Moda Bake Shop Basics: Matching Points

Our celebration of National Sewing Month continues with another great Moda Bake Shop Basics tutorial today.


Hi Moda Bake Shop readers, it’s Amanda from Material Girl Quilts and I’m back today to share a few tips on what I do to create perfectly matched points in my piecing.  Now we all know that none of us are perfect, so don’t expect your quilts to be either!

Two of the most important things to do when you want matching points is to make sure that you (1) cut accurately and (2) maintain an accurate 1/4″ seam in your piecing.  I cannot stress to you enough how important these steps are and how they will make your sewing life much more enjoyable 🙂  If you struggle in these areas, I suggest you practice here first.

Ways to improve your cutting:

  • Purchase and maintain a quality rotary cutter (this means replacing your blade frequently!)  
  • If you use multiple sized rulers, I suggest you find the ones you like the best and stick with that brand.  Some of the brands can be off just a bit from each other and that will make a difference in your piecing.  My choice in rulers is Omnigrid.  I have all different shapes and sizes.
  • Measure twice and cut once!
Ways to achieve an accurate 1/4″ seam:
  • Use a 1/4″ foot on your sewing machine.  I have one and it makes all the difference in the world for me.
  • If you don’t have a 1/4″ foot, try placing blue painter’s tape along your machine marking the 1/4″ line.  
  • Take it slow!  If you can’t seem to maintain a straight seam, just slow it down a bit.
Now that we’ve covered these two fundamentals, let’s talk about matching up those points.  I almost always press my seams to the side (usually toward the darker fabric).  This helps tremendously in matching points when sewing rows together.  You want to make sure that each row’s seams are pressed in opposite directions as shown below.
This will enable you to “nest” your seams together.  As you place the rows right sides together, you can actually feel where the seams are and they will just fit snugly right next to each other and almost lock into place.
Here is a shot of the two seams nesting together.
Now that they are locked together, place a pin on the front side of the seam (the side that will be going into your sewing machine first.  Some people find it helpful to pin on each side of the seam lines and if that works for you, great!  Once you sew your two rows together, you will end up with beautifully crisp matching points.
Now you may be thinking, okay that’s easy enough, but what about matching up points when you are piecing half square triangles?!  Well, let me help you with that too.  One key step in matching up points when piecing half square triangles is to make sure they are all squared up and trimmed to the appropriate size (here I go with the accurate cutting again).  I know it can be tedious work, but the end result is so very worth it.
When piecing half square triangles together, it is wonderful if your seams are pressed in the opposite direction, but that doesn’t always work out once you start laying out your design.  If you can’t “nest” the seams like above, here is what I do.  First match the seams up perfectly and make sure your blocks are square with each other.  
While keeping a firm hold onto the matched seams in the corner, I start sewing from the opposite end of the block.  This works better for me than starting with the matched points.  My machine is happier when I do it this way because it doesn’t seem to like the bulk of the matched points when I start at that end. 
Keep a firm hold on those matched points all the way until they slide nicely under your 1/4″ foot.  If just holding them doesn’t work for you, pinning is always a good option.

 Now that you have some half square triangles sewn together into rows, you will once again press the rows in opposite directions to nest the seams together while piecing.

I ALWAYS pin the seams when piecing half square triangles.  If I don’t, they just don’t match as well.

There may be two ways that your half square triangles will meet up between rows.  One is when the points are on the same side of the seam as shown below.  Just take care when nesting your seams that those points line up and pin in place.

The result can be seen below.

The other way your half square triangles may meet between the rows is when the points are on opposite sides of the seam.  Once again, take care to match the points when nesting the seams and pin in place.

And you will end up with beautiful points like this…
I hope you found these tips to be helpful.  If you have any questions let me know and if you want to see what I have made with these blocks, head over to my blog to find out.  
Happy piecing!
Amanda 

Zig-Zag Baby Quilt

Hi everyone, it’s Amanda from Material Girl Quilts and I’m happy to be back on Moda Bake Shop today with a fun and modern baby quilt.  This pattern came to mind when a co-worker friend told me that he and his wife were having a baby.  They are a fantastic young couple that live in the city and I knew would appreciate a more modern flair to their baby’s new quilt.  The best thing about this tutorial is that it’s simple to piece and uses just 3 charm packs for the top!

