Thursday, October 27, 2011

Drunkard's Path QAL - Piecing your blocks

Now that you hopefully have all your fabric cut out, it's time to start piecing your blocks!  The original block-piecing tutorial has the instructions for how to piece this block, so you can refer back to that, but I thought I would share a few more tips as well now.

Drunkard's Path blocks

If you haven't yet, I strongly suggest sewing up a few sample blocks to get the hang of it, and trimming them down to size.  That way, if you are having any issues with the piecing you will be able to tell before you have sewn up a whole bunch.  I doubt you'll have a problem but it's always good to test things out, right?

Drunkard's Path chain piecing

Once you've tried out the piecing and gotten comfortable with it, you will hopefully be able to whiz right through piecing these blocks!  As you can see, they are totally amenable to chain piecing, which can make the piecing go really quickly.

After you piece your blocks, you will need to press them flat and then trim them to size... I personally like to sew some, and then press and trim them, then go back and sew some more, etc.  That keeps it more interesting for me than being left with a whole huge pile to press and trim at the end.  But hey, whatever way you prefer to work is fine of course.

As far as pressing seams, if you are planning to assemble your blocks in a design that has half, 3/4 or whole circles, then you may want to think about trying to press your seams in alternate directions so that they nest nicely.  If you aren't doing a design with any half, 3/4 or whole circles then you really don't need to worry about it because those seams won't be abutting anyways.  And really it will turn out fine even if you don't worry about it; for my original DP quilt, I just pressed some in and some out and then some of the seams ended up nesting and some didn't and it was all fine in the end anyways.

Drunkard's Path fabric cut out

As you can see I still have quite a few blocks left to sew up!  Can't wait to see your progress too.  And if you have any questions or tips to share, feel free to leave them in the comments or start a discussion thread over in the Flickr group!

{This post is part of the Drunkard's Path Quilt-Along that I am hosting with Kristie from OCD.  Check out my Drunkard's Path QAL page for the schedule and links to the posts so far, and feel free to join in any time!}


  1. YAY! I've had 16 blocks sewn together for a while and all my pieces cut. I will have to get moving on it again! Thanks so much :D

  2. So, why are you trimming your blocks to size AFTER they are sewn? Doesn't that make it harder to get them all identical, so that seams will match up exactly (if you choose a layout where seams are supposed to match)?

    I used rotary cutting templates to cut my pieces out to exact size prior to stitching, and I'm pinning the edges together before stitching as well. For me, the extra step of pinning is making it SO much easier to get perfectly smooth, flat blocks -- it also makes the sewing relaxing for me, because I would be a nervous wreck trying to do it the way you are doing. This is probably because you are way more experienced at this than I am, and because I am an anxiety-ridden bundle of frazzled nerves anyway! :-)

    By the way, what size are the blocks you're working on? Mine are giant 7" ones, and I picked the large size because I have some large scale print fabrics that my son picked out, and I also thought bigger blocks would be easier for my first time with curved seams. But now I'm thinking smaller blocks might actually be easier because there's more chance of distortion along that bias curved seam when the pieces are bigger and the seams are longer -- hence my pins.

    I stumbled onto your Drunkard's Path quilt along accidentally soon after starting my own drunkard's path quilt; I hope you don't mind my tagging along! If you're interested, you can see how I'm handling pinning and piecing my blocks here:

  3. Thanks for your comment Rebecca - I actually find cutting the blocks less precisely and sewing with out pinning, and then worrying about precision just at the trimming part to be easier - if you look back at the block tutorial it shows how to trim the blocks precisely so they all match up (it's not that hard, I swear!). That being said, I'm glad you found a technique that works for you! This QAL is all about approaching the block whichever way you prefer, and we're glad to have you joining in!

  4. Uh oh....I think i may have cut out some blocks from a new bundle of fabric that arrived last week. This is my first quilt-a-long, and I'm joining late. I've never done a quilt with a curved seam either. Me, over stretching myself??? never....
    I'm aiming for the larger lap quilt size, so i better get back to cutting some more. I've cheated somewhat and used a larger template so hopefully it'll be quicker.


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