December 1, 2011

3D Pinwheel Blocks Tutorial

I had a lightbulb moment a few days ago when I opened up the fat quarter bundle of Indian Summer fabrics I bought for the twin baby quilts. Initially, I wanted to use a charm pack, but I couldn't get the number of each pattern that I wanted with them, so I opted to just cut what I need from the fat quarters. They were all folded up and it occurred to me that instead of traditional pinwheels, I should do 3D ones!

The fabrics I'm using for these quilts- all but 5 in the collection
In order to make these 3D pinwheels, you only need 8 fabric squares of any size you like. Mine all were 5"x5". If you use a charm pack, these blocks will fly together, because all the cutting is already finished! But, the larger your starting squares, the larger the block will be. My finished blocks were just over 9".

I decided to use the same background color for all the pinwheels, for the first quilt that is the pink.  Next you want to pick 4 coordinating fabrics to be the pinwheels- I chose all different ones but you could do them all the same if you'd like.

The pink floral is the background for all the pinwheels.
You want to fold each piece in half, (corner to corner) press, and then fold them in half a second time and press to get small triangles.

Press them all in half (the circles are my ironing board)
Then all in half again, to get small triangles.
I spent a good while just pressing all of the pinwheels for both quilts (there are lots of them). I like to watch TV shows while I sew, so I just popped in the first season of The Wire (It's the best television show ever made, bar none) and pressed triangles for a couple episodes.

Once your 4 are pressed, lay them out across your background squares and decide how you'd like to arrange them. Make sure the raw edges of the triangle are lined up along an edge of your square. Stitch each triangle and the backing piece together, with a little less than 1/4" seam.

You might want to stitch straighter than I did on this one.
 Now that the triangles are secured, stitch two of the blocks together with 1/4" seam, repeat for remaining two.

Press the seams open, because that will reduce the bulk in the center of your wheel. Stitch the pairs together, press open, and you're all done!

Only 11 more blocks to go!
You can use multiples of this block to make a big pinwheel quilt, or you can wait and check out the pattern that I'm using for the baby quilts in an upcoming post. The whole pattern is based on using 5"x5" squares, so grab that charm pack you've had laying around and get to sewing!

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