Log Cabin Quilts
Sewing the Blocks from Strips
page 3 of article
part 1 - part 2 - part 4 - part 5
This part three of log cabin
How to sew a 12" log cabin block from strips in both the traditional log cabin arrangement and the courthouse steps arrangement. Log Cabin quilt top layouts are shown on following pages to show some of the many possibilities.
1. At this point you should have read through all parts of this article and have decided on fabrics for your log cabin blocks. Part Two told you what size and how many strips you will need for your blocks.
Your colors will vary - but you should have something similar to the arrangement in this illustration: some center 3.5" squares (mine are red here) and strips in two contrasting fabrics for the blocks.
2. First sew just one block as follows (also go to the bottom of this page when you have read through all of the steps to see two animated blocks "sew themselves" to demonstrate the order of strip sewing. SEW with scant (just barely) ONE QUARTER inch seams. Leave a little excess fabric above and under your center, you can trim it later. Press your seam open after sewing.
3. Now take a second strip of the same fabric group (we are calling this "A" fabric) and sew a second strip as shown below. Line the new strip up with the top of the center block, the little bit of excess from your first strip doesn't matter. (You can see it peeking over the top of the gray reverse fabric strip in the center of the image below.) Press this 2nd strip open. You are now halfway around your first round.
4. Now pick up a strip of Fabric "B" (here in yellows) and sew it as shown (I didn't show the reverse gray this time). Press and add a 4th strip of "B" and you will have finished one round of your block and it should look like the block below. Then you return to Fabric "A" strips and add the first strip of the 2nd round as shown in the 3rd diagram below. I indicate etc. etc. to show you continue this way.
Your Log Cabin block will go together this way:
(note in this animated block Fabric A is all yellow family and Fabric B is all in blues.)
5. When you have finished your 3rd round as shown in the animated diagram above (or see below for the Courthouse Steps sewing order) do a final pressing. Your finished block should be 12.5 inches square. I like to use a large square 12.5" rotary cutting ruler to trim my blocks. If you find your blocks are a little smaller, don't worry, as long as you trim them all the same you can assemble them. If your blocks are all 12.25 inches no one will notice!
6. You may continue to make blocks one-at-a-time if you wish. But, I'd recommend doing a variation on chain piecing to make the work more efficient and fun. Place the first strip to be attached to the center right side UP at your sewing machine. As you sew lay the center squares face down (as shown by the gray squares) and sew them to the strip. After you have sewn a sequence you can cut them apart (the green line) and press them, ready for the 2nd strip of the round to be added.
7. The after choosing a 2nd strip for the next addition you can continue and sew this to the section you just finished as shown below.
8. And then add your Fabric B to the sections you completed in #6 above. When you get to the second or third round of strips you won't be able to lay as many along a strip since they will have grown bigger, but starting out this way saves a lot of time and it's fun to chain piece.
Courthouse Steps Strip Sewing Order
If you are making the courthouse steps layout you'll sew each side in pairs as shown below instead of around and around the center.
The Other Parts to this Log Cabin Article:
- the introduction
Page two - how much fabric and cutting the strips
This is Page three - sewing the blocks in two styles
Page four - log cabin style blocks: sample quilt layouts
Page five: courthouse steps style blocks: sample quilt layouts
All graphics of blocks and quilts were prepared with Electric Quilt Program by the author.
© 2003-2006 copyright Susan C. Druding
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