Sue Shattuck ( @grabacupandsew on Instagram) created a wall hanging for this month’s project in our Block Of the Month program. Below is her story and tutorial 🙂
My journey with the Brimfield Block began with a wall hanging that I made for my RV last year – my husband and I travel 4-6 months a year, and I have a sewing machine I use when I travel. This month, I decided to celebrate International Tatting Day – mostly because my wonderful mother was an excellent tatter. If you don’t know what tatting is, it’s a form of crochet using knots to make lace or other trim/decorative items. I wanted to combine International Tatting Day and Mother’s Day by making a wall hanging for my beloved daughter-in-law Michelle. Michelle loves rustic farmhouse decor, the color blue and owls. So, combining all these things, I was able to come up with a perfect idea for a Brimfield Block wall hanging! I selected fabrics from the “Blue Moon” Collection by Dear Stella Designs.
*Please read in entirety prior to starting your work, or “grab a cup” and read!
1. Gather Supplies
- Rotary cutter (small and large)
- Self-healing cutting mat
- A good acrylic ruler
- Brimfield Paper pieces for one block
- 1 Fat Quarter of background fabric, cut to 18.5 inches by 17.5 inches
- 1 Fat Quarter backing fabric cut to 18.5 inches by 17.5 inches
- Assorted fabrics for the Brimfield Block (Make sure one is a Fat quarter to use for hanging tab and trim. In addition to “fussy cut” pieces, cut three strips 3 inches by 17.5 inches.)
- 3/8 inch wooden dowel, cut to 22 inches length
- English Paper Piecing glue
- Hanging cord – I used hemp
- Optional: tatted owls
- Fringe: I used a tatted white lace trim
- Thread in coordinating color
- Lightweight fusible interfacing (I use Pellon® featherweight)
- Iron, ironing board/pad, spray bottle of water, non-stick ironing sheet
- Embroidery needle
2. Press, then prepare to cut out your fabric. I begin with my fussy cuts. I do not intend to provide a fussy cut tutorial here, but I can give you helpful hints. I used Dear Stella Fabric in a teal blue from the Blue Moon collection.
Lay out your first fabric for fussy cutting. Put your template over the fabric to audition your selected fussy cuts. If you don’t have the acrylic Brimfield pieces (see left), you can make your own by laying your paper pieces on card stock, adding the desired seam allowance (I normally use 1/4”, but if you’re new to fussy cutting, I advise adding 3/8”). After you’ve added the desired seam allowance, cut out the inside to the size of the block so you have a “window” to preview your fussy cut (see below).
Also, make sure you have enough fabric for at least 2- or 4 cuts to each fabric pattern you choose, so you’ll want to pay attention to pattern repeat. Although I plan to use the EPP on my project, I will use the acrylics to cut my fabric, thus adding 3/8’ to each piece as suggested for you. You can see what remained of my fabric when I was finished cutting in the picture below.
3. Now you are ready to use your EPP’s! Double check before you begin so you ensure you have the correct number. I always take a photo at this point to help me remember my design (pic right). You should have a total of 16 House pieces & 4 Orange Peel – 20 in all.
4. Take your interfacing, and put fusible side on wrong side of background fabric, and press into place. Then center your Brimfield Block on the background fabric – if you are using directional fabric such as I did, make sure it is oriented correctly. Also – since the background piece is not perfectly square, make sure you center your block carefully using the 17.5 inch width and 18.5 inch length of fabric. Carefully pin into place, and sew onto fabric using a hand-sewn blind stitch for appliqué. (left).
5. Take one of your 3 inch strips, and fold the short ends over wrong sides together 1/4 inch; press. Repeat another 1/4 inch and press; topstitch along each short edge. With wrong sides together, match raw edges of the long end of fabric strip to the top of your block piece, and carefully pin. Make sure you have 1/4 inch gap at each corner, as shown below right. Note how I pinned the tab out of the way so it won’t get caught in the seam.
7. With right sides of rectangles together, pin along top (you’ll need to remove your strip pins and re-pin while keeping strip in position), pin along top and sides, leaving bottom seam open. Sew a 1/4” seam on all three sides, being very careful not to sew over the edge of the top strip seam edge. Double check that your folded strip IS NOT caught into your seam after sewing. Clip corners, turn right-side out, poke corners and press.
8. Place the block face down. Using your bottom trim (I used a tatted lace), carefully pin onto the bottom back.
9. Take your remaining 3 inch strips, and fold over 1/4 inch on each long edge of fabric. Carefully match the bottom edges wrong sides together, making sure the lace is in between the layers and pin carefully (left). Topstitch close to seam. Do the same for the upper edge of the strip; topstitch into place. Note: sew each topstitch from the FRONT of the wall hanging since the back will not be showing. Remove your pins and check the back to ensure your fabric is sewn properly.
10. Put your dowel through the top tab, and affix decorative tassels – I used tatted owls. Then cut your string (I used hemp) to the right length and tie to dowel. Hang your wall hanging, stand back and admire your work!