It’s not the title of a novel by Daphne du Maurier, although you could be forgiven for thinking it might be. No, Blackford’s Beauty is a classic quilting block. Living up to its name it is a very pretty block when made well (lots of points in this one – no pressure). Follow me as we embark on Block 5 of our Quilt Sew Along and breathe life into a Blackford’s Beauty all your own.
BLACKFORD’S BEAUTY QUILT BLOCK
Finished Size 12″ (Unfinished 12-1/2″)
Blackford’s Beauty quilt block has been around for a long time. It is a classic block made from squares, rectangles and triangles. There’s a bit more to it than some of the blocks we have made so far, so take your time and enjoy building this one.
You will need three, contrasting fabrics for this block as well as the background fabric.
A. One 16″ x 2″ strip (blue)
B. One 16″ x 2″ strip (white)
C. Eight 3-1/2″ x 2″ rectangles (white)
D. Four 2″ x 2″ squares (blue)
E. Eight 5″ x 2″ rectangles (red)
F. Eight 2″ x 2″ squares (light blue)
G. Eight 2″ x 2″ squares (white)
H. One 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ square (light blue)
The background fabrics for this block are B, C & G.
- All seams are 1/4″ and I use a stitch length of 1.8.
- As a rule, you would press your fabric seams towards the dark side (darker fabric) but not always. I finger press my seams before pressing with an iron. This allows me to change the seams’ direction if needed without stretching my fabrics.
- In bulky areas press your seams open as this will help reduce thickness.
We are going to begin by making all four corner units. We are going to use ‘strip sets’ to make the four patch or checkerboard units that sit in the corners. This method will help speed things up and there will be a lot less cutting.
Take your two 16″ x 2″ fabric strips A and B and place right sides together (RST). Now pin along the length of your strips aligning your edges as you go. This will help stop your fabrics from traveling as you sew. Now stitch along the length of your fabrics. When finished finger press your seam towards the darker fabric (dark side) before fixing the seam in place with your iron.
Then cut your unit across the rows into eight 2″ units.
Take two of your units and place RST lining up the edges and nesting your seams and sew down the right-hand side.
Before you open your four patch take your seam ripper and unpick the two or three stitches that lie above your horizontal seam. Don’t cut them, just unpick them. Do the same on the other side.
Turn your four patch with the wrong side facing up and finger press your seams in an anti-clockwise direction. As you get closer to the middle your seams should fall open to make a mini four patch in the centre. Press flat with your iron.
Now make three more identical four patch units.
Lay out a complete corner unit using one of your four patches, two of your white 3-1/2″ x 2″ rectangles C and one blue 2″ x 2″ square D.
Now sew the top two pieces together followed by the bottom two to form two rows. Make sure that your seams are pressed in the right direction – see image above.
Then sew the two rows together making sure you align all your edges and nest the centre seam by pushing your fabrics towards each other until they butt tightly. Use pins to hold everything in place then sew your final seam.
Just as before take your seam ripper and unpick the two or three stitches that lie above your horizontal seam on both sides. Don’t cut them just unpick them.
Turn your unit over and twirl your centre seam by finger pressing your seams in an anti-clockwise direction before setting with an iron. You should now have two little four patches on the back of your unit.
Now make three more.
Now we will make the arms of the cross, using the stitch and flip method. We will be making each part of the cross in pairs, so that we are sure to get the ‘V’s pointing in the right direction.
Take two of your red 5″ x 2″ rectangles E, two light blue 2″ x 2″ squares F and two white 2″ x 2″ squares G. On the wrong side of the small squares draw diagonal lines from corner to corner. Make sure the patterned pieces are all pointing in the right directions – see image above.
Now place the small squares on top of the red rectangle (RST). Line up all your edges and use pins to stop your fabric shifting then sew on top of your drawn line.
Now trim away the excess fabric leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Open out your two units and finger press your seams in the direction of the arrows before fixing with your iron.
Then sew the two units together down the centre. Make sure you nest your seams by pushing your fabrics towards each other until they butt tightly. Finger press your seam open then fix with your iron.
Now lay out all your units to form the Blackford’s Beauty block. Make sure that everything is pointing in the right direction.
Keeping your fabrics in order, sew them together one row at a time, taking care to nest your seams and match your points. Finger press your seams in the direction of the arrows before fixing with an iron.
Finally sew your completed rows together pressing your seams towards the centre. Don’t forget to match your points and nest your seams together as you go.
If you have sewn your block together accurately it should measure 12-1/2″ square but if you need to trim it make sure you leave 1/4″ seam allowance on all your points.
Your beautiful Blackford’s Beauty is now complete!