Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Somewhat Positive block tutorial

This is the tutorial for this variation on the plus block. I’ve tried it in solids and prints, and now you can apply your own creative talents to it and make it your own.

Okay so I might have been promising to write this up for a year and finally I have overcome all the monsters-in-the-closet kind of fears and done it! To be honest it probably wouldn’t have happened at all except that Jen of Dizzy Quilter said she wanted to make one for her son. I would probably even have toyed with the idea editing the evidence out.

I asked Jen to test this tutorial and she’s done just that, with marvelous results. 

My biggest fear, ‘what if I get it wrong?’ has a simple answer - I’ll fix it. Just let me know as politely as you can.

As a quick stat this block finishes up at 9” square.

I’m going to assume some knowledge of the process of paper foundation piecing. If you want to give it a go and haven’t done it before just google it, there are plenty of tutorials out there.

If I have a tip it’s to mark the seam allowance in for the first section so you can line the pieces up and avoid trimming on the first seam.

The paper piecing template is available here for A4 size and here for US Letter. Print it off with page scaling set at ‘none’.

I have given a template for the simple 3 square section. It is probably overkill and you can piece it normally if you choose, just use 31/2” squares if you choose this option. I’m sure you can work it out how to put that section together for yourself and you don’t need me over-explaining.

This is what you’ll need to cut for one block (Fabric B is the background, fabric F is the focus). I’m generous with my cutting.
·       2- 4” x 4” square fabric B, 1 - 4” x 4” square fabric F (for paper piecing)
·       5 - 4” x 4” square fabric B, 1 - 4” x 7”  fabric F
·       Strips of fabric F around 1 ½” wide – 6 - 4” x 1 ½” strips and 1 - about 2” x 1 ½”

Follow the piece by number instructions on the templates.

This section, though, may have you scratching your head and wondering what’s going on.

It’s for this small scrap of detail I put in here.

To make it add a background square at 5(b) and trim ¼” away from the straight and dashed line. Use the 1 ½” x 2” strip and stitch along the seam line. You don’t need to stitch the full length since you’ll be trimming to ¼” away from the diagonal line at the next step.

Press and then trim ¼” away from diagonal line (I know I’ve just repeated myself but this is just the instruction I wouldn’t be able to find when I look for it halfway through making a block). 

Keep the paper folded while you line up the 4” x 7” focus fabric strip (I originally saw this tip on We All Sew. It changed my life!).

Then stitch it in place. Press it, trim it and we’re done with that section.

Complete the other sections and here’s the placement. As you can see the seams line up between the top section but not the bottom one. Rest assured you haven’t made it wrong, it’s supposed to be like that. There should be about 1/8” difference between the two.

Here’s my remaining tips

·       Leave the paper in until after you’ve sewn your sashing on.
·       When you go to quilt it DO stabilize by outlining the shape first.
·       I used sashing finishing at 1” wide for my grey mini quilt (I thought it was too narrow) and 3” for the quilt top I showed last week.

If you decide to use this tutorial please let me know, I would love to see it. If you’re on Instagram I’m @sevenoaksstreetquilts, and use #somewhatpositivequilt.

Hope you have fun!



PERMISSIONS: You can use the quilts you make from this tutorial for private purposes, including selling them on a small scale (please acknowledge the pattern source). If anyone is thinking about copying this tutorial and adding it to their own blog or other internet site and passing it off as their own work (people do that apparently, not you of course, but others) then don’t!


  1. Thanks so much Sue! I'll be back to read in detail! Great job!

  2. It's a great pattern Sue, I especially love the larger quilt in grey. The pattern is very clear, I was sightly perplexed at first with the tiny piece but once I took a proper look at the templates and the pic for the colours the lightbulb went on, duh! Sometimes it just takes me a minute to work something through. Well done on your wonderful achievement, I'll be watching out for your next pattern :-)

  3. Lovely tutorial and attention to detail in the design! I would be thrilled if you linked up with Tips and Tutorials Tuesday!

  4. This is great! Ha, I know what you mean on the 'promised to write a year ago thang'!

  5. Congrats on conquering your fears and writing the tutorial! Great tutorial and wonderful design. Thanks for linking up to Wednesday Wait Loss.

  6. Very cool block and great tutorial!

  7. Thanks for doing the tutorial! You did a great job, and it's a wonderful design.

  8. Now that I am back home, I can get caught up on reading blogs! This is a great tutorial, and I plan to give it a try. Thanks for sharing, Susan! This is one of my favorite quilts you have made :)

  9. Hahaha, This is a clever name for this clever quilt! nice one!