Easy 1/2 Block Quilt for Beginners

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Introduction: Easy 1/2 Block Quilt for Beginners

I'm been quilting for 4-years. The first mistake I ever made was trying to create quilts with complicated designs before I mastered the basics. I'm hoping to accomplish two things with this instructable:

1. Encourage people to try quilting. When you quilt you become apart of a vibrant community. It's a very rewarding hobby!

2. Show how versatile and easy this quilting pattern is. I'd love it if everyone's first quilt was something they're proud of.

The pattern I'm using is my favourite quilt block. You can have multiple looks, it all depends on how you situate the blocks in a design. Best of all, in my opinion, it is the best beginners quilt.

Step 1: Things You Will Need

  • 60 - 5 1/2” dark squares (14cm)
  • 60 x 5 1/2 light squares (14cm)
  • 1 1/2 m of polar fleece
  • Rotary cutter
  • Rulers
  • Thread
  • Seam ripper (everyone makes mistakes, it’s good to be prepared for when that happens)
  • Straight pins & Safety pins
  • Iron (the secret key to a beautiful quilt)
  • Sewing machine
  • Pilot’s Frixion ball pen

Step 2: Cut Blocks

Picking the colours for your quilt is personal. I like very contrasting colours as it really makes the design pop. If you aren't familiar with colour theory, try using a tool like Paletton's colour scheme picker .

  1. Cut 60 - 5 1/2” squares from 1.5 m of dark fabric
  2. Cut 60 - 5 1/2” squares from 1.5 m of light fabric

I find the easiest way is to cut the blocks is to cut a strip of material 5 1/2 “ thick and as long a the material. Then cut the squares off the strip.

Step 3: Half Block

Now cut all the squares in half on the diagonal. With the rotary cutter and ruler making sure to cut through the corners.

Step 4: Pin Together

Pin together 1/2 light & 1/2 dark with good side together along the diagonal.

You should now have 120 pinned squares.

Step 5: Time to Sew

Set up the triangle with a 1/4” seam allowance. ( The area between the edge and stitching)

Most sewing machine have a place that designates the 1/4”.

Continue sewing one triangle after the next until all 120 are complete.

Step 6: Iron

Now iron to the darker fabric.

Step 7: Laying Out the Pattern

This is why this is my favourite block. There are so many layouts for this 1/2 block pattern, here are a very few examples.

Step 8: Layout Final

This is the layout I have chosen for my quilt throw. As it is a very repetitive pattern it is best to lay out on a surface to make sure you have all the the squares pointing in your desired pattern

Step 9: Sewing the Blocks Together

I like to start with sewing the same coloured sides together and then putting them back in the layout pattern. It keeps the pattern and you don’t have to keep changing out the thread out on the sewing machine.

Also when you sew the blocks together you will see that the block looks like it doesn’t line up properly. This is correct it is for the 1/4” seam when the completed strips are sewn together.

Step 10: Sew Strips

Now that the blocks are sewn together in strips. Iron the seams for prep of sewing the strips together.

Sewing the strips together. When pinning the strips align the seams and the points. If you look closely at the picture below you see a little blue mark on the seam. That is where the points meet. I use the Frixion pen to mark the point and use the mark as a target to keep the points sharp. The mark will disappear when you iron

Keep pressing as you go.

Step 11: Top Done

Once all the strips are together give it a good pressing before adding the backing.

I have chosen white polar fleece as I will not get bleed through colour on the white sections of my block and also the quilt will be light and warm.

Pin the top layer to the bottom layer with safety pins.

Step 12: Sewing Top to Bottom

Choose the colour of thread that you want to sew the top to the bottom. I had a hard time between orange and grey as both would highlight different aspects of the quilt.

I finally decided on orange thread for the top and white for the polar fleece side.

Start sewing using your straight seam as your line for 1/4 “. I like to start in the middle which stabilizes the material. Then work out.

Sew down both sides of the columns and then both sides of the rows.

Step 13: Trim

Trim extra fabric off the ends.

Step 14: Boarder

Think of the boarder as a frame. I have chosen a black and grey material to complete the quilt. Cut 2 1/2” strips of fabric. Enough to go around the edge of the quilt.

Sew together to make one long strip. Put the strips at a 90 degree angle and sew from corner to corner. See the pink line. Trim the excess and press the seam open.

Step 15: Press Boarder

Fold the strip in half and press. I like to wrap the binding around a ruler so that it is easy to handle.

Step 16: Start Binding

Time to start sewing the binding to the quilt. Start by making a pocket . This will give you a place to tuck in the end of the binding once you go all the way around.

Step 17: Corners

Sew till you reach 1/4” from the end. The sew off at a 45 degree angle off the quilt. Fold the corner as in picture. This will give you enough material to wrap around the quilt to finish the binding.

Step 18: Finishing Binding Top

Sew the binding with a 1/4” seam. Once you get all the way around tuck the end into the pocket that you made and finish sewing.

Step 19: Flip Binding

Flip the binding around the quilt and start pinning. making sure the binding is covering the seam that you just sewed.

Fold the corners to give a miter joint look .

Step 20: Stitch in the Ditch

Set up the needle to be in the ditch. This is where the binding meets the quilt top. Take your time as this will hide the thread. Go around the whole quilt.

Step 21: You Are Done!

Congratulations you are done. Let me know how your quilt turned out in the comments below.

If you have any suggestions on how I could have improved this Instructable, let me know. This was my first.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

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    3 Tips

    I used a 10" square of white & colored fabric. Placed a colored & white with right sides facing and sewed around the edge of each square. Then cut each square diagonally into 4 triangles. When I ironed the triangles open, each was colored was already attached to a white without any ears to cut off.

    To make a pocket, unfold the end you plan to start sewing on and press under 1/2" on the diagonal edge.
    Refold the end back in half and repress the fold. Begin sewing on the binding about 2" past the pocket.

    2 Questions

    How many yards of binding should I buy? I believe you said to cut strips into 2.5"

    about 1/3 of a yard but I loved this black on black I bought more for other projects

    What is 1.5m in inches?

    29 Comments

    I really liked that you posted multiple pictures of the ways you could use this simple pattern. And your opening picture is so crisp and clean!

    Almost done. So far I've been working on it 1.5 days. Tomorrow I should have it finished.

    IMG_20180303_151742477.jpgIMG_20180303_151708336.jpg

    Binding was a green & back was a lighter green

    I have always loved quilts, but never tried to make one because they looked to complicated. Your instructions make it look possible, am so going to try this. Thank you.

    Do try. It is a relaxing and creative way to express yourself.

    Excellent tutorial! I only added a couple of tips because I taught Apparel for over 30 years. For beginners, it doesn't hurt to spell everything out.

    Due appreciate you adding the tip. That’s why this community is so helpful, every little bit helps

    First Instructable? Awesome! Great wording and great photos. My only criticism is that the Frixion Pen product may work for you, but for others, they leave ghost marks.

    https://quiltskipper.com/2015/08/frixion-pens-all-you-need-to-know/

    From the article: "I called the Pilot pen company and asked for a representative knowledgeable about Frixion pens and their use on fabric. She was quick to note that Frixion pens were not designed to be used on fabric!"

    I have heard this over and over again from quilters. From "It works fine for me" to "I will never use them again." Your choice, but fair warning.