Cutting fabric – for the wrong pattern

My February patchwork challenge is providing me with a lot of mental stimulation, as I’m new to sewing patchwork and have been finding triangles challenging to do well.

So when a couple of girls from the knitting group that this challenge comes from had success with the square, it was quickly decided the rest of us might need an evening demo.

As it was I was the only one who made it who didn’t know what to do, so I had a really good evening learning the ‘no waste’ patchwork cutting method. With food and wine aplenty, a polite and reassuring tuition on fabric cutting and sewing (‘don’t cut towards you!’) I was positively beaming that this little monster of a 12 1/2inch square was not going to beat me. (spoke to soon!).

Until, having sewn and cut my half square triangles the conversation turned to how the wrong pattern had been used for the demonstration square and how funny it was that they look so similar. I mean there was actual laughter. I was less impressed I’d just worked out I wasn’t doing the right square. Nevertheless I remained calm and carried on, deciding I was learning something useful anyway. So it seems Union Square has a sister pattern called Union Squares – which if you look carefully, is not the same.

The one I should be making:

Ooops – the one I’ve made:

So in all my eagerness to cut fabric I have now created the wrong square. I mean you get the same shape, its just constructed differently. And looks different. Damn.

So I’ll have a go at doing the right one before the month is out. But if like me you’re new to patchwork here are some helpful hints I learnt whilst under the influence of wine and friends who pick the wrong patterns.

Using the patterned picture above for Union Squares- the dark red is fabric 1, the patterned is fabric 2 and the white is fabric 3.

– To start this block I cut 3 lots of 5 1/2 inch squares from each of my fabric choices, (this allows for seam allowance).

– To create the half square triangles (the big ones) I pinned together a fabric 1 square and a fabric 2 square (right sides facing). Mark a pencil line across one diagonal. Now the trick to no waste triangles is not to sew on the line, but 1/4 inch either side of it and then cut on the line. This leaves you with 2 half square triangles sewn neatly together. Ta Dah!! After a couple of glasses of wine that was very impressive.

Repeat this with fabric 3 and fabric 1. Then you can sew these together to create the squares of bigger triangles.


– To create the quarter square triangles you need a fabric 2 and a fabric 3 large square pinned together. Draw across both diagonal lines and and sew either side of both of the lines. The cut along the lines and cut the triangles in half. This gives you the little half squares of triangles. OMG, how cute!!

– The final fabric 1 and 3 squares needs to be cut into quarter squares. No sewing.

Apparently don’t panic that your quarter squares of triangles are smaller than the quarter squares of fabric 3. They’re clearly different sizes but there’s a lot of seam allowance here. So if you sew a triangle square to a plain square do so lining them up from what will be the centre seam.


From here I am best not to share any pearls of my frankly dodgy wisdom on sewing, I am but a novice attempting things beyond my ability. As you can see:

IMG_2883 IMG_2885

The purple triangles were annoying me so much I redo them, but it wasn’t much better as you can see. And the bloody square measures 11 inches not 12. Argh!!


So I’m going to call it quits with this one and use it for a cushion cover or something other than a quilt. Time to move on to the block I should have been doing this month….. fingers crossed for a better result!

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2 Responses to Cutting fabric – for the wrong pattern

  1. Pingback: Sewing the right pattern for February’s patchwork | Tinkerbellknits

  2. Pingback: Purple morning star – patchwork challenge | Tinkerbellknits

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