Snail Trail Quilt Tutorial

Jenny Doan

Snail Trail Quilt Tutorial

Quilt Size: 76" x 91"
Jenny Doan demonstrates an easy way to make the traditional old block, Snail Trail, using 10 inch square of precut fabric (layer cakes). She uses Dutchess Metallic 10" Squares by Timeless Treasures.
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video transcript

Hi everybody, it’s Jenny from the MSQC. And I’ve got a fun project for you today. This quilt is actually based on an old block called the Snail Trail. And it just makes a really fun pattern. Let’s take a look at this quilt behind me. Isn’t this fun? I love this. I love the swirlyness of it. It looks so hard, right? Well it’s not. It’s easy. And I’m going to show you how to get two of these blocks out of every single ten inch square set we put together. So to make this quilt what you’re going to need is one packet of ten inch squares. And we’ve used Duchess by Timeless Treasures. And they’re gorgeous, you can see. You’re also going to need one pack of background squares and that’s 42 of them that are ten inches. You’re going to need about ¾ of a yard for this first 2 ½ inch border right here. Our second border is a yard and a half. And it’s cut at a 6 ½ and finishes at a six inch border. The background, look how beautiful that is. I means it’s just gorgeous. I love that background. And the fabric you’re going to need 5 ½ yards. So it makes a great quilt. The quilt ends up being 76 by 91. So it’s a pretty good sized quilt.

So what we’re going to do first is we’re going to take a ten inch background square and stack it with a ten inch printed square. Just like this. Stack them on top of each other. What’s most important in this is the cutting. There will be a diagram for you available so that you can do the cutting the same as I do. Because that’s what’s going to get you the two blocks. The first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to go ahead and cut off five inches like this. We’re going to scoot those apart. We’re going to take our five inch square, our five inch by ten inch rectangle and cut it into two five inch squares, like this. And then we’re going to cut diagonally both corners. So we have this right here. And we’re just going to stack that up over here and stack this one up over here. Just like that. Put those in a pile. And you can see I have my white and my print. Now out of this next strip what we’re going to do is we’re going to cut a 2 ½ inch strip off the bottom right here, 2 ½. And then we’re going to cut that in half. Make sure it stays lined up real nice. And we’re going to cut those on the diagonal as well. And one more over here. Alright, and we’re going to stack those up in a little pile over here. Alright now this piece right here, you’re going to turn it sideways. We’re going to cut an inch and a half strip right off the side. Just like this. Make sure we’re lined up. Cut an inch and a half strip like this. Lay that over here because we’re going to sew that together. And then these right here we’re going to cut 2 ½ inch squares. And if you’ve done your math correctly it should be 3 ½ inch wide and then we’re going to come in 3 ½ and get two 3 ½ inch squares like this. One and then we’ve got one, two, three and a half. And that my friends is your waste. Pretty good, huh? Alright so let’s cut these diagonally as well because we’ve got to get ready. Stack these up right here.

Alright so now our little strip right here, and if you want to speed things even more along you could put those two pieces right sides together so that was ready to go. And that will help you as well. I got to where I did that after about the 20th one, you know. So now we’re going to bring this to the sewing machine and we’re going to sew a quarter of an inch right down the side of it. And let me make sure my pedal is here. There we go. We’re just going to sew a quarter of an inch and we’re going to press this open. Now the first thing I’m going to do, I’m going to bring this over here to my ironing board. And I’m just going to roll that back. You want to keep the dark fabric to the dark side, just like that. Now what we’re going to do is we’re going to cut these into little bitty 1 ½ inch segments so, because we’re going to make a tiny four patch for the center of the block. So I just cut off that little bit of strip right there. And then I’ve got a 1 ½ and a 1 ½. And we need four of these because remember it makes two blocks. Alright, there we go. And one more. And we’re going to add this tiny one to our waste pile.

So now what we’re going to do is we’ve got two of these we’re going to flip like this. See how that makes an instant four patch, just flip one around. We’re going to lay them right sides together because we’ve pressed our seam to the dark, they’re going to nest perfectly which means they snug up to that seam right there. And then we’re just going to sew these a quarter of an inch right down the side. Alright now let’s, let me make sure this nice and straight. When you’re dealing with smaller pieces it is a little more important to pay attention to where things are lining up and what things are doing because it’s less forgiving. You know when you have a bigger piece, it is a little more forgiving. And this you just want to make sure that it’s right. Alright, there we go. And we’re going to cut these apart. Trim off our threads. And we’re going to press them open. And we’ll see how good we got them. Ooo, that one is pretty. Because this is the center of your block, you want this to be pretty good. And this one is also pretty good. Alrighty, now we have our little, our little four patches. And I’m just going to work on one block. Just know that you can make two.

