Sunflower Piecing… Sequential Piecing

For those of you that are doing the mystery quilt, clue #2 includes stitching the sunflower block.  This is a great place to give you some tips.  For those of you new to hand piecing, you will enjoy this blog as well.  “Sequential Hand Piecing” is a term I coined in my book on hand piecing, “Sampler By Hand.”  (Which, BTW, is a great book on hand piecing techniques as well as a pattern book.)  It involves not breaking the thread when you piece and speeds up hand piecing.

The sunflower block is a great block to sequentially hand piece, but it takes practice and time.  Once you have this tool on your belt, you’ll be using it whenever you can.  (I’m using the sunflower block as my example, but there are other blocks that can be pieced this way.)

Layout your block.  It is important with the sunflower block that all the reference marks of the “B” pieces touch the reference marks of the “C” pieces.

Layout of this block shows you can sequentially piece it.

Layout of this block shows you can sequentially piece it.

The arrows show the direction you will be piecing if you are right handed.  Lefties would change the arrows to the other direction.

Next, pick up 2 adjacent pieces, right sides together.  Place a pin in the far left corner and hitting the left corner of the B piece underneath.

The needle is used as a pin to catch the right hand corner.

The needle is used as a pin to catch the right hand corner.

I do use quilting thread to piece my blocks.  See my website under notions for all the tools I love to use.

Next, backstitch at the corner and stitch down the line to the end, coming up where the pin is located.  Backstitch, but leave your needle “parked”.  Open up your piece and check for the correct orientation, then pick up the next new “C” piece.

Pin the left corner of the new piece onto the "B" piece.

Pin the left corner of the new piece onto the “B” piece.

Now bring your parked needle through the seam to the other side, avoiding the seam allowance.

This is a close up of where the needle comes through.

This is a close up of where the needle comes through.

Once you have dragged the needle to the working side, you need to go down with the needle onto the B piece, make a stitch and then backstitch.

 

Stitch up to the top of the C piece where the pin is placed and again, backstitch at the pin.

Close up of backstitch at the point.

Close up of backstitch at the point.

Continue to stitch up and down, going through each seam allowance and backstitching at the other side of the seam.  It looks complicated, but it is actually easy once you wrap your mind around what you are trying to accomplish.

Checking the orientation of the next piece.

Checking the orientation of the next piece.

Keep opening up the piece as you stitch and check the orientation before picking up the next piece.

Continue to stitch all the way around your block, working toward making it into a “ring”.

Continue stitching up and down.

Continue stitching up and down.

When you are finished, it should look like this.  Check to make sure all the reference marks are in the right place.  The pointer and scissors are showing where the reference marks should be.  If you place the reference marks outside or one touching a “C” and the other not touching the “C”, your block will NOT lie flat and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Pointers show where the reference marks should be placed.

Pointers show where the reference marks should be placed.

Next, it is time for a glass of wine!  (or in my case, a Mocha!)

Putting in the center can be daunting, but you can do it if you have lasted this far on my blog!  You will be sewing with the SEAM side up, going from seam allowance to seam allowance, matching reference marks of the circle on the bottom.  (Yes, they were on the template stamp for a reason.)

Pin is inserted from the top to the bottom reference mark.

Pin is inserted from the top to the bottom reference mark.

Notice my pointer.  It is showing you that the circle wants to slide up while the C piece wants to slide down.  I use my fingers to push them together, but you can also pin this with another pin.  NONE of the circle should be showing when you stitch.

Placing a pin on the center of the line can help to keep the pieces lined up.

Placing a pin on the center of the line can help to keep the pieces lined up.

I just sew from one seam allowance to the next.  When you come up where you have a pin placed, do a backstitch and gently TUG on the thread.  Pop up the seam allowance and bring your needle through to the other side.

Push your needle from one side to the other, not catching the seam allowance.

Push your needle from one side to the other, not catching the seam allowance.

YEA!  You are on the “home stretch”.  Continue all around the circle until you are done.

Your “reward” is to press your block.  Place it face down on an ironing board and press the seams in one direction.

NOW!  Isn't that the cutest block you have ever seen?

NOW! Isn’t that the cutest block you have ever seen?

Okay, only 11 more to go!  🙂


Comments

Sunflower Piecing… Sequential Piecing — 9 Comments

  1. Yay!! I love sequential hand piecing.. I am going to enjoy this 🙂 Great tutorial, by the way, Cindy. Thank you.

  2. Great tutorial. I’m struggling a little, I have an older set of sunflower stamps and the C stamps don’t have registration marks

    • Geri, don’t worry. The registration marks help SLIGHTLY. I tried to make it easier for my students when teaching, but they still didn’t help. 🙁

      • Finished my first sunflower and I’m getting ready to appliqué! It came out fine, really the marks on the B square are the most important to pay attention to, so all is well and only 11 more to go.

          • And you are so encouraging, no wonder you received the Jewel Patterson teacher of the year award. Your finished blocks look great. Got my APQ mag. yesterday and the article was very well done.

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