Free Tumbling Ties Quilt Block Pattern

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Today let's look at the Tumbling Ties quilt block that appeared in Quilters Newsletter. This block is made using partial seam construction and finishes at 10" square. I'm including two different ways for making one of the units used in the Tumbling Ties. There's quite a few steps, so let's get started!

Fabric Requirements for a 10" Finished Tumbling Ties Quilt Block:

  • Light/Ivory: 2 - 5.5" squares, 2 - 3" squares, and 1 - 2.5" square
  • Medium 1/Orange: 2 - 5.5" squares, 2 - 3" squares, and 4 - 2.5" squares
  • Medium 2/Gold: 2 - 5.5" squares
  • Dark/Purple: 2 - 5.5" squares

fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Hourglass Units (Method 1):

(Method 2 will be at the end of the tutorial.) You can find my directions for making a basic Hourglass Block at https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-to-sew-a-basic-hourglass-or-quarter-square-triangle-block. But we are going to be making an Hourglass unit that has four fabrics so the steps to do that are as follows:

Step 1:

First you need to match up one Light/Ivory 5.5" square with one Medium 2/Gold 5.5" square, right sides together. Draw a diagonal line from corner on the back of the Light/Ivory square and sew 1/4" on both sides of the diagonal line as shown in the picture below. 

tumbling ties 1

Step 2:

Now cut on the marked line, creating two Half-Square Triangle units as you can see be the picture below.

tumbling ties 2

Step 3:

And open them up as shown below. Press the seam allowances toward the Medium 2/Gold fabric. Repeat Step 1 through 3 for a total of four Half-Square Triangle Units. There's no need to trim or square up the units as we will be doing that in a later step.

tumbling ties 3

Step 4:

Now you are going to repeat Steps 1 through 3 using the Medium 1/Orange 5.5" squares and the Dark/Purple 5.5" squares. Press the seam allowances toward the Dark/Purple fabric.

tumbling ties 4

Step 5:

Match up one Step 3 unit and one Step 4 unit, right sides together with the seams nesting. The Light/Ivory and Dark/Purple fabrics should be on top of one another. Mark a diagonal line perpendicular to the seam in the Half-Square Triangle unit and sew 1/4" on both sides of the diagonal line as shown in the picture below.

tumbling ties 5

Step 6:

Cut on the marked line, creating two Hourglass units as shown in the picture below.

tumbling ties 6

Step 7:

Open up the Hourglass units and you can see that you have two mirror images as shown below. You will only be using one of these units - the one on the left.

tumbling ties 7

Step 8:

Using the Hourglass unit that has the fabric orientation shown below, press the seam allowance (forgot to take a picture of this step). I used the tweak/twirl/furl method for pressing the seam allowance. Now you can trim/square up the unit to a 4.5" square. Repeat Steps 5 though 8 for a total of eight Hourglass units - four of which you will use in the block and four of them can be saved for another project.

tumbling ties 8

Half-Square Triangle Units:

Step 9:

Using the Light/Ivory 3" square and the Medium 1/Orange 3" squares, sew together four Half-Square Triangle units as shown in the picture below. Trim/square up the units to a 2.5" square. You can find my tutorial for making Half-Square Triangle blocks at https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-to-sew-a-basic-half-square-triangle-block.

tumbling ties 9

Two-Patch Unit:

Step 10:

Sew together a Step 9 Half-Square Triangle unit and a Medium 1/Orange 2.5" square and press the seam allowance toward the Medium 1/Orange fabric as shown in the picture below. Repeat for a total of four Two-Patch units.

tumbling ties 10

Putting It All Together:

Step 11:

Match up an Hourglass unit with a Two-Patch unit, sew together, and press the seam allowance toward the Hourglass unit as shown in the picture below. Repeat for a total of four units.

tumbling ties 11

Step 12:

Now we're going to start the partial seam construction to sew the Tumbling Ties block together. It's not hard at all. Sew the Light/Ivory 2.5" square to the Step 11 unit as shown below. Only sew about 1" of the seam. I've marked a dark line where my stitching is so you can see it better. 

