Economy Block Quilt – Work in Progress

Lots of fussy cutting and trimming this weekend! I am thoroughly enjoying piecing these economy blocks together. I am using Red Pepper Quilt’s tutorial for making and trimming economy blocks. Isn’t her blog lovely? Have you ever seen so many beautiful quilts!?

How big are the finished blocks?
After trimming, these blocks finish right at 5 1/2 inches square.

How many 5 1/2 blocks does it take to make a throw sized quilt?
Since a throw sized quilt is approximately 50 inches by 65 inches, this quilt would need 130 blocks. Once you take seam allowances into consideration, these blocks will measure exactly five inches square.

What is fussy cutting?
Do you see how the center of every block is a perfectly cut picture of something? That is called fussy cutting. I definitely end up with a bit more fabric waste at the end when I fussy cut, but featuring the pictures makes for such a fun quilt.

What do I like about this tutorial?
My favorite part about this tutorial is trimming down the blocks to size. I’m still, in many cases, a beginner quilter. By trimming the final blocks down to size, I know I end up with perfect sized blocks. Perfect sized blocks means perfect points. That’s what I’m aiming for.

Trimming takes a bit of extra time, though. Take note you have to trim twice. Do you see how an economy block is a block within a block within a block? You must fussy cut the center picture.

After sewing together the second block (black stripes), you must trim that block down to size.

Then you add the final outer edge and trim yet again. You end up with a heaping pile of beautiful fabric scraps.

I believe there are other methods to making economy blocks and one popular method is paper piecing them together, but I have enjoyed this tutorial immensely.

Why am I making this quilt?
You may see this quilt is a bit out of my realm of color expertise! You also may know I have three little boys at home. So many times when I am taking pictures of my boys, I need a cute quilt to set them on. I have no quilts appropriate for taking pictures of boys! How embarrassing, I know! In an attempt to make a boy friendly quilt and one the boys will enjoy, I stepped out of my comfort zone and found some fun fabrics in my old stash.

How do you choose scraps?
This quilt definitely has a scrappy feel to it. Lots of color. I have two goals in regards to the fabrics in this quilt. First off, I am trying to reduce the small stash of fabrics I already have. I did purchase two more fabrics last week to add to this quilt, but other than that, this is fabric leftover from past quilts or gifts.

While I am no expert when it comes to scrappy quilts, I want to enjoy looking at each individual block. Instead of thinking of this quilt as a whole, I’m focusing on making each block a little story of color.

Can a beginner create this quilt?
Because this tutorial involves the trimming, I think this is a great quilt for a beginner. As long as you have the basic sewing supplies and know how to accurately cut fabric, this is a great quilt.

How do you begin the process of picking and choosing and matching fabrics?
First off, find a fabric with a small picture. I believe the center square is three inches by three inches. (Find the tutorial here.) Since that’s the case, you want your featured picture to be three inches or smaller. No one wants a bunch of chopped off pictures.

When choosing the second fabric, I look for a coordinating or contrasting fabric. I do NOT look for a matching fabric colors. For example, in the above the picture, the apple green fabrics coordinates with the trees. It doesn’t match, but complements each other.

The yellow pez fabric contrasts with the sock monkey fabric, but I think both fabrics have a fun feel about them. Once again, they complement each other.

I use the same thought process with the outer box.

You may also notice that the only fabrics with pictures are used on the inside box. All other fabrics are basics (stripes, geometric, gingham, plus signs, pez, text, etc.) I felt my quilt would look too busy if I used feature fabrics on the inside and outside of the economy blocks.

How do you plan on arranging the blocks?
When arranging them, I hope to not have any matching fabrics side by side. For example, I don’t want the plus sign fabric stitched up against another plus sign block.

I will also be cautious of balance. I don’t want all my bright blue gingham blocks on one half of the quilt. Many fluent quilters have a design wall for laying out blocks. This is basically a wall covered in batting that you can use as a pin board of sorts. If you don’t have the wall space like me, the floor is always a good solution. Just be prepared for lots of bending over!

Either way, be sure to lay out your blocks ahead of time to avoid lumping all the red together accidentally!

Where do you find your fabrics?
Most of these fabrics are a few years old and unavailable anymore. The stripes are are a recent purchase though. They are Robert Kaufman’s Sevenberry Stripes.

Some of my other favorite places to shop for fabrics are: SewStitchingHappy, Fabric Bubb, and

Where can I find the tutorial to create the economy block quilt?
Visit Red Pepper Quilts to see this great tutorial…and lots of other inspiration.

Check back by the end of the summer for a *hopefully* finished economy block quilt!

(Please note that affiliate links were used in this post.)

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