Patchwork tutorial 01: A checkerboard block

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The first patchwork project is really simple and is made by stitching together nine squares of fabric in a checkerboard pattern.

  • Fabric (100% cotton reccomended)
  • Machine thread (cotton or polyester)
  • Sewing machine
  • Quilting ruler 
  • Roller cutter
  • Cutting mat, especially for use with rotary cutter. 
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Cutting mat
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Quilting ruler
roller cutter
roller cutter

What fabrics to selects: Select two contrasting solid colors or two coordinating prints or a print and a solid.
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Two contrasting solids

Pre-wash all your fabrics in order to allow the fabrics to shrink. By this, you minimize the distortions caused by different shrinking between fabrics, when the finished piece will be washed. Press all fabrics with the iron.

Step 1: Lay the fabric on the cutting mat and place the ruler on the fabric. Hold the ruler firmly in place with one hand and with the roller cutter straighten the cut ends of the fabric. Reposition the ruler on the fabric, ligning the trimmed edge with the appropriate measurement on the ruler. Hold the ruler with one hand and cut the fabric guiding the roller cutter along the edge of the ruler. Cut one strip of fabric across the entire length (width 4'' or 10cm).
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Use the quilting ruler and the roller cutter to cut a 4'' (10cm) strip of fabric
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Cut across the entire length of the fabric
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Step 2: Use again the ruler and the cutter and cut five squares from the orange strip. 
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Step 3: Repeat the previous steps and cut a 4'' (10cm) strip out of the blue fabric and four squares (4''x4'') (10x10cm) from the blue strip.
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Cut 5 orange fabric squares and 4 blue fabric squares
Step 4: Arrange the squares in a checkerboard

Step 5: Pick the two lower left squares and place place them, one on top of the other, right sides together with their edges aligned. Pin the pieces together along the left side, by insterting the pins perpendicular to the edge. You can also baste the pieces with a tacking stitch.

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Step 6: Place the fabrics under the presser foot and begin stitching. The seam is sewn using a 1/4'' (6mm) seam allowance. Often the distance from the needle to the edge of the foot is 1/4'' (6mm). Remove the pins as you move forward. 
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Place the fabrics under the presser foot and begin stitching.
The two squares stitched together
The front side of the pieced squares
The back side of the stitched squares

Step 7: Press with the iron the stitched seam before piecing it with another piece. Seam allowances are usually pressed together to one side.
Press the piece with the iron.
Step 8: Lay another orange square above the blue square and pin it to the opposite side of the blue square.

Step 9: Stitch with the sewign pachine a 1/4'' (6mm) seam, creating a three square strip.
The front side of the strip
The back side of the strip

Step 10: Repeat the same steps to make three strips.
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Three-square strips
Step 11: Take the two lower strips. Pin the bottom strip to the middle with right sides together. Align the seams, insetring pins in the middle of the seams.

Step 12: Stitch a 1/4'' (6mm) seam to piece the strips together. 
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Step 13: Press with the iron the seam open before stitching the third strip.

Step 14: Place the third strip over the middle strip. Pin and stitch a 1/4'' (6mm) seam.

 Step 15: Press with the iron both seams. The nine-square block is ready

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