Saturday, February 9, 2013

Block of the Month Club #1...Bow Tie

Hi everyone! Here is the first quilt block in the "Block of the Month Club"...The Bow Tie Block.

I would LOVE it if you joined the Block of the Month Club, but there's one thing you have to do. DON'T STRESS.

There is no pressure in this Block of the Month Club. If you make the April block in May, the block police will not be handing out citations. LOL !!

Here are my thoughts on this...

  • I will share a tutorial for a different quilt block each month...12.5 inches (unfinished size=the size of a single block before you sew it to the other blocks)
  • this won't be a 12 month plan...I'll just keep sharing a block every month for as long as I can. I am bound by the non-copyrighted blocks.
  • you can take one block pattern and make a whole quilt out of that one pattern (making one block a month or several all at one)  or...
  • you can wait for each month and make different blocks, then construct the whole quilt out of your blocks...stopping with size YOU want. Lap, throw, twin, queen, king etc.
  • use your favorite style of fabric...modern, traditional, 1930's, baby, brights, civil war etc
  • my examples will be scrappy, but you can use all the same fabric for all the blocks if you'd like
  • I will try to make each tutorial picture heavy and explain in detail for the NEW quilter. If you're experienced, you may only need the pictures for inspiration. 

Bow Tie Quilt Block

This block is made up of 4 bow a circle shape.

Here is what you need...

8 dark colored squares cut at 3.5 inches
8 light colored squares cut at 3.5 inches
8 dark colored squares cut at 1.5 inches

I keep the squares on an a cotton air conditioning filter to keep me organized and it's easy to carry from the cutting table to my machine.

Click HERE if you are interested in reading about will explain the need to buy a cotton air filter not a fiberglass air filter.

 Here is the arrangement of the 1.5 inch dark squares on the corners of the 8 light squares.

Close up...

This is how they will all look.

Pin if you want to be safe.

We will be sewing on the diagonal from upper left to lower right.

There are several methods for's one.

Draw a diagonal pencil line with a ruler.

Or you can use the markings on your machine.

The point of the block will be on the zero...see where I'm pointing?


  • sew with a SCANT seam

Definition of SCANT seam- sewing a seam that is a slight bit "SMALLER" than the desired seam width. One thread smaller.

When I sew corner triangles on squares, I use my regular sewing foot. There is more coverage of the foot on the fabric for better control of fabric.

Here is a scant seam...

See how the center mark of the presser foot is just a slight bit over to the right?

See my stitching just to the right of the pencil line?

Why do this??? The thickness of your sewing thread and the folding over of the fabric takes up the smallest of space, but it's does take up some.

This is true when sewing rows together too. When you're sewing block after block together, those "little" measurements add up...making for a smaller row of blocks than desired.

This will prevent your blocks from becoming too small and not the true desired size. Even if the block is a little bigger, you can always trim away, but you can't add with out taking out the seam.

Press sewn seam first. Then open, fold back and press again.


Now for the universal trimming debate.

"To trim or not to trim"...that is the question.

Some leave the full square to keep the true measurement of the square.

or trim to reduce the bulk. I always trim.

You can just eyeball it at 1/4 inch, because the size of the trimmed seam isn't crucial.

or be accurate and use your quilt ruler and rotary cutter and trim a true 1/4 inch.

If you want to be "really" accurate with the finished size of your square, you can use a square ruler and trim away any little bit of fabric that overhangs on the corner.

Place the ruler on the square and make sure the left edge is on the correct size of the this case 3 1/2 inches.

and the bottom edge as well.

Now look to the top right corner and any excess fabric will be beyond the ruler.

Use rotary cutter to trim away the excess fabric.

Here is the back of a trimmed block.

Now take your stack to the machine and sew the rest of the corner squares to the larger squares.

To save time, you can chain piece, which is sewing block after block without stopping and cutting the thread.

Just keep sewing and adding a new square to the chain of thread.

All of the squares chain pieced.

Cut them apart and then trim the extra fabric if desired.

All 8 need to be iron like the bottom right square.

Here is the placement of the squares

You can sew the blocks together any way you like, but here's how I do it.

First Row...with right sides together, fold over square #2 onto #1 and sew with a SCANT 1/4 inch seam.

Then sew #3 onto #4 in the same manner...

Here's where I use my 1/4 inch presser foot.

Now take the 2 sections you just sewed and place them right sides together. Make sure you keep them in the correct position though.

Right sides together.

Sew with SCANT 1/4 inch seam.

See the 1/4 marking on my machine? I'm just shy of that.

Now press all seams to one side.

Mine are all to the right on the back side.

Row one complete.

Do the same for all the other rows.

All squares sewn into 4 rows.

All seams ironed in the opposite direction

Now, with right sides together, sew row #1 to row #2 with SCANT 1/4 inch seam.

Then sew row #3 to row #4.

Match seams.

Pin to secure when sewing to keep seams accurate. Like that crooked pin? Don't run over your pins..LOL

Sew pinned rows right sides together.

Press sewn seams, then iron seams opened.

If you pin, the seam intersections should look like this.

Now sew the 2 sections, right sides together.

Press, then iron seam open.

This is one tradition Bow Tie Block in the black outline, but sewn into this configuration of 4 in a circle is really cute in a whole quilt or perfect for a Sampler Block of the Month quilt

Size is 12 1/2 inches...unfinished.

Unfinished size means the size of the block before you sew it to the other blocks in a quilt top.

Happy Quilting!!

Pin It


  1. very cool I might have to give this one a try as I have never made a bow tie block before.

    Robin in Washington State

  2. Thanks Karen, this is a lovely block. A good scrap-buster too! I'll sew along with you, see you next month,

    Happy Sewing!

