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
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:
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.
Now cut on the marked line, creating two Half-Square Triangle units as you can see be the picture below.
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.
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.
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.
Cut on the marked line, creating two Hourglass units as shown in the picture below.
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.
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.
Half-Square Triangle Units:
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.
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.
Putting It All Together:
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.
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.
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!
Sew another Step 11 unit to the left side of the Step 13 unit you just completed as shown in the picture below.
And press the seam allowance away from the Light/Ivory 2.5" square as you can see in the picture below.
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.
And finish up sewing the rest of the partial seam that you did in Step 12. All done except for the pressing!
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.
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.
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.
Lay out one triangle of each of the four fabrics as shown below.
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.
Press the seam allowances away from the Light/Ivory fabric and the Medium 1/Orange fabric as shown in the picture below.
Now you can sew the two units together. The seams should nest together nicely so the points match in the center.
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
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.
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! If you like it and want to see more, just click HERE to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free PDF quilt pattern called "Chained Weathervane".
P.S. In case you missed it, check out my roundup post of easy quilt blocks at https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/30-easy-quilt-block-tutorials-for-the-beginning-quilter
P.P.S. Check out my patterns I have for sale on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/fabric406