Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fracturing blocks tutorial

I've been on a kick lately of making blocks,
then slashing them up, and putting them back together.
It's fun! It's suprising! It changes the whole look of the block! Love it.
I like this one since it allows me to add the yellow into a traditional block.
This one was for a quilting bee, and I wanted to add something suprising into the center block.

Anyway, it's not difficult to do, but it does take some practice to figure out where is going to give you the best results. It's more challenging to cross seam intersections with the slashes and make the seams line up afterwards. I'll offer this advice: the more narrow you can make the slash, the less distortion you have afterwards, and it looks more like the slash is floating within the block.

So I wrote this tutorial on creating X's or slashed in a block for a quilting bee, but then I decided not to use it. But it's a fun block that might be interesting for everyone else as well... so I'm posting it anyway! It's written for starting with a 9-patch block, but the block you are starting with doesn't really matter at all.
You can use the method in so many ways!
First, start with a 9-patch block. For the bee, the blocks are 3.5" square. On the diagonals, I used prints or solids that are COOL colors, so green/blue/purples.

For the other blocks, I used black, white, grey or any black/white/grey tone prints.

{I really should mention that I'm using 2 different blocks to create this tutorial. Apparently I got some shots on one and some one the other but not all on either one. sigh.}

So, sew together your 9-patches and let's get ready to fracture them:
First, use your ruler not to measure, just for a straightedge. Choose any diagonal and cut it. That's right, just cut right through it with wild abandon!
It's going to look something like this.

Next, take your yellow or orange scraps and cut a piece about 11" by 1 to 1.25" and sew it to one of the sides using a 1/4" seam. Press it. Then set your block back out and line everything up at the top.
See, the orange strip is sewed to the left side but just lined up on the right.
Carefully lay it over and pin. I like to use my cutting mat as a guide so that I know where to line up that top edge.
Sew and press. Lookin' good!
Now slash it again, but going the other way. However you want.
Sew another 11" by 1.25" piece to one side. Press.
Line it back up, then lay it over and pin it to sew.
Sew and press.
And trimming is always helpful....
Here's another one. These trim up to about 9.5" square. It's easy to adapt the tutorial for a larger block by just using larger squares. And if you use a 1" fracture with 1/4 seams, then you won't change the size of the block you started with before the deconstruction.


  1. great info wendy, thanks! i like the looks of these blocks.

  2. Thanks for the tutorial. I think I'll try this.


  3. Very cool!! Love that technique...just gonna have to try it!