3 charm packs (Bella solids in Admiral Blue (9900PP 48), Silver (9900PP 183) and Robin’s Egg Blue (9900PP 85)
1 1/2 yard backing (Oink a Doodle Moo chicken wire in Denim)
1/2 yard binding (Bella solid in Admiral Blue – 9900 48)


Divide and match up each charm pack into charm pairs as described below.
21 pairs – Admiral Blue and Silver
21 pairs – Silver and Robin’s Egg Blue
21 pairs – Admiral Blue and Robin’s Egg Blue

You will have a total of 63 sets of charm pairs (2 charm squares together).  With each charm pair, place right sides together and mark a line down the center of the square at the 2 1/2″ mark.

Sew 1/4″ on either side of the marked center line.

I did this all while chain piecing and didn’t even snip my threads after the first pass.  I just kept them all together and stitched on the opposite side of the marked line.

Once each charm pair has been stitched, cut on your marked line (between the two stitched lines) to separate into two pieced rectangles.

Press each pieced rectangle toward the darkest fabric.  Now you will need to trim each pieced rectangle down as shown below to measure 4 1/2″ square.

You should now have a total of 126 – 4 1/2″ pieced squares.  Lay them out on point as shown and instructed below with 18 rows of 7 blocks each.

Row 1 – Silver/Admiral Blue pieced squares
Row 2 – Admiral Blue/Robin’s Egg Blue pieced squares
Row 3 – Robin’s Egg Blue/Silver pieced squares

Repeat this order until you get to row 18.

When sewing the rows together, you will do it on the diagonal as shown below and then attach each row to each other matching seams to ensure your zig-zag is in alignment.

Once the quilt top is pieced together, trim off the edges to create a straight line.

Layer with batting, backing and quilt as desired.  You will need five 2 1/2″ x WOF strips for binding.

A perfectly sized 36″ x 48″ quilt for the modern baby in your life.

Amanda Castor
{Material Girl Quilts}

Windmill Quilt



Hello, it’s Amanda from Material Girl Quilts and I am so happy to be back on the Moda Bake Shop today sharing my latest tutorial.  I am a huge fan of Fig Tree & Co. fabrics.  Joanna Figueroa has an amazing talent of putting together the most beautiful designs and colors.  I chose to use Tapestry for this quilt, but the latest Fig Tree & Co. line in shops is Avalon and it is just as gorgeous.

Now that it is summer, it seems to be the season for weddings.  This quilt was designed for a beautiful new couple in our family that will soon be tying the knot.  I hope this quilt helps warm their new home together.

1 layer cake Tapestry by Fig Tree & Co.
1 layer cake Moda Bella Snow (or 2 1/2 yards cut into 32 10″ squares)
4 yards backing fabric (Tapestry Marskesh in Cobblestone)
1/2 yard binding (Tapestry Yasmin in Cobblestone)

Select 32 print 10″ squares and pair with 32 background 10″ squares.

With right sides together and the background square on top, mark diagonal lines connecting the corners with a pencil as shown below.

After your lines are marked, pin the blocks together in several spots and then sew 1/4″ on each side of the diagonal lines.

Now it is time to cut these 10″ squares into a total of 8 half square triangles (HSTs)!  For the first cut, line your ruler up horizontally through the center of the squares and cut.

Without moving any pieces, rotate your ruler and line it up vertically through the center of the squares for the second cut.

Again, without moving any pieces, now it is time to cut directly on the two diagonal lines between the seams as shown below.

When you open up all of the cut pieces, you will end up with 8 matching HSTs.

Press each HST away from the background fabric and trim to measure 4 1/2″ square.

Now select two contrasting sets of half square triangles and lay out as shown below to create one block.  Press the seams for rows 1 and 3 of the block to the right and rows 2 and 4 to the left.  Each block will finish at 16″.

Lay out your 16 finished blocks in four rows of four blocks in a way that suits you and piece together.  Layer with batting and backing and quilt as desired.


One 64″ x 64″ quilt perfect for a newlywed snuggle 🙂

Amanda Castor
{Material Girl Quilts}

Picnic In The Shade Quilt


Hello, it’s Amanda from Material Girl Quilts and I am so pleased to be back on the Moda Bake Shop with this latest project.  Picnic In The Shade has now become one of my favorite quilts.  I absolutely adore the PB&J line from Basic Grey (it’s not only pretty on the eyes, it feels amazing as well!)  The names and colors of the fabrics in this line are just too cute (Raspberry Jam, Bag of Chips, Fluffer Nutter, etc.)  My absolute favorite fabric from this line is the beautiful floral called Daisy Mae, it is gorgeous in every colorway.  So whether you decide to picnic on this quilt or put it on your bed, I hope you enjoy my latest design.

