The Polaroid Sew-Along Tutorial: Adding a Drop Shadow

The Polaroid Sew-Along DROP SHADOW TUTORIAL

 

To find the other Polaroid Sew-Along posts and tutorials, please head over to the Polaroid Sew-Along Page!

Adding a Drop Shadow

I love the flexibility that these polaroid blocks offer. Not only do you have the freedom to frame and fussy cut your interior blocks however you want, but you can also choose what size to make them if you want them bigger than the original tutorial outlines! YES! You can also find a guide on choosing your shadow and sashing colors here, but if you want to just go crazy on your own, my two guides on Color Theory (found here and here) can help you narrow down your choices. You really do have so much creative freedom and flexibility in this Sew-Along, and I am on the edge of my seat with anticipation over your projects!

Today I’m going to be walking you through how to add a drop shadow. These measurements are based off of the original tutorial. If you have changed your block size using this guide, you can also calculate the size of the drop shadow using the same multiplying technique! So open up your guide’s cheat-sheet and use your “increase ratio” number with the measurements below to calculate your new drop shadow sizes! Man, this Sew-Along just keeps getting better and better!

Drop Shadow Block

Just as a recap, here is the information from the original tutorial.

If you are interested in creating a piece that uses the drop shadow technique, but you aren’t crazy about a black/gray color scheme, you are in luck! In terms of color selection, you are only limited by the fabric colors manufactured! Since Robert Kaufman now has 303 colors available in Kona, and other manufacturers are starting to roll out tons of colors in their own lines of solids (Cotton + Steel, Riley Blake, Art Gallery Fabrics… you name it!) your choices are nearly endless.

If you are interested in adding a drop shadow to your Polaroid, you will need the following:

(1) Polaroid Block, trimmed (refer to this post)

(2) 1″ square of “background” material

(1) 1″ x 2.5″ strip of “shadow” material

(1) 1″ x 3.5″ strip of “shadow” material

Polaroid Sew Along 2017 Drop Shadow Measurements
Step 1: Sew your 1″ x 1″ background squares onto your 1″ shadow strips.
Step 2: Press your seams to set them, and then press your seams open. This is going to help reduce bulk on this tiny block, and encourage it to lay flat.
Step 3: Sew your bottom drop shadow strip to the bottom of your block with the background square towards the left. Press your seams open.
Step 4: Sew your side drop shadow strip to the right side of your block with the background square towards the top. Press your seams open.
NOTE: If you would like your drop shadow to go the other direction (because WHY NOT, right?!), then have the background square on the bottom strip situated to the right, and have the side strip on the left side of the block!

Trim the bottom and the side down 1/2″ using the following as a guide. Your block now measures 3.25″ x 3.75″

Trimming the Drop Shadow (gallery view):

Trimming the Drop Shadow (text only):

Step 1: Lay your polaroid on your cutting mat so that the drop shadow is on the right and top sides. Ooooops! You can see here that I didn’t cut a long enough strip of shadow for the right side of my polaroid. Good thing we added in more fabric so that we can trim down!

Step 2: Lay down your ruler so that the 1/2″ markings are laying on top of the seam of the polaroid and shadow. You can see here that the blue markings I made for trimming my polaroid earlier on work as a guide for the drop shadow as well! The 1/2″ intersection should be right on the corner of the polaroid. YES!

Step 3: Trim!

Strip Piecing and Chain Piecing

This quick walk-through is great and everything, but it is really fiddley and time consuming. It is more for someone who is making just a couple of blocks. If you are making a whole bunch of blocks, then I recommend chain piecing from strips! Seems complicated? It really isn’t, and it will save you so. much. time.

The Polaroid Sew-Along DROP SHADOW TUTORIAL

Strip Piecing

We’re going to begin with preparing our shadows by strip piecing that little background square to the drop shadow fabric. In the below explanation, I’m going to use WOF as “width-of-fabric.” This term can be used whether you are going to be using yardage or a something like a Fat Quarter. Just make sure to cut your strip from selvage to selvage (or the end where the selvage would be)!

The Polaroid Sew-Along DROP SHADOW TUTORIAL

Cutting

Step 1: Take your “background” fabric and press. Fold it selvage to selvage (or selvage to opposite end). If you are using yardage (a 1/4 yard cut, 1/2 yard cut, or more), fold the fabric again – selvage to the fold you created when you made your first fold.

