To find the other Polaroid Sew-Along posts and tutorials, please head over to the Polaroid Sew-Along Page!
Creating a Titled Block
As we move along in the Sew-Along, I want to start to you to start thinking about your layout. Are you planning on creating a quilt with your blocks? Maybe you were leaning more towards a pouch? How about using them on the front of a tote? As you consider your layout, and the organization of the blocks in your layout, challenge yourself to think outside the box and add a little interest to your finished project. Adding interest can be done in a number of ways, one of which would be considering your colors. Maybe you change the color of one of the drop shadows from gray to pink, or one of the polaroid frames from white to bright blue.
Another way to add interest is to think about how your blocks are being sewn together. Do you want them all in straight lines? Maybe consider staggering them, like bricks in a wall?
Today’s tutorial is a very simple and straight forward technique that will allow you to not only add interest to your finished project, but a sense of movement and energy as well. The best news? Even though the polaroid is tilted, the block itself is still square, allowing you to use the block in the same way that you would use a block with just sashing.
Just as a recap, here is the information that you were given from the original tutorial. Continue reading beyond the specifications for instructions on piecing the blocks. Please note, this tutorial is meant to work in conjunction with the other guides in the Sew-Along. You may have questions that were answered in other posts such as, “How do I make my blocks any size?” and “How do I add a drop shadow?” Be sure to head over to the timeline to see the full list of tutorials!
The following specifications are not a “one size fits all” type of deal, but I believe they will give you enough wiggle room to trim to a 5″ unfinished block. If you have changed the size of your blocks, you will need to also change the size of your drop shadow and your sashing. The following information works with the block size in all the tutorials (noted below). If you have changed your block size using this guide, you can also calculate the size of the sashing for a straight block and titled block 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 sashing sizes!
One more reminder – the specifications below are great if you are doing just a handful of blocks. If you are making a lot (like, A LOT) of blocks, I recommend chain piecing them using strips as discussed here.
In order to create a tilted block with a drop shadow you will need:
(1) Polaroid Block with Drop Shadow, trimmed (See Drop Shadow Tutorial)
(2) 2″ x 3.25″ strips
(2) 2″ x 6.75″ strips
In order to create a tilted block without a drop shadow you will need:
(1) Polaroid Block, Trimmed (See Original Tutorial)
(2) 2″ x 3″ strips
(2) 2″ x 6.5″ strips
So again, if you are creating a lot of blocks, you really sure wait to subcut your strips until after you sew them onto your blocks (as described here). The following images will give you a quick recap on that process. You can see in the images that I am using the fussy cut center square and the white borders. You want to do the same step-by-step, but just with your background sashing and the appropriate sized strips, which happen to be 2″ for both blocks with and without drop shadows. Lucky us
Before you move forward, you need to decide which order you are going to attach your strips – to the top and bottom first, or to the sides.
In the above image, I am showing you an example of a block that the top and bottom were pieced first, and then the sides (LEFT) as well as a block where the sides were pieced first, and then the top and bottom (RIGHT). Personally, I prefer the block on the left where I started with the top and bottom and then did the sides. The other block just doesn’t want to lay flat, and I think that the seams are way more obvious. I like how the background is almost an after-thought in the block on the left, and I had very little issue making the block stay flat. So, make your choice before you continue!
In regards to pressing, even though we pressed our seams to the side for the polaroid frames, I leave the sashing up to you. I pressed my seams to the side on my blocks because they naturally wanted to go that way, and I didn’t want to wrestle with the blocks at the point. Do what you feel is right, and if your block is telling you to press a certain way, listen!
So now you should have your gorgeous polaroid centered in 2″ of sashing whether you have a drop shadow or not. The following method of trimming does create a lot of waste, but I’m going to tell you why I prefer it over cutting your strips in some sort of fancy, pre-measured angle to avoid waste…
First, I want to make a lot of blocks, and piecing my blocks on the strips and then cutting them to separate is much faster than chain piecing all those little bits. Second, I don’t want all of my polaroids at the same angle! I think one of the reasons why these blocks look so great is that the process of creating them gives you the freedom to tilt as much or as little as you want on every.single.block. It also gives you the freedom to decide if you want your block tilting to the right or the left. Finally (and this goes along with my second reason a bit), when you cut them each individual, it gives you a point in your project to step back and look at your layout. It gives you the time to handle each block that you want to tilt, and really consider it, not just as it is on its own, but how it belongs in your finished project.
I think often as quilters, we are looking for shortcuts to speed up the process. I try to remind myself that it is only certain aspects of the process that I’m willing to speed up. When it comes to color selection, layout, and any added design features that create interest in the quilt (ie: an unexpected pop of color, a tilted block, interesting quilting, a bright binding), I tend to spend a little more time. These are parts of the process that I know that I may come to regret later if I do not put the time and energy in to applying my creativity!
So slow down, and consider your layout. When creating your tilted blocks, first layout the blocks you already have done and think about the angle of the tilt and how it is going to fit in with your other blocks. This is a great opportunity to PLAY! If you find that the 2″ strips were creating more waste than you like, simply try using 1.75″ strips or 1.5″ strips and see how that works!
Step 1: Decide on the size of your unfinished block, and use an acrylic ruler that is the same size as the block, or close to it. For this example, I am cutting my blocks down to 4.5″ square. If your ruler is larger than the size that you are cutting to, use washi tape to help your eyes find the correct line that you will be cutting to. You can use the edge of the washi tape and the edge of the ruler as your “frame.”
Step 2: Take your polaroid, and fold it in half lengthwise and width wise, making sure to crease in the center of the block. This will help you identify the center of your polaroid.
Step 3: Lay your polaroid down on your cutting mat, face up and square to you. In other words, don’t lay it on an angle. Lay your acrylic ruler over it so that it too is square, and the center of the ruler is lined up with the intersection of the creases that you created in the last step.
Step 4: Slowly begin rotating your ruler, creating your tilt, making sure the center stays on the correct point.
A few things to remember: First, whichever direction you are rotating your ruler, your polaroid will be tilted in the opposite direction when you are done trimming. So if you rotate your ruler counter clockwise, your block will become square by turning it a bit clockwise. The opposite also holds true. If you rotate your ruler clockwise, then your block will be square when are finished cutting it and you begin rotating it counter clockwise.
Next, you need to make sure that the top right corner of your ruler and the bottom right corner of your ruler (or the intersection of your washi tape) are both within the background fabric. If you have either point hanging over an edge before you cut, you will not end up with a square at the end. Ugh.
Step 5: If you are planning on creating the same angle for every tilted polaroid, this is another great opportunity to tape or mark your ruler. Simply use the inside of the Polaroid that you just cut as your guide. Lay your ruler flat onto the polaroid, and mark or lay tape in line with the corner of the polaroid frame. Now you can use that as a reference for all the future blocks you are going to cut instead of folding each one to find the center! You can see in the image above that my tape is right up to the edge of the polaroid frame.
Step 6: Cut the right side and the top with your rotary cutter.
Step 7: Turn your block 180 degrees so that the right and top side of the block are now the bottom and left side of the block. Line up your ruler so that the appropriate line/edge is lined up with the just-cut edge of your block. In my case, I am lining up the 4.5″ line with the just-cut edge.
Step 8: Cut the right side and top with your rotary cutter.
There you have it folks, a titled block!