• Quilted & Woven

Easy Log Cabin Block

Who doesn’t like the basic log cabin? It's so versatile - there are lots of ways you can arrange the strips, changing it's look each time. It’s a traditional block but can be modern and bold just by changing the fabric and layout. Let’s get started.

First, you need to have a plan - choose your block size and pick out your fabrics. Decide if you’re going to have light and dark, scrappy, or blending color shades. Now define the size of your strips and how many on each side. You should always do the math twice (sorry) so no mistakes are made.

Cut all your strips and the center square precisely. You'll need to be careful so that it is exact, it will make a difference. I like to lay them out in the order to be sewn. Some people keep them in silverware trays to keep everything organized. Whatever works for you - but now is not the time to clean out your kitchen drawers, just use what you have.

Now that all the strips are cut, we’re ready to sew. Make sure you know where the 1/4” spot is on your sewing machine because every piece needs to be exactly the same or it won't match up when you add the next strip. Sew the first strip to your center square then rotate that and add the next one to them both. I think it helps to press in between each step.

Keep track of your pattern and the order of the strips. It is so easy to get off track and once you realize the color strips of the blocks don't match up, you have to take it apart and start over. Yikes. I like to make a sample block to follow to help me keep on track, because inevitably I get called away to something else.

Keep rotating, adding a new strip and pressing all the way around till you have your finished block. Victory is yours!

Measuring is next. Is it the size you planned on? If so, celebrate - reward yourself. I find chocolate a satisfying reward.

If your block is not the correct size, you need to find the problem - usually the seams are off. I hate to say this but you’re going to have to "reverse sew"(that’s a nice way to say rip out your seam). I can't stress enough the importance of accuracy when making a log cabin block. Sometimes if a strip is just a tiny (and I do mean tiny) bit smaller or larger you can fudge it by putting the larger piece on the bottom and the feed dogs will draw it up gradually to fit with the smaller piece. To help me remember which piece goes next to the feed dogs, I call it "baggy bottom." Many times the final ironing will whip it into shape and that’s something to smile about. If it’s just a little too big you can trim an edge but only if it’s a small amount, otherwise your block will look off. You may have to take a smidge off all the way around so one side doesn’t stand out as being skinnier than the others.

I hope this blog has been helpful. Being accurate is so important and can be hard - especially if you're a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person, like I am. I always have to remind myself to pay attention to the details. On this block you really do need to “sweat the small stuff”. Happy sewing!

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