sewing + quilting confidence grows here, tip by tip

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Single Irish Chain Block Tute: My April 2014 NYC MQG Bee Block

The final Bee Block of the Bee year and April's NYC Mod Guild Queen Bee is Maren and here's her fabric selection Treasure - Patience from the Wish Collection by Valori Wells for Free Spirit and a yummy raspberry pink solid, and she's chosen a Single Irish Chain block for us to make.

If you'd like to have a go at making the block yourself here's my photo tutorial

A Single Irish Chain Block

Cut 4 of 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles (shown floral)
4 of 2.5" x 8.5" rectangles (shown floral)
1 of 4.5" square (shown solid)
8 of 2.5" squares (shown solid)

Lay out design as shown below

Sew each of the centre rows and the two outer columns of squares together using a scant 1/4" seam.  Follow me in the photos below noting how I've separated the pieces and moving on with me through each image joining the seams as shown.  Don't press your seams yet - we'll talk about that when we're further ahead with the sewing.

Let's start with the centre section.

Now those side columns.

As you can see above the 3 sections are coming together so let's take a look at the back to see how I've pressed each seam.  I've alternated the direction of each row so I can nest my seams together in the next stage and create perfect seam joints.  If you're not sure how to nest your seams you can learn how to do it here in my Easy Scrappy Nine Patch Tute 

Now back to the sewing.  Again using a scant 1/4" seam join the rows of the centre section as shown in the photos below.

Time to check the direction of those pressed seams.

Then join the side columns to the centre section.

And here's your finished block with perfect seam joints.
Unfinished size 12.5" square/Finished size 12" square.

And a final look at the back seams.

And a last look at that block.  In this photo below you can see the 3D effect that we've given the block just by the direction we pressed the seams - the centre block is the highest and the outermost perimeter blocks are the lowest.  Maren's colour choices have made this more obvious too with a strong warm raspberry that comes towards you while the cooler grey floral sits well back.

TIP:  You can use this visual receding and advancing achieved through colour and seam pressing in all blocks to create different effects in your quilt design.

As always you can check out all the blocks that our Bee make for Maren on my Quilty - Single Irish Chain Block Pinterest Board - I'll add more pins as each person in the Bee posts photos of their finished blocks and you can see my NYC Mod Quilt Guild Post here too.

Featured on:
Inspired Us Thursdays: Sew Needle Stitch Hook, a link party of fiber arts. | The Inspired Wren

Clicking on an image will take you to the new page of crafty goodness :)

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only, no payment or commission is received on click-throughs and opinions are my own.


  1. Very nice block, Chrissie! You broke it down so well to make it look easy. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for the detailed tutorial, Chrissie... so much information that's new to me. Love the 3D effect. Pinning for future reference.

    1. You're learning fast though Pam - with all those years of sewing experience quilting's easy, that's how I took to it so quickly too :D

  3. Very nice tutorial, with lovely fabrics! I found your through the linky party on JAQS Studio. Greetings.

  4. An Irish Chain quilt has been on my "want to do" list for a while now. Your block looks great, and it's another great tutorial from you!

  5. Sweet block and really well written tutorial! You sew, girlfriend! Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. I love your choice of fabrics!

  7. Thanks for sharing this tutorial for the Single Irish Chain.

  8. What a wonderful tutorial for a beginner.

    Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  9. Great tutorial and thanks for sharing.

  10. Great tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing your creativity with us at Show-Licious Craft & Recipe Party! Join us again on Saturday morning at 8:00 am EST!

    ~ Ashley

  11. Fabulous clear tutorial! Wonderful job and I absolutely ADORE the fabrics that you used. Love it!

  12. I love the simplicity of an Irish Chain quilt. great tute, Chrissy!

    Thanks so much for linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  13. Very pretty, love the colours.

  14. Beautiful! Amazing work! Thanks so much for sharing tutorial.
    Have a fabulous week!
    Hugs from Portugal,
    Ana Love Craft

  15. Great tute! Thanks for linking up to Inspire Us Thursdays on The Inspired Wren.

  16. I have been looking for this block for awhile. Thank you. The instructions are very clear and precise.! Great job!

  17. Thank you for the tutorial. Your directions are so easy to follow. Love it! Gonna make it!

  18. Thanks, for a very easy to understand tutorial, i'll give this a go

  19. I've checked my strips and they are accurately cut. However when I join say, the top strip to the centre section, the top strip is longer than the centre section . Why is that and how do I fix it. How do I prevent this from happening again?

    1. If your pieces are cut to the correct size then there are two other possible reasons for the sections now being different sizes. The top strip isn't pieced so is the exact size you cut it at while the centre strip has 3 pieces so has 2 seams. Measure your seam allowance on the back of the pieced section - is it a true 1/4"? Don't trust your machine foot even if it's a 1/4" foot or your machine foot plate even if it has a 1/4" mark on it, feet and foot plates aren't always reliable and also your needle may be slightly out of alignment. Measure your seam to check it's accuracy and adapt your sewn seam line to achieve the correct 1/4" measurement. The other place you may have lost fabric is in pressing the seams. If the seam isn't pressed fully to the side you can also lose a fraction of an inch here too. Pressing seams to the side always loses a fraction in the turnover of the seam and can be altered by adapting the size of your 1/4" seam to a scant 1/4" seam instead. Alternately you can press your seams open which gives a truer finished measurement. Unfortunately there's no email address attached to your blogger id making your account 'no-reply' so I'm not able to contact you with my response. Hopefully you'll visit again and see my reply here; good luck, I hope this is helpful :D - Chris

  20. Love this lesson and wonder if there is a PDF FILE that I can print from. That way I can check it as I sew at the machine. I have chosen this pattern for my Oldest Grandsons gift.


I love to hear from everyone, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and share your thoughts. Please leave a message to let me know you visited, it's a great way to get to know you all better too :)

Chris Dodsley