Tumbling Ties 12

Step 13:

Press the seam allowance away from the Light/Ivory 2.5" square. I started out pressing toward the Light/Ivory fabric and then realized I was doing it wrong. So "do as I say, not as I do" is appropriate here!

tumbling ties 13

Step 14:

Sew another Step 11 unit to the left side of the Step 13 unit you just completed as shown in the picture below.

tumbling ties 14

Step 15:

And press the seam allowance away from the Light/Ivory 2.5" square as you can see in the picture below.

tumbling ties 15

Step 16:

Continue working your way around the Light/Ivory 2.5" square in a counter-clockwise fashion and pressing away from the Light/Ivory 2.5" square as shown in the pictures below.

tumbling ties 16-1

tumbling ties 16-2

Step 17:

And finish up sewing the rest of the partial seam that you did in Step 12. All done except for the pressing!

tumbling ties 17

Step 18:

Press the remaining seam away from the Light/Ivory 2.5" square as shown in the picture below. Here you can see that I corrected my initial error in pressing.

tumbling ties 18

Method 2 for Making the Hourglass Unit:

Fabric Requirements Changes:

Instead of two 5.5" squares of all four of the fabrics, you only need one 5.5" square of each.

I highly recommend that you spray starch the fabric squares because you will be sewing on a bias edge and the starched fabric won't stretch out of shape.

Step 1:

You will need to cut each of the 5.5" squares diagonally from corner to corner twice for a total of four triangles of each color as shown in the picture below. I was running out of the Medium 1/Orange fabric so you can see I had a bit of selvage on one edge. As it will get trimmed off in the end, it didn't make any difference in the block.

tumbling ties 1

Step 2:

Lay out one triangle of each of the four fabrics as shown below.

tumbling ties 2

Step 3:

Using the picture below for reference, sew the Light/Ivory triangle to the Medium 2/Gold triangle. Then sew the Dark/Purple triangle to the Medium 1/Orange triangle. 

tumbling ties 3

Step 4:

Press the seam allowances away from the Light/Ivory fabric and the Medium 1/Orange fabric as shown in the picture below.

tumbling ties 4

Step 5:

Now you can sew the two units together. The seams should nest together nicely so the points match in the center.

tumbling ties 5

Step 6:

Press the seam allowance. I used the tweak/twirl/furl method so the unit would lay nice and flat. I explain that method in my tutorial for a Four Patch block which you can find at https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-to-sew-a-basic-four-patch-quilt-block

tumbling ties 6

Step 7:

Now you can trim/square up the Hourglass unit to a 4.5" square and use it in place of the Method 1 Hourglass unit above. Repeat for a total of 4 Hourglass units.

Conclusion:

I had fun making the Tumbling Ties quilt block. When you sew four of the blocks together, you will get a little diamond shape where they meet.

I typically use Method 1 to make Hourglass blocks because it is more stable. But Method 1 can be a waste of fabric since you only use one of the two blocks made. Spray starch works really well in the second method.

I think I would like this block even better if the Medium 1/Orange 2.5 squares used in the Two-Patch unit were Light/Ivory instead.

I hope you enjoy making this Tumbling Ties quilt block!

Happy Quilting!

Elaine

 


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4 comments

  • Hi Katherine,
    I would love to see a picture of your finished quilt and everyone else would too! I don’t think you can post a picture in the comments here but you can in the Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Fabric406

    Elaine Huff on
  • Just finished this one up for a sampler quilt I am putting together , I’ll post a finished product when I am done if you like :)

    Katherine Cady on
  • Here’s a link to another block that uses partial seam construction. It may help to see it done in another block: https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/free-pattern-hope-of-hartford-quilt-block

    Elaine Huff on
  • Thanks for sharing this pattern. Do you have a tutorial on how to sew a partial seam?

    Pat on

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