Patchwork and Quilting - Japanese Quilt Blocks

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Join us for our NEW monthly quilting course for confident quilters. In each workshop, you will learn how to make 1 block design which you can then repeat to make a whole quilt in the same design or combine with other quilt block designs to create a sampler quilt.

Over the first 3 months, we will be exploring Japanese Quilt block design. Japanese quilt blocks often look very simple but are invariably a challenge to make. This series of workshops is therefore aimed at learners who have already mastered the basics of cutting using rotary cutters and rulers, and accurate piecing and pressing who wish to take these skills up a notch and aim for pinpoint accuracy. 
These blocks require careful accuracy and you will need to have some prior quilting experience for this workshop.

Fabrics required: Typically, Japanese blocks are made in muted tones known as taupes in shades of grey, blue, brown, cream and peach.  Genuine Japanese taupe fabrics are hard to source in the UK and can be expensive but you can substitute with your own interpretation (as demonstrated in the four pictured blocks). Of course, you don't have to stick to this purist approach and can use any fabrics that take your fancy. However, you need a strong contrast between your patterned fabrics and background. Your background can either be a solid or have an unobtrusive overall pattern. 

You will need to bring your own fabrics for each session 

March - Straight piecing. This session will focus on accurate cutting, piecing and pressing. You will be able to choose one of the four blocks shown here to make in the workshop but will be given instructions for making the other three so that you can practice at home and make the cushion cover illustrated or four cushion covers if you wish to add wide borders.

March Fabric requirements: You will need at least two Fat Quarters for this session, plus a small amount of contrast if you wish to make the block illustrated with the coloured contrast centre. 


April - Exploring Applique In this session you will piece a Japanese flower motif, using a template to cut individual petals. We will look at simple raw edge applique as well as needle turn, English Paper piecing and Freezer Paper methods for you to try out at home.  

April Fabric requirements: You will need one 10" background square. 16 pieces of patterned fabric (at least 2"x4") of your choice for the flower motif. At least 3" square to make the central yo-yo.


May - Inset seams  In this session you will accurately piece elongated hexagons by machine using inset seams. You will then use your resulting block as a background on which to applique a simple traditional Japanese motif. This motif will feature bias strips and we will explore how to make this using a bias tape maker. 

May Fabric requirements:  Ideally, the hexagons will be pieced using three or more background fabrics from the same colour group (e.g all greys, all blues, all creams). In addition, you will need scraps of patterned or contrast fabric to make the applique design, plus one FQ of fabric in a complementary colour from which to cut bias strips for the decoration. 

In the May session, written instructions will be given for using your three 9.5" blocks in a wall hanging. 

You can come to one or some or all of the workshops. You do not need to have attended the previous block of the month classes to do this class.

Suitable for: Level 4 (Beginner Dressmaker)Level 5 (Advanced Techniques)

Workshop levels explained

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