16 fat quarters (PB&J fat quarter bundle)
3 1/2 yards background fabric (PB&J Grunge – Picnic)
3/4 yard inner border fabric (PB&J Raspberry Jam – Fluffer Nutter)
1 1/2 yards outer border fabric (PB&J Bag of Chips – Tonal Picnic)
6 yards backing fabric (PB&J Daisy Mae – Picnic)


Block Cutting Instructions:
Select 16 fat quarters and from each one cut the following:

  • 5 – 5 1/2″ squares
  • 8 – 3 1/2″ squares
From background fabric cut the following:
  • 80 – 5 1/2″ squares
  • 128 – 3 1/2″ squares

Border cutting instructions:
Inner border – cut 8 strips 2 1/2″ by WOF
Outer border – cut 8 strips 5″ by WOF (Depending on the width of your fabric selection, you may need to cut 9 strips.  I was able to *JUST* make two strips pieced together work on each of the long sides of the quilt.)

Piecing Instructions:
Pair a background 5 1/2″ square with a print 5 1/2″ square (right sides together) and sew 1/4″ all the way around the squares as shown below.

Now you have 2 squares completely sewn together.  Line up your ruler on the diagonal from the top left corner to the bottom right corner and cut as shown below.

Without moving the fabric, line your ruler up diagonally from the top right to the bottom left corners and cut as shown.

Now you will have four separate “triangles”.

Open each of them up and press towards the background fabric to create four half square triangles (HST).

Repeat this step for all 80 5 1/2″ square sets.  This will result in a total of 320 half square triangles.
Now you need to square up and trim your half square triangles.  Using a small ruler, line up the 45 degree line with the diagonal line in your HST.  And trim/square up to be 3 1/2″.  Using this HST method, I almost always only had to trim off the dog ears from the seams, but you should check them all just to make sure they aren’t off before piecing them into the blocks.
Block layout:
Block A – Using the photo below as a guide, create 2 A blocks (per print fabric) using 8 trimmed 3 1/2″ HST, 8 print 3 1/2″ squares and 2 background 3 1/2″ squares.  You will have a total of 32 A blocks.

Piece each block row and press the seams towards the solid print squares.  Then sew the rows together and press toward the center row as shown below.

Block B – Using the photo below as a guide, create 2 B blocks (per print fabric) using 12 trimmed 3 1/2″ HST and 6 background 3 1/2″ squares.  You will have a total of 32 B blocks.

Piece each block row and press the seams in opposite directions with each row.  Then sew the rows together and press away from the center row as shown below.

Using 63 of your 64 blocks, lay them out in 9 rows of 7 blocks each, alternating between Block A and Block B as shown below.

Sew each row together pressing the seams in the odd numbered rows toward the right and the even numbered rows toward the left.  When sewing your rows together, you can either press all seams up, down or open depending on your preference.

Border Instructions:

  1. To determine the length of your side borders, measure the quilt from top to bottom in three locations (right side, midpoint and left side).  If they are not all the same measurement, then add those numbers together and divide by three to determine the appropriate length for your inner side border.  Using two 2 1/2″ strips of the inner border fabric, piece them together end to end and then trim to match the measurement you determined above.  Do this two times to create your two inner borders and attach them to the right and left sides of the quilt.
  2. Once you have pieced the inner side borders onto the quilt top, repeat the measuring instructions above to determine the appropriate measurements of the top and bottom borders (across the width of the quilt).  Once again, use two 2 1/2″ strips of inner border fabric sewn together end to end and then trimmed to the appropriate length per border.  Sew the top and bottom inner borders to the quilt.
  3. Following the same instructions as above to determine the new length of your outer border.  Using the PB&J line, I only needed two 5″ strips pieced together per side border.  Double check to make sure your fabric selection will be long enough.  If not, then use the 9th strip you created in the cutting instructions above, cut in half and attach one to each side border pieced strip and then trim to the correct measurement.
  4. Using the same method, piece and attach the top and bottom outer borders.

Backing Instructions:
Cut your backing fabric into two 3 yard pieces.  Then sew them together along the selvage edge far enough into the fabric so that the selvage won’t be seen once pieced.  You should end up with a pieced backing that measures approx. 84″ x 108″.

Layer your backing, batting and quilt top and quilt as desired.


One 75″ x 93″ quilt perfect for family picnics or your favorite bed.

Amanda Castor

{Material Girl Quilts}

Turn On The Charm Placemats


Hi there, it’s Amanda from Material Girl Quilts and I am so pleased to be back at the Moda Bake Shop today.  I am going to show you how to make a set of 4 placemats, perfect for any wedding shower gift.  And honestly, who doesn’t love a handmade gift?!


