Man Sewing: Half Burst Strip Quilt Tutorial

Rob Appell

Man Sewing: Half Burst Strip Quilt Tutorial

Rob demonstrates how to use his Burst Block Template to make the Half Burst Quilt using 10 inch squares of precut fabric (layer cakes). Rob used Kona Cotton Ten Squares by Robert Kaufman Fabrics for Robert Kaufman.
Supplies list
  • 2 packs x 10" Pre-cut Fabric Squares (Layer Cakes)

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video transcript

Every quilt has its own journey. As a matter of fact, the quilt behind me started with a whole different concept in mind. But as I started playing with the blocks in my new burst block template. This whole new organization and orientation started. I’m so excited. Let’s get started.

Today’s quilt is really featuring the burst block template. But check it out behind me, if you look close it really is just half of the block. And it is in a striped format which is not at all like I intended. So for your supplies all you really need is some of the ten by ten pre cut squares. Now I used two different color families. I used a blue family from Robert Kaufman, the Kona solids and a brown family. In my pre cuts I happened to find that I had three of each of the fabrics so I made three identical color combination blocks. So if it’s the same dark blue with the same dark brown in all three blocks is what I’m trying to say. And what I really did is I organized my colors just like that. All of the dark colors together and all of the light colors together, nothing more complicated. Let me show you how you’re going to build your blocks.

You see here the finished block. And basically we’re going to work just one side of the template today. And in order to do so you might want to bounce into the description below. We’ve got your worksheet for you which is similar to the original but it shows you the steps for just creating half the block. And then a picture of the finished block. And we’re going to get to the quilt layout towards the end of today’s video. But the letters represent individual color blocks that you’ve created. So you’ll need those from the description below.

Ok now the first thing we have our brown squares. All of the brown squares are cut on the bias so on the diagonal. And I just used a nice straight ruler, rotary cutter, slice and set all of those aside just like that, ok? Now to create the burst wedge you’re going to have a blue ten inch square and that is sliced as you can see by laying the template from point to point and cutting on both sides to take off the wedges. Now again for today’s blocks you don’t need this wedge at all. So you can just set that triangle over there. I shouldn’t call it the wedge, the wedge is the middle. Set that triangle over there for another project. So you need these two pieces and you need these two pieces. One last thing to point out before we start sewing. This triangle, the one that’s from the blue that came off of the burst block template itself, this line and this line are not the same length. So I want to make sure that I always keep this in the proper orientation. It will help it when we go to sew it on later. So I’m going to set it right up here in my sewing studio so I know which way it comes back on. Then to begin construction we simply take our blue wedge and then our brown triangles and then I’m going to stitch them on with a quarter inch seam allowance. But I cheat, I always have about a half of an inch down here at the short end of the wedge as I begin sewing on. That way as I start to trim the parts and pieces off I don’t have any triangles that are not long enough, as you see here in the finished block. One of the things I found really successful when working with these blocks is I’m always pressing from the center out. So I’m always pressing towards the newer fabrics I’m adding on and that just keeps things laying nice and flat. So this is that construction. It’s time that you have your burst block template for when we prepare to start trimming all of this down.

Now the way the template works the wedge shape that is on the template is always going to be located on the center wedge itself no matter how we’re using this. Then I’ve got a line on the template. It has a single dot, that’s my first seam allowance. And the last thing I look at is down here on the tip. I just make sure the tip of my template is touching the edge of my square for alignment. And then I’m going to go ahead and slice this. Just like you see. There’s also a 90 degree marker on our template. So this is going to rotate over here. And I’m going to first take that edge off. And then watch this. I’m going to bring this over here. And to make life easier for me I’m going to rotate so I get a nice cut. And I’m using that same 90. And I’m making sure that everything is beautiful. And I’m going to cut through here and I’m just going to extend that line out, ok? And then what’s going to happen is I use the big end and I put my tip there, my tip up here. And that helps me make sure I have a really nice square. Then I square this way. And I know a little underarm cutting but I’m not going far. By starting that cut I’m giving myself a great opportunity to have a nice square edge here because I’ve got a nice amount of line versus template to look at. And now I can safely cut this way. And I have finished this side of the block already. And we’re going to start building on the rest of our pieces. However I want to make sure I’m using the right color so I’m going to replace that one there. And as I was saying earlier I want to make sure that the new wedge goes on just like it was cut from the original. I keep calling it a wedge don’t I. The new triangle. I am so sorry for all of you today. The new triangle is going to go on the way it was cut from the wedge. I still cheat down here at this little bottom tail. And then I’m going to come right over here to my sewing machine and stitch this on with a quarter inch seam allowance.

