Create experiences that leave you in awe, for these will be the highlights of your life. ~Ryan Blair

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How-to Make a Grid Layout for Squares

Do you have lots of cut FABRIC SQUARES...  that would look great in quilt projects!! But need some motivation to get them there?

FABRIC SQUARES

It was after completing six separate color theme blocks; that I got to thinking.. wouldn't a grid work better for arranging these blocks? And reduce the shuffling of the pieces, if spacing was inadequate, as the layout process proceeded.

So... here is a way to save time and effort when planning the squares layout. In a later post, I will share more on the sewing process and the finished product.


OLD WAY:  LAYOUT WITHOUT A GRID

NEW WAY:  LAYOUT WITH GRID LINES

Since I was using a total of 81 squares to make these pieced sections, the instructions build a grid 9 squares wide by 9 squares high. These are 3-1/2" squares; so my grid blocks are 3-1/2" square. (You may of course, enlarge or reduce the grid dimensions.)


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So... here it is! 
This is a very portable mini design wall, that can be used anyplace you want to sew. 
Hope you find this helpful...

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HOW-TO MAKE A GRID LAYOUT FOR SQUARES
(Plans are for using 3-1/2" squares)


Supplies: 
     Fabric: 1 yard piece (1 m)  (I used flannelette.)
     A marker, pen, or pencil (your choice)
     Rotary tools: mat, ruler, and cutter
     Iron


A.) Preparing the Fabric
  1. First, you will need a piece of fabric. (Flannelette, felt, fleece, batting, fleece-backed tablecloth; whatever you have available to use.)
  2. I had a piece of beige flannelette in my stash. So this is what I used; and it will finally have a new purpose, as it was something I had bought for a workshop; and hadn't used since.
  3. This fabric piece should be at least 32" square if you are making the 81-block grid using 3-1/2" blocks. A one yard (1 meter) size works well, as it will provide a little extra on all sides. (The color is your choice.)
  4. Press it well to get out any wrinkles. Then lay it on your cutting mat to square up the edges. It does not have to be a perfect square, it will just look better with trimmed edges.
  5. Then folded in half, selvage edges together; give this folded edge a press to create a crease line on the fold. Open it up and fold it the opposite way and make another crease line on the second fold. (This is an easy way to mark the center lines on the piece of fabric.)  



B.) Marking the Grid Lines
  1. With a marking pencil or pen, draw both vertical lines and horizontal lines to create this 3-1/2" square grid on the fabric. There will be ten lines drawn in both directions to create this 81-block grid. Lines do not need to be really dark, as you are working closeup when arranging the fabric squares.
  2. Beginning from the center of the fabric; measure 1-3/4" from the crease line (shown as a red line below); to draw the first line. This line can be drawn either to the right or to the left of the center crease mark, and will be your guideline to draw the remaining nine lines. (Black lines shown below indicate where three of these lines would be drawn.)
  3. Draw each line spaced at 3-1/2" apart to make nine block spaces, along this direction. Draw as much of the line as your ruler permits; and continue across the fabric. Then, rotate your fabric so you can complete these lines to extend from about 1" from each fabric edge.
  4. Then turn the fabric, so you can draw lines in the opposite direction. Begin again as before, by measuring 1-3/4" from the crease line and drawing the first line. Continue until you have drawn enough lines to make nine blocks in this new direction.

RED LINE: CENTER CREASE  ----  BLACK LINES: GRID LINES 

GRID LINES MARKED IN BLUE



C.) Using the Grid Layout
  1. Clip the grid fabric to something solid, like a piece of wood or cardboard; and place it right next to your sewing machine. This provides a mini design wall that is portable and easily reached where ever you may be sewing, whether at home or somewhere else.
  2. Easily place your fabric squares as you plan your layout; and then, change any you wish to relocate. No pieces get crowded out as you assemble the layout. 
  3. One side of the fabric has the grid lines and the other is plain. Another great feature for classes or workshops. 
  4. Sometimes, I like to use straight pins to fasten the blocks to the fabric, for these reasons:  (a.) If the board gets bumped or a gust of wind comes along, from an open window or fan; it doesn't disturb the pieces already in place. (b.) When planning the layout, any pinned blocks indicate I like them where they are; and any not pinned are still changeable. I find this helps when trying to figure out a pattern. (c.) If another project takes priority, this can be folded and put away for later retrieval. 


PORTABLE MINI DESIGN WALL

USE PINS TO SECURE SQUARES

Spacing the squares evenly on an unmarked background... Now is easily accomplished!!

Plan your next project on a grid to facilitate a quicker layout arrangement. And, if you use a different size, then draw the grid to those measurements.
   

Be square.... in your own unique quilting style!!




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