August – Economy Blocks

We’re making 4″ paperpieced economy blocks for our September meeting, and fair warning – they’re addictive!

I started with 3, then did 3 more, and somehow ended up with 9 blocks!

We’re aiming for MODERN i-spy blocks, with fussy cut centres and bright modern prints around them. There are so many great modern designers and fabric lines doing novelty prints that are perfect for fussy cutting, such as Heather Ross, Aneela Hooey, Lizzy House, Cotton & Steel, Tula Pink, Riley Blake, Alexander Henry and more, so please try to keep it modern!

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The economy block is a great introduction to paperpiecing, so don’t be intimidated!

The pattern can be found on the Sewing Lab blog. There are tons of paperpiecing tutorials available on the internet, including some great ones by VMQG member Sonja on her blog Artisania (both video tutorials and photo tutorials!).

When you go to the Sewing Lab blog, scroll down through the instructions for traditionally pieced blocks until you get to the paperpieced blocks. You can download the pattern there, and print as many blocks as you want!

Remember, we’re making the 4″ blocks! The file prints two patterns per page,  in a landscape formation. Make sure your printer doesn’t try to print it portrait! Please leave the paper on after you trim your block to size, it’ll help stabilize the blocks until the winner sews them together.


I’m not going to give you instructions on paperpiecing, because as I said, there are lots available online, but I do have a couple of tips for you.

1. If you pre-cut your fabric, it makes paperpiecing go so smoothly. For this block, you’ll need one 2.5″ square for the centre, two 2.75″ squares and two 3.5″ squares. Cut the four larger squares in half diagonally and you’re ready to go!

2. Using a glue stick is a great way to baste! Uhu and Elmers both work great.2015-09-04 06.16.33

Dab a bit of glue on the paper, then press the fabric down with your iron, and it’ll hold the fabric securely, but still be easy to remove when the time comes to take the paper off. I like to glue baste my centre block into position, and then glue baste the outer triangles in place before you trim the block.

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3. The pattern has sewing lines printed on it, but you might find it convenient to draw placement lines in the centre square to help you perfectly centre your fussy cut fabric. Hold your fabric up to a light and position the print inside the box. If you’re glue basting, put a dab of glue on the paper before you hold it up, and press it in place once it’s in the right spot.

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4. When we do traditional piecing, we try to press to the darker fabric, but with paper piecing, you can’t do that. What you CAN do though, is “cheat” the lighter fabric seam allowance over the darker fabric, so that it doesn’t show through.

See the difference?

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Are you ready?! Start making economy blocks! Every block you bring to the September meeting is an entry to win ALL the blocks! (or half the blocks,depending on how many we get!)


– amy


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