It’s time for another Bitty Block! QM Bitty Blocks are small quilt blocks that we’re presenting monthly during 2015. Each of these free quilt blocks is 3″ or 4″ finished and works up nicely in quilt scraps. We’ve had so much fun with them. You’ll want to check out all the past quilt block designs and patchwork ideas on our Bitty Blocks page.
July’s Bitty Block is a tiny little 3″ sailboat—utterly adorable! I played around with a lot of different options because there are many ways to piece a sailboat. Ultimately I settled on a version that’s pretty simple and I hope you’ll love it.
You can cut up fresh fabric for these, but it’s a lot of fun to get out your scrap basket and work from there. Most of my patches were cut from wrinkly pieces in my big messy laundry basket full of scraps.
For one block, here are the patches you’ll need.
3 rectangles, 1.5″ x 2.5″
2 squares, 1.5″ x 1.5″
2 squares, 1.5″ x 1.5″
1 rectangle, 1.5″ x 3.5″
The shapes are made using Stitch-and-Flip. I used to dread this technique but I learned some things to make it work.
These patches are tiny so I recommend shortening your stitch length to a maximum of 2.0mm or 13 stitches per inch. It’s a good rule of thumb that the shorter the seam you’re sewing, the shorter your stitches need to be. Read more about understanding stitch length.
First let’s make some sails so our little boats can catch the wind! Align a sail patch on a background rectangle as shown, right sides together. Sew from corner to corner as shown. It’s important to orient them just like this (ahem, yes I totally messed up the first set).
Trim away the sail patch as shown in the middle of the photo above, leaving the bottom patch in place for a benchmark. Open out the sail patch and press. Make two sails.
Now let’s make the boat!
Align the background squares on each end of the boat rectangle as shown. Sew from corner to corner as shown.
Trim away the background patch, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Open out the background patches and press. You’ve got yourself a boat!
Now let’s put it all together into a little 3″ finished sailboat.
Sew the two sail sections together. Add the remaining background rectangle to the left side. Sew this section to the boat section. Give yourself a round of applause!
I made a little row of Bitty Boats.
I think it really helps if all of your background fabrics are not cream, white and tan. It’s more interesting to have some color in there! As long as there is plenty of contrast between the boat and sail patches and the background, you’ll be fine.
How many Bitty Boats you should make depends on the size of quilt you’re making. See our post called QM Bitty Blocks: The Row Quilts for details.
Now I’m going to throw you a little curve ball. Don’t worry, it’s totally optional, but it’s something different to try. I enjoyed it!
You can change things up just a little and have a boat that looks quite different. I used a Tri Recs ruler to make the sail above. The sail finishes at 1.5″ x 2.5″. The background patches on each side are also 1.5″ x 2.5″. The boat itself is exactly the same as before.
I cut scraps into 2.5″ widths. Then I placed this Tri Recs ruler on them to cut the triangles I needed for the sail. (You’ll only use the tall skinny ruler; they come two in a set.)
This is how you’d cut the triangles. See the very very tiny little triangles just off the left top corner of the ruler? They’re small but mighty! Be sure to cut them off because they help you line things up.
Put them right sides together and use that funky shape to line up them perfectly.
Sew the triangles together and just like that, you have a nice tall sail for your boat!
Add a 1.5″ x 2.5″ background rectangle to each side of the tall sail.
Use stitch-and-flip to make the boat bottom just as you did before. Sew everything together as shown below to make the tall sail boat.
You can see above that on the bottom right, my background patch is a little off and it doesn’t cover the boat fabric completely. This is why you leave the bottom fabric in place when you trim. I’ll use the bottom fabric as my benchmark and the block will still be accurate when it’s sewn into the quilt top.
Today’s giveaway is very special! The winner will get some Bitty Boats made by QM staff members. We’ll send you at least six and maybe more! You can incorporate them into your own scrappy Bitty Blocks quilt if you like.
For your chance to win, leave a comment before midnight Tuesday, July 7 MST. We’ll choose a random winner and announce it here.
Mi Peters is the winner of the July Sail Boats Bitty Blocks giveaway. Mi Peters has been notified by email!
Have fun making your Bitty Blocks and remember to visit our Bitty Blocks homepage for all the patterns and more ideas.