Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tutorial: How to Sash Tumbler Blocks

So you'll have to forgive me because this is my first tutorial and I can't guarantee that it will be any good! When I decided to sash my tumbler blocks for Bean's Harry Potter Quilt I found that there wasn't an awful lot of information available online about how to sash tumblers. So incase anyone else is interested in sashing tumblers, here is how I did it..

Just a quick note, while I used my Accuquilt GO! to cut my tumbler blocks and strips you can also do it all with a rotary cutter and acrylic templates :)

Step 1. Cut out your tumbler blocks. I used the Accuquilt GO! 3.5" tumbler die (which is also compatible with the GO! Baby). Lay out your tumblers in your preferred pattern.

Step 2. Cut strips using the GO! 2.5" strip die (I used the Baby compatible strip die that cuts 2 strips at a time). I marked my strip die so that I could lay a 2.5" strip along the centre blade and end up with 2x 1.25" strips.

Lay strip along centre blade to end up with 2x 1.25" strips

From 2.5" to 1.25"

 Step 3. Using your rotary cutter, cut your 1.25" strips into 4" lengths. Place one strip on the right hand side of each tumbler block, except the last tumbler in each row.

Step 4. Chain piece the each tumbler+strip. I did these in their row order so that I didn't get my blocks mixed up. Trim the strips to match the edges of the tumbler blocks. I will show you why this is important later!

Square up your tumbler blocks. I promise you, it will save your heartache later!

 Step 5. Align your two tumbler+strip blocks. Yes, these are meant to look like they're on an angle - they will straighten out when you press them. The notches on the Accuquilt tumbler blocks make the alignment a breeze. Sew together (these are fairly easy to chain piece as well, but if you find it confusing don't worry about it!) and repeat until your row is complete. Repeat for all rows. Press seams (if you haven't already).

I pressed my seams open, but you can do them to one side if you prefer.
The bottom row is not straight, compared to the top row.

This is what happens when you are lazy and don't square your blocks. I had to unpick them and fix them.
LAZY = More work overall!

I started from the middle and worked my way out.

I also got impatient and pressed all my seams at the end.
I mean, here are all my completed rows!
Once my rows were complete I realised that it would be easier to do the horizontal sashing if the rows were squared up. This led to:

Step 6. Cut enough tumblers from your sashing fabric to match the number of rows (eg, I had 12 rows, so I cut 12 tumbler blocks). Fold them in half and crease. Open back out, place a quilting ruler along the fold line and cut in half using your rotary cutter. This gave me 24 half tumblers - one for each end of the 12 rows.

Crease in the centre

Place quilting ruler along the fold line & cut

Half tumbler blocks

Place half blocks at the ends of each row.
 Step 7. Sew half tumblers to each end of your rows. Press again.

Step 8. Lay out your rows and measure your longest row. Cut the 1.25" strips to suit. (I added a little extra for good measure)

 Step 9. You can start wherever you want but I started in the middle because that was where my design started and I wanted everything to match up from there. Attach sashing to one of the centre strips. Press.

 Step 10. With right sides together, align tumblers. Match the centre point and the ends. Hold fabric taut as it feeds through the machine (see note below.) Press.

Note: You can pin as much as you like - I pinned each end, and the centre. Some of my rows appeared to be a fraction shorter or longer than the one preceeding it. This is most likely because I am lazy and my sashing was not 100% exactly 1.25". I overcame this by matching the centre point and the ends and then holding the fabric taut as it fed through the machine so that a) the row stretched or b) the sashing stretched as needed. Almost all of my blocks ended up matching perfectly  (or near enough) - there was only one that was visibly offset by a max 1/8" (bottom RH corner).
Pin at the centre point

Open out and press.

 Step 11. Pin sashing to each edge. It will come together quicker if you do two rows together instead of each row individually. Sew and press.
 Step 12. Repeat steps 11 & 12 until all rows have been sashed.

Step 13. Complete as required - border, bind, quilt etc.
Complete! (Well, just needs squaring up..)
As for me, now that the central tumbler section is complete I can move on to the split drunkard's path stars that I'm planning to use as a "border". Stay tuned!


  1. Wonderful tutorial. Your quilt top looks like stained glass with the black sashing.

  2. Love the look of the sashed tumbler block. Great Tutorial too! Thanks for sharing

  3. Excellent tutorial. Featured it on the Quilting Gallery's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Quilting.Bloggers

  4. That came out so cool. How easy to do. Thanks for the tutorial. I'm going to add this to my list of quilts to do.

  5. Excellent tutorial and beautiful design. Great job!


  6. Wonderful tutorial and I love the sashing! Thanks for sharing.
    Quilting by the River

  7. Great tutorial! It is so lovely and I love the secondary pattern in the colors. Thanks for linking up @ "This Week".

  8. Oh wow, that is fantastic!!

  9. I love the quilt, It is on my todo list.


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