Home School Quilting
Sewing seeds of creativity!
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Quilting Notes
Block Design
People think quilters are crazy cutting good fabric into small
pieces, just to sew them back together again. But that is how we
get our intricate designs. As beginners we follow patterns
written by other quilters. The instructions give us fabric
requirements, sewing sequence and layout. Have you ever
wondered how those patterns get their beginnings?

Designers create their patterns either on graph paper or in
specialized computer programs. Another use for drafting blocks
is the ability to enlarge the block or make it smaller than the
pattern calls for. This enables you to recreate that antique quilt
into a wall hanging or queen size bed quilt. Whatever you want
to do with that block you can do by just drafting it out to a new

To draft a block you will need a pencil, ruler and graph paper.
Any graph paper will work but 11 x 17 works well because you
can draft a block 10" x 10". Any bigger you can tape sheets of
graph paper together. You will be drawing the block it's actual
size or finished size. From this drawing you will determine
measurements for rotary cutting or create templates for hand
piecing. You can use plain paper and draw out the block, but be
very accurate.

To draft a block you need to
• Determine the grid and finished size of your block. The grid is
simply dividing the block into equal sections. An example: 8”
square broken down into four 4” squares. The secret is to divide
so that you get an even number. You don't want to work with
odd sizes that would be difficult to cut.
• Draw it out. You have drawn an 8 inch four patch.

  • The 4 inch squares can be broken down again into equal 2
inch squares creating a four patch in each section.


      or add diagonal lines and create the block “Broken Dishes”.


To determine rotary cutting size add ¼” seam allowance to each
side. The 2” finished squares start out as 2 ½” squares. For
hand piecing cut templates the finished size.

The next time you see a quilt you like find an individual block
that makes up the pattern and determine the grid. Then draw it
out on graph paper any size you want. The more sections to the
grid the more intricate the pattern. A very good resource is
DRAFTING for the CREATIVE QUILTER by Sally Collins.

If you have any questions e-mail me at:
Block examples are from EQ7.