like after all strips have been added, but prior to trimming. Give it a good pressing and flip it over. . .
From the back of the block you'll notice all the fabrics extend beyond the perimeter of the paper foundation. Align your ruler with the edge of the paper and trim. Rotate your block and trim until all four sides are sized up.
Time to remove the paper! Begin at the corner with the smallest paper section, fold back on the seam to further perforate the paper. Tear away gently. Repeat until all paper is removed. Press. Remember not to pull on the larger triangle as it will distort its shape and size.
Voila! A finished Roman Stripe block. Quick, easy and a real scrap buster!

*Two yards of a solid background fabric cut to the above measurement (and a good size stash of scrap strips) will yield 56 Roman Shade blocks. One possible quilt layout setting would be 8 rows of 7 blocks each; with a finished size of 56" x 64". Happy sewing!