  3. Thank you for your step-by-step instructions! I love the idea of a no-pressure BOM.

  4. Yes, I love it. I'll work on this on Sunday. Thank you. I've never made this block.

  5. Very nice block and wonderful tutorial! Thank you !

  6. Very clear instructions, thanks. Is it my imagination or have blogger switched away from treating tablets as Mobile/ cells? I seem to be getting every ones blog as desktop view, and I know you have lots of of followers but they can't *all* have read your post?

  7. This is a wonderful tutorial, Karen. I, too, am stuck in the storm. I just went to the store to stock up on project supplies in case our power goes out. Luckily it hasn't yet. I'm in MA. Good luck braving the storm, and I look forward to more posts. By the way, did you look outside? I'm sure we've already got 2 feet. Yikes!

    Thanks again!

  8. I would love to do this. I have only just begun to quilt a little, though. I have a question. Why is there puckering when I press my quilt pieces? Is the tension too tight? Do I need some special padded ironing surface? I should have posted this in the Q&A post. Sorry.

  9. Thanks for all the pictures, that makes it clear!
    Greetings! Francis.

  10. Great tutorial, Karen. Very clear and easy-to-follow directions.
    Question? As long as this is a BOM, will the block go together nicely for a finished quilt - all blocks being different?

  11. Love the block. Great, really comprehensive tutorial too.

    Hope your weather is improving!

  12. This will be a fun BOM. Might put your blocks into a row quilt my Bee is doing this year. Thanks for a FUN blog every time.

  13. I am about to start a t-shirt quilt and need this to keep me on track and add a few quilting blocks in the mix too! Thanks for sharing and inspiring! Love the detailed tutorial... hope you can keep that up... it really helps a newby quilter like myself to be successful! Kathi

  14. Great Tutorial, I pinned it new my new board Block of the month and will try to do this! Thanks!

  15. I'd love to join the club! Will you do linky parties or start a Flickr group so we can share photos? How about a button? You know, in your spare time!

  16. Great idea, thank you for taking the time to let us all join in on these blocks. I really like this one!

  17. This is a great idea - I love block of the months! I'll be sharing this on my blog too. Great, detailed instructions too. Perfect for a beginner. Will you be making a BOM Club button for us to share?

  18. Such a wonderful tutorial. Very helpful to me seeing the method for chain stitching in such a way; awesome.
    The colours of the block are beautiful and I can see this becoming a rather stunning looking quilt in any form.
    Cheers from snowbound Oshawa, Ontario.

  19. it´s a great, great tutorial! thank you Karen

  20. Great idea no pressure BOM I always wonder how quilters manage to stay in front, if your looking for a great inspiration site try quilters cache/blocks galore a great site

  21. Great tutorial~ I have
    never made this block and think I will join in. I like the no pressure. Thanks.

  22. This is wonderful. THANK YOU so much for the wonderful tutorial and many pictures and being descriptive with hints.

  23. I would like to join in if I may. Do we need to 'advertise' on our blogs about it or anything like that?
    Love the detailed step-by-step pics, etc. I have always wanted to make a bow-tie quilt. So now I feel very inspired, as you make it seem so easy!!

    Thanks SEW much Karen!

  24. This is a great tutorial, Karen. I'll put this on my list of to-do's. Just want you to know I've thought about you a lot the past couple of days. Hope you weathered the storm ok. My daughter is in Cambridge and sent some awesome pictures.

    Happy Sewing!

  25. This is a great tutorial, Karen. I'll put this on my list of to-do's. Just want you to know I've thought about you a lot the past couple of days. Hope you weathered the storm ok. My daughter is in Cambridge and sent some awesome pictures.

    Happy Sewing!

  26. I would love to join the block of the month. Do I need to do anything to join? This will be a great way for me to use up some material - I think I will join you in making it a scrappy quilt!! thanks so much for the great directions with all the pictures. That is very helpful!

  27. I think I'm going to join your block of the month. You can consider starting a flicker group so we can see everyone's blocks.

  28. Karen,

    Thanks so much for the wonderful pics and details. I'm so excited you started the BOM club. I can't wait to begin this. I have been following your blog around a month and I love your ideas!

  29. I have been working on a scrappy bow tie block quilt, from the Bonnie Hunter, Leader and Enders process. She did a Cheddar bow tie, where her background fabrics are all a cheddar cheese color. While I like a good sharp cheddar cheese, the color does nothing for me. So I have been using various colors of greys for my backrounds, and I am calling mine 50 shades of grey. So far I am about 1/3 of the way done with blocks, I believe.

  30. I have to say of all the quilting tutorials i've come across, this one is the most thoroughly written. :) It was a mystery at least to me how to sew the small corners onto blocks. For some reason at first glance, i thought there was more to it...obviously not!

    Great post and blog! Thank you and Have a great day!

  31. I just finished my block, I'll post a photo on my blog. Looking forward to the next block.

  32. Great tutorial, many new and useful hints!!! Maybe I'll join your club too, that circle bow-tie block looks very interesting!

  33. Hi Karen, I follow your blog every day. Enjoy it a lot. I'm going to join your Block of the Month. Love this block. It will be my first bow tie block. CATHY

  34. Wow! Your instructions make this look so easy. I think I'll give it a try. Thanks for the inspiration. c x

  35. Hi Karen! Just completed this first block and I have to tell you it was a cinch with your directions. LOVED it!! AND, I have been quilting on and off for the last 6 years or so - this is the first time that I used the scant 1/4 seam for the entire block. The seams went together like buttah! Never had this happen before today :) Thanks for the great instructions, pictures and hints. I'm off to look at block 2 now. I'll send you a picture of the block as my FLickr account won't let me in. Thanks again Karen :)


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