Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tutorial: Quilt Block From The Fort by Plum and June


Hi, I'm Beth from plum and june.  I was so excited when I found out that Birch Fabrics was sending me a fat quarter bundle of the new Fort Firefly fabrics.  If you have ever visited my blog, you probably know that I love working with adorable novelty prints and the Fort Firefly collection is definitely adorable.  I especially love this collection of fabrics - not only for the creative and clever details in all the prints but also for the absolutely gorgeous color palette!  Okay, I'll stop gushing over this line and move onto the tutorial.

When I knew that the fabric was in route to me, I started drawing a few designs for a block/mini quilt.  However, as soon as I was about to fussy cut the first print, I realized that I definitely wanted to rethink my plan -  instead I chose to make a very simple project which features the details of the each print.  

To make the block, start by fussy cutting from one of the prints.  I'll include the measurements I used below but this design is easily adjustable so you can choose the size and shape of the center print. 

These are the directions if you just want to cut your fabrics as you sew.  
(1) Trim the center print into either a square or rectangle.  
(2) Choose a coordinating (or contrasting) solid fabric and cut a 1" x WOF strip.  From the 1" strip, cut a piece the length of the sides of your center print.  Sew to the center print (right sides together).  Press the seams.  Then from the same 1" strip, cut strips the new length of the top and bottom of your center  (length equals the original print plus the sashing you just added.)  
(3) Repeat with your second solid fabric only this time cut the fabric 1.5" x WOF.

(4) Following the same routine of sewing to the sides of the block first and then the top and bottom, cut your next print so that you have one strip 2.5"x length of the right side of block and one strip 5.5" x length of the left side of the block.  Attach those and press the seams.  
(5) Then cut one strip 2.5" x the width of the bottom of the block and one strip 5.5" x the width of the top of the block.  Press seams and you have a completed block.  If you are using a directional print, cut the fabrics in this step so that the pattern on your side borders faces the same direction as the pattern on top and bottom pieces.

Here are the measurements I used for my 3 blocks.  Remember, always sew the fabrics to the sides of the center first, press the seams, and then sew the fabrics to the top and bottom of the center.  Since I was making mini quilts (which I then decided to finish as pillow covers), my blocks are not a consistent size or shape.  If you wish to have all of your blocks finish at the same size, I would suggest either cutting a consistent size for the center print or adjusting the size of the border print - making the strips either smaller or larger.  You could always just trim the final block to size - depending on how much you had to trim, it might give you some nice size scraps for another project.

These numbers all refer to inches.  Here are the measurements for my block shown above with the picture of the girl serving cupcakes to her forest friends! This block finishes at 16" square.

For the following steps, always sew right sides together and press your seams after each step.  Trim when needed.

(1) attach the side pieces to your center block

(2) attach the top and bottom pieces

(3) attach the side pieces for the next border

(4) attach the top and bottom

(5) attach the side pieces for the 3rd border

(6) attach the top and bottom pieces

Since I was making the blocks into pillows, I added a 4th border. If you do this, figure out the final size you need and then just cut pieces of fabric in the measurements you need to get the block to finish at that size (don't forget to add in the seam allowances.)  For example, if you want your version of this block to finish at 20", you would need your side pieces to each measure 2.5" x 16" and your top and bottom pieces to each measure 2.5" x 20". But if you are putting the blocks together in a quilt, you probably want to finish the block with the 3rd border (the print) and then add the sashing after you have completed all the blocks.

(7) optional:  attach the 4th border to the sides first, press seams, trim, and then attach the pieces to the top and bottom.  

For the block (finishes at 14.5" x 16.5") where the squirrel is roasting marshmallows, I used the following measurements:

And for the block (finishes at 15.5" x 16.5") where the forest animals are playing in the treehouse (so cute!):

I used a similar design to make a small throw quilt.  I'll be posting more about that quilt with photos of the finish later this week on my blog, plum and june.  I'll also post a few mockups that I have been working on using these blocks to make various sized quilts and more photos of these projects.

Thanks again to Birch Fabrics for giving me the opportunity to work with these beautiful fabrics! 


  1. Absolutely perfect pattern for Fort Firefly...really shows off the graphics! Love it.

  2. Your pillows are so cute in such adorable fabric!!

  3. I love this fabric line. It would make a beautiful charity quilt. babscorbitt@ gmail dot com

  4. Great pattern for this line Beth! I love it all!

  5. The most exciting fabric line I have seen in ages!

  6. We absolutely LOVE this fabric! Great projects for the prints. Just lovely :)

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