We’re going to take our smallest set of squares and then we’re going to start adding them to the sides. So each block gets two of these. And the first thing we’re going to do, there’s a few little tips here. Make sure always when you’re putting your blocks on that your print is up to the top left. It doesn’t matter what way, it matters that you’re consistent. That it’s the same every time you sew a block. Otherwise you’ll have one swirling the opposite way. And we want them to swirl the same way. So what we’re going to do is when the color is up at the top left then we’re going to add color to that. And we’re going to do two blocks of color on either side like this. And we’re going to sew a quarter of an inch right down the side. Let’s see here, alrighty. And you just want to hang over those edges. You know you have a, you have a little more than a quarter of an inch to hang over those edges. And you really just want to hang over your edges and then you can square up as you go along. And we’re going to press these out. And it will look like that. And then over here to the other side I’m going to trim off these little dog ears and my threads. And then over here you can add your white ones on right here. So just like that you’re going to make sure they fit just like that. If you want to be really careful about it you can actually finger press this little square like this, fold the ends together. Make a little crease. And you’ll know that that line lines up in the middle of your square. So we’ll sew that on. And then the other side as well. I’m going to make sure this one. I’m going to put a little finger crease in there, make sure it’s perfect. There we go. And we’re going to press this open.

Now you round this out three times. You’re going to add two triangles, two colors and two whites to each side. And you’re going to do that three times. Each time I put this on I’m going to square up my block. So right here where these two pieces come together, you want a quarter of an inch out from that seam. And see how that’s a little wonky. It won’t matter because we’re going to trim that up. And we’re going to turn it. And we’re going to make sure this is trimmed up, turn. Again you’re watching for that quarter of an inch that’s your, that’s your, that’s where you’re aiming for right there. And one more over here. Alright, there we go. Alright so now we have this little block and we’re ready to add these, the next size up triangle. And again, you want to make sure that your color stays in the upper left. And then the first ones you add are the color and the color. And then the side and the side. Now I’m going to go ahead and sew this together and I’ll meet you right back here.

So now I’ve sewn this together and I trimmed it up and it’s time to add our last round. We’re going to start with our colors. Again make sure your color is up in the left corner. And we’re going to put those on either side like this. And sew them down a quarter of an inch . And when it’s big like this you probably just want to trim this off. Just make sure this is a nice smooth area to sew. And then you can add the side pieces like this. And sew those on. So that is your finished round. It has three rounds. And I have one over here that’s almost done so let me bring that one over here and then I can, we can take you home on this one.

So here’s our last, see we’ve got one more block to sew over here. And you can see that I’ve trimmed this off so then I’m going to lay this block here like this. And it should just hang over a quarter of an inch on either side right here. And then we’re going to sew that one on. And then we’re going to press these and make them all nice and flat. Alrighty, here we go. Now if you have any little, you know any little wonkiness going on here just trim it up. We’re just going to trim this up a little bit and straighten up these sides. My sides are rarely perfect, rarely perfect. And so I don’t mind a little bit of trimming to make them, make them look like I did such a great job. Here we go, one more after this. Grab those out of here.So once you get this all squared up it should measure eight inches. That doesn’t matter as much as it matters that your blocks are the same size. So mine is an eight inch block. So let’s go back to the quilt behind me again. Alright so we’ve got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight by one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Eight by ten, 80 blocks. Because we get two out of every square. So let me show you how these go together.

This was kind of fun. So when the girls were making this design, I have, I have three sewers. And when they were making it they had it hanging up. And it’s one of those where the settings, there’s a lot of different ways you can set them. So we had them all going like this, where they’re all going the same direction. And I was like, what happens if we put these together, you know like this and they twirl around like this. And so we got to play with several different layouts. The layouts we ended up with where we put the white squares, where they came together like this. So you do a row, you do a row where your white squares are together like this. And you just sew them like this. I hope this makes sense to you. And then when you add your next row in down here again you’re going to match up color to color, white to white. And you’re going to end up with, and you’re going to end up with this colored square and then a white square and then a colored square and a white square. And that’s how you lay them out. So I just put them together, again just matching my, my, my whites right here, my white fabric and my colored fabric on each row. And since they go top and bottom it makes them swirl. So it’s a really fun, really quick, easy way to make a Snail Trail. And we hope you enjoyed this tutorial from the MSQC.

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