Easy Stack Quilts
By Paula Doyle
You can teach Easy Stack Quilts either as a 3-hour, half-day class or as a full-day, 6-hour class. The half-day class will teach the basics of how to make the Easy Stack Four-Patch blocks, while the full-day class will teach students how to make the Four-Patch blocks, Bright Hopes blocks, and the X-cut blocks, plus a bit about the settings for the blocks and how to make additional blocks from any leftover fabric.
Class Supply List:
FABRIC: For the Easy Stack blocks: 3 yards (2.5 mtrs) of a single large-scale roller-printed fabric with motifs 8˝ to 24˝ apart as measured along the selvedge edge of the fabric. This should be one single, continuous length of fabric, NOT cut up into fat quarters or half yards, etc., and will yield about 72 Easy Stack Four-Patch 6˝x 6˝ blocks, which can be used in a variety of different settings in your quilt. If cost is a consideration please note that two people can share the 3 yards needed in class, with each person ending up with about 36 blocks.
• Easy Stack Quilts by Paula Doyle
• Sewing machine with a 1/4˝ foot for piecing, pins, scissors, thread, and rotary cutting equipment
• Fabric bolt insert OR piece of foam core board OR a June Tailor Cut n’ Press board
Additional fabric(s) will be needed to finish, back, and bind your quilt, but will not be needed for class. Fabric should be 100% dressweight cotton, 44˝–45˝ (110cm) wide and should be washed and ironed prior to class. Please note that batiks and digital prints are not suitable for this method.
Please note: The larger the repeat and the more colors and motifs you have in the fabric, the greater the variety you will have in the blocks you produce!
1. Demo (30 minutes)
Prepare your samples ahead of time. Have examples of a few different fabrics with different repeat sizes, or have students show their fabrics and show them how to measure the repeat. You can use your own fabric or one of the students’ fabrics to demonstrate the ripping, stacking, and tacking.
Talk about how roller-printed fabric is made, as opposed to block-printed fabric and digital-printed fabric.
Show class participants about how to measure a print repeat on roller-printed fabric.
Demonstrate how to rip fabric in half along lengthwise grain.
Demonstrate how to cut fabric into four pieces in line with a chosen repeated motif along selvedge edge of fabric.
Demonstrate how to STACK and then TACK the four pieces of fabric.
2. Get students to rip, cut, stack, and tack their chosen fabric (1 hour)
During this time the students will probably need your help quite a bit. You will also want to set up your sewing machine and ironing station for the next demo during this time.
COFFEE BREAK (10–15 minutes): Optional
3. Demo on Easy Stack Four-Patch blocks (20 minutes)
Prepare your samples ahead of time. Make at least four blocks to show, and have a few more cut and ready to stitch.
Demonstrate how to cut the stacked fabrics into 3 1/2˝ strips, then 3 1/2˝x 3 1/2˝ squares.
Demonstrate how to make the Easy Stack Four-Patch blocks:
- Lay out the four squares in the four block options
- Stitch the four-patch together in the chosen option, top half first, then bottom half of four-patch.
- Keep the four-patch sections connected with the stitching
- Show how to manipulate, then pin the seam allowances in opposite directions
- Complete stitching the block together
- Show how to press the completed four-patch block
4. Students cut, lay out, then stitch their own Four-Patch blocks (1 hour)
LUNCH FOR FULL DAY SESSION (1 hour): END OF HALF DAY SESSION
5. Demo on Easy Stack Bright Hopes and X-Cut blocks (30 minutes)
Prepare your samples ahead of time. Make at least four of each of the blocks to show, and have a few more cut and ready to stitch. A nice touch would be to prepare and give a “practice block” kit ready to each student to make and take home for both types of blocks.
Demonstrate how to make Bright Hopes blocks using a partial seam.
Demonstrate how to make X-Cut blocks using starched fabric.
6. More stitching time for students (1 hour)
COFFEE BREAK (20 minutes): including SHOW AND TELL OF BLOCKS MADE BY STUDENTS
7. Demo on how to use remaining bits and leftover strips of stacked and tacked fabrics to make additional blocks (20 minutes)
Demonstrate how to cut remaining stacked fabric into pieces with a 3 1/2˝ measurement in one direction
Demonstrate how to piece the segments together into four identical strips
Stack and tack the strips together
Cut stack into 3 1/2˝x 3 1/2˝ squares to make additional Four-Patch blocks.
8. Additional sewing time for students (30 minutes)
9. Wrap up, plus discussion or demo on options for settings for Easy Stack quilts
Prepare your samples ahead of time. Make up a couple of Easy Stack blocks with one or more settings from the book, such as the Garden Maze setting in the Texas Trails quilt or the Floating Squares setting in the Floating Florals quilt.
Demonstrate how the blocks are sewn into the settings, then show photos from the book.
Hand out free Love Ring bonus pattern (optional).