For this block I used my Marti Mitchell templates and followed her conversion chart. If you are rotary cutting or paper piecing 'Alice' please be aware there is a correction for this block - you can download the corrected pattern here.
The fabrics I used are some of my favourite florals from my stash. The pink is an old Lecien Old New 30s print but you may be able to find it on Etsy or ebay. The green floral is another old favourite from Cottonholic on Etsy. And the red floral is a Sevenberry print from Ministry of Fabric.
Before cutting, I always starch my fabric using spray starch - I spray it onto the fabric generously but without soaking, then press it with a dry iron until the starch sets. I make sure the iron is not too hot or it scorches the starch, leaving brown marks. The starch lends stiffness to the fabric which makes cutting easier and more precise, and the finished block looks a lot sharper than it would have been without starch. You can also use products such as Best Press and Flatter to get similar results. Starching is especially important when you are working with teeny tiny pieces such as in this block!!
Following the Marti Mitchell conversion chart you will see that there are three different size 'units' in this block, corresponding to the same size Marti Mitchell template: A-3 square units, A-6 small triangle units (corners), and A-4 large triangle units (sides). Cut your fabric following the instructions in the conversion chart. You will also need to print out the corrected pattern for this block and cut out the templates for 3I, 3J and 3K, then use those to cut your A-4 pieces.
In explaining the steps I will refer to my pieces using the colours in my block i.e. pink, red, and green. Replace these with your own colours when you are following the steps below. Use a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance, RST means right sides together.
Step 2. Join the long pink and red rectangles and cut into three 1 1/4" wide pieces (you will have a little excess fabric left over). Combine with the two red and one pink squares as shown to make the centre nine patch unit. Check it's the same size as the A-3 template, trim if necessary.
Step 3. To make the A-6 size corner units, Place the pieces you cut as shown. You need four corner triangles, and you can either make them all identically (as I have), or if you want to be super precise make two as shown below, and make the other two mirror image by moving the positioning of the red square and long pink rectangle when you are piecing the units. Sew the red square onto the small rectangle, then sew the long pink rectangle to one side. Trim to size using the A-6 template. Make 4.
Step 5. Lay out all your units. To assemble the block we will sew the units together first in diagonal rows, as shown, and then sew each row together.
MY TIPS ON PRECISION
- Starch your fabric before you cut (I use spray starch and a dry iron (ie no steam) on medium-high heat).
- Make sure your rotary blade is sharp so it doesn't chew and stretch your fabric as you cut.
- Pin blocks together before sewing. The pieces we are working with are very small so it's easy to be tempted to skip this step - don't.
- Press seams that will intersect in opposite directions so you can 'butt the seams' when you are sewing the two pieces together. I pin the butting seams together using a single pin placed at a slight angle - push the pin down through one seam, and back up again through the other seam.
- Check sizes of pieced blocks before continuing on to the next step.
- If you do a lot of patchwork, invest in a 1/4 inch foot, which makes it so much easier to get that precise quarter inch seam.
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