Saturday, March 5, 2016

Kite Tails Quilt Block Tutorial

Each month, I am making two blocks from my scraps, in the colorway of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

The blocks are similar to a traditional pattern called Kite Tails.
To create one 12" block:
Start by selecting FIVE background fabrics (or one!). Trim each to 3.5" wide x 19".
Select FIVE print fabrics. Trim each of these to 1.5" wide x 19".

Lay them out in an order that pleases.  
(Note: The second colored strip will end up being in the center, running diagonally across the block)
Using a 1/4" seam allowance, join all the rows to create one rectangle, approx. 19" x  21" wide.
Press the seam toward the skinny, colored strips.

Align the pieced unit on your cutting mat, and cross-cut Twelve(12) 1.5" wide strips.

Starting from the bottom of the 12 strips, slide them to the right, so that they stagger.
(My pink strip was short, please pretend there are two full squares of pink are present at the top-left!)

It'll look like this:
A note about block direction: So far, I am making all my blocks the same direction, sliding the strips to the right as I go up. I may switch later in the year, to make half of my blocks slide to the left)

OK, next we need to "square it up", to prepare the strips for piecing.
I think of this as a vertical 'datum line' that needs to be created,
The line will run vertically up, from the left edge of the second print (this print will be the bottom-left corner of the block)
My method to create this line is to remove the stitching from the that first seam, on the bottom row.
Seams will need to be removed every third row, running vertically from there.
Once these are removed, the second and third strips can be cut with a rotary cutter.
BTW, use a seam ripper very carefully for these.
So as not to distort the pieces, I cut several stitches from one side,
then remove the thread from the other.

Create a vertical line on the right side as well, removing stitches and cutting each strip, upward from the left-edge of the fourth colored square.

Next, use the pieces that have been removed to fill in and complete the rows, until your strips line up on the vertical edges.
Once you have them all laid out, go ahead and join them together!
Match and nest the corners as you sew the rows together.
I use a smaller stitch size here because I'll be pressing these final seams open.
Oh My, look at all those leftovers!

Using leftovers to make borders as I go:

I had thought I would create a way to make the block that did not create so much waste, but instead I am using the leftovers to make blocks that I plan to use in the quilt layout - probably the border...

Line up the leftovers and cut them apart through their centers.
Use your seam ripper to remove any background pieces that are too small, and sort all the pieces into stacks so you can complete as many units as possible.
For now, I am joining these together in groups of eight, the perfect length for a block when these are set on point.

Want to add a heart to your blocks?

Just replace one square with a piece 2.5" by 1.5".!
So Cute!

Did I mention I LOVE making these blocks!
Every month, I look forward to the new color announcement so I can reveal more of this quilt!
Until April, they are safely stowed..

 Sew Simple Saturday is a great place to share tips and tutorials!
Sew and Sow Farm
The linkup is hosted by Jan at Sew and Sow Farm, on the first Saturday of each month!

Jan is launching a Little Dresses for Africa SewAlong,
with a tutorial and more information posted today!
Sew and Sow Farm

Quilting is more fun than Housework
Quilter in the Closet


  1. I love the pizza box storage! Thin crust blocks!

  2. I have never seen that block before! I love it. Thank you for the great tutorial. I will have to bookmark this post for sure as I would like to give those blocks a try! Thank you for linking up! xo jan

  3. That's a really unusual block and I'd never have come up with that. Thanks for the tutorial. It looks like it will be a fabulous quilt, and I love your border plans. The little heart is so cute!

  4. Great tutorial - thanks for sharing with us!!

  5. LOVE that you are piecing the border as you are making the blocks. A real time saver and a GREAT use of scraps!!

  6. I so want to make this -- it's beautiful. Thanks for the tutorial !

  7. Your tutorial is very well done. This pattern is new to me, but it looks easy to assemble. Keep up the good work!

  8. Thanks for sharing your blocks and tutorial with Oh Scrap! Tastiest pizza ever!

  9. That's such a cool block, and a great way to eat up scraps! I'll have to remember this one. :) (Your pizza storage solution made me grin!)

  10. This is a really cool block and tutorial Heidi! I love the look and it seems like a great way to use the scraps from other projects!
    I burst out in laughter when I realized what you were using to store your finished blocks. Very ingenious and green!

  11. This is a really cool block and tutorial Heidi! I love the look and it seems like a great way to use the scraps from other projects!
    I burst out in laughter when I realized what you were using to store your finished blocks. Very ingenious and green!

  12. A great scrap buster. Thanks for sharing the "how to".

  13. Thank you for sharing this! I can't wait to try some!


Thank you for sharing your comments!

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