Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fractured Background Quilt Block Tutorial

With the popularity of my Modern Hexagon Quilt over on flickr, I thought it might be a fun tutorial to show you how I made that fractured background.  This tutorial will give you the how-to basics.  We'll make one block, using the same ideas as the larger fractured background.

For the larger quilt background, I used strips of varying cut widths all cut from selvage to selvage. So my strip set was 42" wide x about 55" or so.

This tutorial will use shorter strips cut between 2" - 3" wide. These are old "binding scraps" that I had in my scrap bin.

Step 1.  Stitch your strips together and press them with starch.  

Step2.  Fold one end over, matching right sides. This fold is about 4" or so.  Make sure this fold is NOT square or neat or tidy.  Just fold it.  You can see in the photo (above) how the cutting mat grid lines are un-even along the top folded edge.

Step 3.  Use a rotary cutter + ruler to cut off the actual fold.  Trim it very narrowly, removing just the folded edge.  If you are making a much larger background, just use scissors to cut along the fold line.

 Step 4.  Keeping everything in place, pull the newly cut piece slightly towards the right of left.  This will "off set" the stripes for the fractured look.

Step 5.Use a 1/4" seam allowance to stitch the two pieces back together.

Step 6.  Open the seam and press.  Its totally ok that everything is turning out uneven.

Step 7.  Fold the strips onto themselves again. This time, try to angle your fold in the opposite direction as your first fold.  -Though really, it doesn't matter, this method is intended to yield a haphazard looking fracture.
 Step 8.  Cut off the new fold again, give it a gentle pull to either the right or left sides to off-set the strips, and stitch the pieces together.  Once its stitched, open and press.

You can repeat these steps for as many folds/fractures as you like.

Step 9.  You will now have a very jagged mess.  AWESOME!  The next step is to simply square it up.  If you are making a block, you'll want to decided on some size that fits into your design.  If you are making a large quilt background, in my case with the Modern Hexagon Quilt, I tried to make the background as large as I possibly could.

Finishing up:  For this tutorial, the quilt block ended up being cut to 9 1/2" square. I then took the 9 1/2" square to good 'old photoshop to generate a fractured quilt block quilt.  Of course, if you really use this technique to make a series of blocks, each of the blocks would be different because the folds are done randomly.  But here's an idea of how it might look:

*Fabric used in this tutorial are Black-Ikea Sheet, Pink- Nicey Jane by Free Spirit, Red- South African Schwe Schwe.

This block is listed/entered in the Quilt Story Block Party! 

Fresh Poppy Design



free indeed said...

Very cool!

Connie said...

Great technique! Thanks for the tutorial.

tropicslady said...

super way too cool, your color combinations are superb! Good luck with the block party!

thecraftyquilter said...

What a Great Idea! I love how the blocks look all together in the finished quilt. Great tutorial. Got to bookmark this one!

Quiltstory said...

So fabulous! I love it, what a creative idea. Thanks so much for submitting for the block party, we really had so much fun so THANK YOU!