Hi there! In December, I needed to make a scrappy rainbow block for a bee and we could come up with anything on our own. I had an idea for a scrappy x block and saw something I liked in the book Block Party by Alissa Haight Carlton.
The version I came up with is easy peasy and requires no special piecing skills. The points line up virtually by themselves and this would be a perfect block for a bee. Plus the only fabric you need besides the background fabric is your scraps! It doesn’t get much better than that! Here’s how to make your own. The final unfinished size is 16 1/2” x 16 1/2”.
***I starch my fabrics before I cut them. Before cutting, I lightly spray the fabric with starch and then dry press them (no steam). I have learned over time that if I starch the fabric after cutting or sewing a seam, the fabric might spread out and become slightly bigger than the size I cut, or I get wrinkles.
- rainbow colored scraps (no white background fabrics, browns, grays, or pastels)
- four 8 1/2” Kona white squares (you could cut these from a 1/4 yard of fabric)
From your white solid fabric, cut four 8 1/2” squares. Then cut these on the diagonal so you end up with eight triangles.
Cut your scraps into rectangles that are at 2 1/4” wide. Most of my rectangles were between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2” long. Vary the lengths so your x looks scrappy.
Sort your scraps into 4 columns about 14” tall. Sew your rectangles together to make a strip that measures 2 1/4” by about 12 to 13”. Press the seams open.
These strips need to measure at least 12” long. Now, trim each strip to measure 2 inches wide. My thinking here is that you could start with 2” wide rectangles, but sometimes the strips can get a little off when you join the rectangles, so you have 1/4” to play with to make your strips straight and exactly the same width. Trimming them down perfect will help your points line up, too.
I like to lay out my strips to see what the x is going to look like and make sure the fabrics in the center aren’t too similar. You can just flip a strip if two of the same color meet up in the middle.
My layout changed when I sewed mine together. I made this layout at night and then switched it around the next morning when I sat down to sew it.
Pin a strip to the white triangle. Try not to pull on the fabric as you sew it because the edge of the triangle is stretchy and can become distorted if you pull on it. Since I starch my fabric I don’t seem to have as much problem with the fabric stretching.
Now, this part is important for getting the points to line up. Press two quadrants with the seam allowance toward the strip. Press two quadrants with the seam allowance toward the white. I did mine in groups of two so I remembered to press the correct way.
Here is a photograph of what the back of the block looks like.
Trim each block 8 1/2” square. My ruler has a straight line on the diagonal that I just line up down the center of the strip.
The seams will nest up really nicely when you sew two blocks together. Just press your center seams in opposite directions and those will nest together too. Press your final seam either up or down and your block should have perfect points and be flat.
Your block should end up 16 1/2” x 16 1/2”. If you’d like to use this tutorial for a bee, feel free to link to it, but please do not copy this tutorial to your blog. I’d love to see this block in a controlled color scheme, too.
I’m using this tutorial for Beejeebers this month and can’t wait to put together the blocks to make my very own rainbow scrappy x quilt!