 

Step 2: Lay your fabric on your cutting mat so that the selvage is at the top. The fold that is on the bottom is your “true line” and it is the line that you can trust to create square cuts for your strips.

Step 3: Begin cutting your shadow strips. For each polaroid, you
will need (1) 2.5″ x WOF strip and (1) 3.5″ x WOF strip. Set aside.

NOTE: The amount of strips you cut will really depends on the amount of Polaroid blocks that you have, and the length of the fabric you are cutting from. Your strip length will vary depending on the size fabric cut you are working with.

Step 4: Begin cutting your background strips. For each polaroid, you will need (2) 1″x WOF background strips.

Step 5: Sew your strips together. (1) 1″ x WOF background strip should be sewn to (1) 2.5″ x WOF shadow strip and (1) 1″ background strip should be sewn to (1) 3.5″ x WOF shadow strip.

The Polaroid Sew-Along DROP SHADOW TUTORIALStep 6: Press your seams to set them, and then press your seams open. This is going to help reduce bulk on this tiny block, and encourage it to lay flat.

At this point we are going to be working with our newly sewn strips. You should have two strips, one that has 2.5″ of shadow with 1″ of background on top, and one that has 3.5″ of shadow with 1″ of background on top.

Step 7: Take your 2.5″ shadow set and subcut it into 1″ strips. This is the bottom shadow!

The Polaroid Sew-Along DROP SHADOW TUTORIALStep 8: Take your 3.5″ shadow set and subcut it into 1″ strips. This is the side shadow!

The Polaroid Sew-Along DROP SHADOW TUTORIAL

Chain Piecing

You are now able to begin chain piecing your freshly subcut shadow strips onto your polaroids!

The Polaroid Sew-Along DROP SHADOW TUTORIAL

NOTE: In order to be quick about this, I recommend making a pile of your bottom pieces and a pile of your side pieces. Sit down with your polaroid blocks so that the bottom is towards the right (and the left side is towards the bottom, you’ve made a 1/4 turn counter clockwise). As you piece, simply pick up a polaroid and put it next in line near your foot. Take your shadow piece, background square at the bottom, and lay it on the polaroid, right sides together. Begin sewing. As you reach the end of the block, repeat by getting your next polaroid ready and laying on the shadow strip. You don’t really need to match them all up first if you don’t want to, as there isn’t really a need to pin and you will end up having to rearrange the layering job once it is next in line anyway!

The Polaroid Sew-Along DROP SHADOW TUTORIAL

Step 1: Chain piece all of the bottom shadows to your blocks.

Step 2: Press those seams open!

Step 3: Chain piece all of the side shadows to your blocks.

Step 4: Again, press your seams open, making sure that your blocks are laying nice and flat.

The Polaroid Sew-Along DROP SHADOW TUTORIALTrim

This guide is the same as the bit up higher in the post, but instead of making you scroll up again, I’m going to put it here, too!

Trim the bottom and the side down 1/2″ using the following as a guide. Your block now measures 3.25″ x 3.75″

Trimming the Drop Shadow (gallery view):

Trimming the Drop Shadow (text only):

Step 1: Lay your polaroid on your cutting mat so that the drop shadow is on the right and top sides. Ooooops! You can see here that I didn’t cut a long enough strip of shadow for the right side of my polaroid. Good thing we added in more fabric so that we can trim down!

Step 2: Lay down your ruler so that the 1/2″ markings are laying on top of the seam of the polaroid and shadow. You can see here that the blue markings I made for trimming my polaroid earlier on work as a guide for the drop shadow as well! The 1/2″ intersection should be right on the corner of the polaroid. YES!

Step 3: Trim!

And Finally

Now that you’ve made it through chain piecing your drop shadows, you have some more planning to do! Are you going to add sashing to your blocks so that they are all straight, or are you going to put some on a slant? Tilted blocks are so fun and whimsical, and a full tutorial will be out on May 14th!

I’ve also seen some projects that have polaroids in a variety of sizes. The different sized blocks add so much interest to the finished projects! As we progress through our Sew-Along, I’m going to be giving tips and hints on everything from fussy cutting those squares to frame them just right, to the steps to take to make sure your project goes according to plan. Keep checking back as we have a lot more information to give, and if you need a run down on the calendar, check out the Sew-Along Page for the topics we’ve already covered and what is coming up next!

Happy Sewing, Friends!

 

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