1 charm pack (Boho by Urban Chiks)
2 yards fabric for background, binding and backing (Boho basic in Meadow)

Cutting Instructions:

From yardage:
Cut three 5″ strips (for blocks) and then sub-cut those strips into 24 5″ squares
Cut eight 2 1/2″ strips (for binding)
Cut four pieces approx. 22″ x 16″ (for the backings)

Choose 36 charms and cut each into four 1 1/4″ x 5″ strips as shown below.

Assembly Instructions

*seam allowances are always 1/4″ inch
Using 6 strips from various charms per block, piece 24 – 5″ blocks, as shown below.  **Note do not press your seams until all 6 strips are pieced together.


 Press the seams all in the same direction.

Now select one pieced 5″ block and one 5″ background square. 

 With right sides together, mark a diagonal line across the back of the square as shown below.
Sew 1/4″ on each side of your marked line and cut on the line between the seams.
Open them up and you will have two half square triangles.  Press toward the background fabric.

Trim all of your half square triangles down to 4 1/2″ blocks.  Use the 45 degree line on your ruler to line up with the diagonal seam in the block.

Now choose 12 trimmed half square triangles per placemat.  The best thing about half square triangles, is that there are so many ways to lay them out and get different results.  I chose to use the layout below.

Here are just a few of my other favorite layouts with these blocks.  Play around with yours to see what you like best.

Once you have selected your layout, piece the placemat tops together, pressing your seams in alternating directions per row.

Layer your quilt top, batting and backing and quilt as desired. 

You will need two 2 1/2″ strips of binding per placemat.

Four placemats approximately 12 1/2″ x 16 1/2″ perfect for any new couple in your life!  Now maybe they will invite you over for dinner 🙂

If you make any placemats using this tutorial, I would love to see them!  You can also check out my blog for other tutorials.

Amanda Castor
{Material Girl Quilts }

Pezzy Lattice Quilt


Hi Everyone!  I’m Amanda Castor from Material Girl Quilts and I am absolutely thrilled to share my first Moda Bake Shop project with you today.
I made this Pezzy Lattice Quilt for a very special teenage boy and am pleased with the way it turned out.  I think the design works great with the Pezzy Prints, but can imagine it used with so many other Moda fabric lines. 
1 – Layer cake (I used Pezzy Print by American Jane)
*3 yds for background (if less than 42″ wide you will need 3.5 yds) – (I used Moda Bella Silver)
*4 yds for backing – (I used Deck Chairs Stripe in Summer from the Salt Air line)
*½ yd binding
At least 66″ x 78″ batting
6 ½” square grid ruler
*For this quilt I chose to use only 30 of the layer cake squares (I knew he wouldn’t want pink in his quilt and I didn’t use brown by my choice).  If you would like to use more squares, you will need to adjust the amount of background, backing and binding fabric as necessary.  Using all 42 squares would give you a quilt with 12 blocks across and 14 rows total and the final size would be approx. 72″ x 84″. 
All seams are ¼”
1)   Select 30 layer cake squares and cut into four 2 ½” x 10″ strips each.  This will result in 120 strips.  I chose 3 squares of each color selected.

2)  Cut 120 6″ squares from the background fabric.

3)  Cut along one diagonal of each 6″ background square creating two backing triangles.

4)  Each block will consist of one 2 ½” x 10″ strip and two background triangles.

5)  Place one of the triangles RST (right-sides together) roughly centered onto the strip and stitch (to make this go quickly, I chain pieced the first triangle onto each strip before adding the second triangle)

6)  Add the second triangle to the opposite side of the strip and chain piece as before.
7)  Set your seams and press towards the backing fabric.
8)  Place your 6 ½” square grid ruler on top of the blocks and square up, trimming away all excess fabric, leaving you with a 6 1/2″ block.  **You should take your time with this step, the squaring up is key to having matching points when you piece the blocks together!! 
9)  Now lay out your blocks to determine your desired look.  You can choose to have the corners start in an X or diamonds like mine.  I chose to create “columns” of each color instead of a random pattern. 
10)  Once you have chosen your final layout design, sew each of your blocks together row by row until it is done.  The key to achieving perfect points is also in the pinning.  Match each seam as shown below before sewing each block together.
11)  Layer with backing and batting and quilt as desired.  I created a smaller “lattice” design on mine.

One 60″ x 72″ Pezzy Lattice quilt perfect for snuggling under.


Amanda Castor
{Material Girl Quilts}