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Lesson # 2 - Rectangles

One of the most often used shapes in quilting is the rectangle.  Rectangles are easily modified to make other shapes, like the flying geese, and star points.

Pictured above is a rectangle make of pieced strips cut from 4-inch squares.

We are going to practice making rectangles, and then we are going to cut them down to squares.

If you have 4-inch squares, use your ruler to cut them into 1 1/4 inch wide strips.  You will be able to get three strips out of each 4-inch square, with only 1/4 inch going to waste.

If you are cutting your squares out of fat quarters, practice cutting 1 1/4 inch strips.

If you sew four 1 1/4 inch strips together, you should end up with a piece that is 3 1/2 inches wide.  ( 1 1/4 times 4 is equal to 5 inches.  Take away 1/2 inch for each seam allowance, and that equals 3 1/2 inches).

Again, this is a good test for your 1/4 inch seam.  If your rectangle is not 3 1/2 inches, you need to adjust your seam width and check your cutting.

It is quicker to cut multiple layers of fabric at the same time, but when you are learning, just do one layer at a time.

One of the uses for rectangles sewn together is to make what is called a "piano key" border on a quilt. As you can see from the picture on the left, the border is made of of joined rectangles. It looks like a keyboard, hence the name.


In the picture below, a 4-inch square is being cut down to a 3 1/2 inch square.  If you have 4-inch squares, practice cutting them down.

Join 4 of your  strips of fabric cut 1 1/4 " wide.
Then trim these to 3 1/2 inches so they will be a square.

Do not throw away fabric, unless it is very, very small!  Quilters save every bit and piece of fabric possible for use in other projects.

Practice until you get them right, and then set the good ones aside for future use.  You can now combine the whole squares with the squares made from the pieced strips.

See the Log Cabin Challenge Block for what you can do with just Squares and Rectangles.

  On to Lesson #3 - Triangles

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