Now you’re working on the bias meaning that it’s going to have a little bit more stretch, a little bit more flex. So try not to tug or pull as you’re sewing. Just let your feed dogs do the work for you. I’ve got a nice little pinch down here where the tails come together. Making sure that stays nice. I’m going to use a thread cutter. Oop make sure my iron is nice and hot here today. We will want that. And we do need to save our other brown triangle that we cut. We’re going to keep building that as we go. I probably stalled just long enough that my iron is nice and warm. And I’m going to come in here and again I’m going to press away from the center wedge. I’ve got all of that fabric traveling out of there. Now we’re going to come back over here and we’re going to get ready to make the second cut. Remind you of the rules. The wedge is on the wedge and I do mean to say wedge this time. The second dotted line is on the second seam allowance, intuitive isn’t it? And then the tip is back here near the tip just on the edge of the fabric anywhere. And I’ve made my slice. I want to save that blue piece for later also. I’m going to use my 90 up here at the top. Cut that. And I’m going to also use that 90 now down at the bottom because I have a really accurate line to cut from. Like this. Now I bring in the other brown wedge, sew it on, always leaving a little bit of extra triangle. I called it a wedge again, didn’t I? Boy I’m going to have to get that tattooed on my arm next time I go to the tattoo shop, I think. I’m going to have all my shapes tattooed on my other arm for you so I can get them correct. We’ll see if we keep struggling again with color. That is going to make for a wicked design I think. Ok, stalled long enough, got that quarter inch seam on there. Again we’re just going to press away from the center wedge on the triangle. Ok, I bet you can guess what I’m going to do next. I’m going to take the template, wedge on wedge. I mean wedge. And third dotted line on third seam allowance. And now I’m going to go ahead and line up that angle down there, tip, slice. Then I’m going to do my 90. Slice there. One more time. Slice here and we are almost done. Now there’s a little bit of an issue. Ah, issue is a strong word. I want to point this out. This entire line is not the seam allowance, only this line. So you’ve got an inch back here that is not included in the seam. So when this sews on it’s going to sew on here. You can see that little gap. So be careful not to bend it all the way around and lose that brown and blue wedge coming together. I’ll show you what it looks like when I’m done. We’re going to stitch through this real nice and easy. And voila. The fourth triangle that was sewn on here, we do not have a line on the template for. We just press it open like I just did.

And at this point I’m going to square the block. You could use a standard ruler or you can use a big square it. But the template I’ve created will work obviously. And at that point I’m going to come up here. And I actually start to look at some of the lines on my mat to make sure my something is looking pretty good. In case I need to make any slight adjustments to the trim. Now the beautiful thing about the block and the setting I’ve created behind me is that nothing matches up and therefore nothing has to be accurate. That’s wonderful this way. Ok, so it doesn’t matter if all of these wedges are the same in all of my other squares, right? Usually they’re pretty dang accurate anyways. But if they weren’t, we’re not joining these today where they have to match up just perfectly, right? We’re going to do all kinds of fun stuff with these. Now we’ve got our wedges ready to go. It was kind of interesting the way we wanted to build these. So let me see if I can show you how it’s supposed to come together here.

I’m going to use these four. And what I was trying to do originally in the burst block was create all kinds of crazy extra negative space. Remember at the beginning of the video I said this is not what I intended to do at all. So there’s all kinds of wonderful settings for this template. But in doing this what I realized is if I mount these like this they create this wonderful striping texture. So follow me over here to the quilt if you will. If you look carefully, well hopefully you don’t have to look that carefully, the darker squares as with normal Man Sewing quilt, right? I love how the darker squares at the bottom, darker blocks at the bottom, lighter up at the top. You can see the stripe forming. You’ll notice that there’s not always a fill in. So again as I was saying not everything lines up. That’s intentional because that makes it easier. So you’ve got these big stripes that are running through of the patchwork. But you also have these smaller stripes that are running through of the negative space. And that made it really, really fun for the machine quilting.

So when I wanted to do my free motion, I literally started, I remember, on this particular stripe, this patchwork stripe. And it was basically in the center and I went in both directions using my curved and curled motions. What I was really thinking in my head is I want to visually divide the quilt so you can see the blue stripes and the brown stripes. I used a variegated blue fabric up here in the blue patchwork stripes. And a brown variegated fabric in the brown stripes to also accent the colorways a little bit. My original intention was lots of motif in the patchwork and not so much in the brown stripes here. As I was doing it though I remember, I did this one. Then I went ahead and I did this one. I didn’t love the way that turned out so as I began working with new motifs I was actually changing my design on the fly. At the end of the project I was very pleased I did so. In the middle I was getting pretty nervous that the quilting wasn’t going the way I wanted to. So I simply kept that straight motion in mind but I changed it giving it more character so that it looked more like the other blocks and started pulling it all together. And by the time I quilted through my third stripe I had my rhythm. I was in motion and having a blast.

So again not all quilts start and finish exactly as we intended. Just like our journeys in life, right? One of the things I love as an artist is being able to be encouraged by the projects I’m working on and by all of you out there. So I tell you what, start sending in all of your wonderful photographs. Put them in the comments below to let me know what you’re working on using the burst block template. And we’ll catch you next time right here at Man Sewing.

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