Steam Punk 2: My Methodology


Someone wrote to ask about accuracy in piecing Steam Punk blocks. So I thought I'd take a little time and explain how I go about making these blocks. 

I'd be lost without my big lap desk which is where I do all of my prep work and it stays on my lap while I'm piecing, too.

I use a mechanical pencil and a 6 x 1 ruler to mark. On the straight side "interval" pieces, I draw straight stitching lines 1/4" from the edges. On the curved pieces, I use that same ruler and go along the inside edge of the "cap" and the "corner" pieces to make little dashes. I mark a lot

Then I pin a cap to a pie piece and hand-stitch along the marks I have made. I pin a lot. When that is done, I add a corner piece above the cap and hand-stitch again.

Then when I have all four corner-cap-pie pieces stitched, I press the seams in. The next step is to pin the pieced units in pairs with the interval units. Again, I pin a lot. I sew together four pieced units with four intervals. Then I do the other four. Pressing is next. All seams in the same direction.

Finally, I machine stitch the two halves of the block together.

For the center circle, I cut a freezer paper circle that is a quarter inch smaller than the fussy cut center and iron it on to the back side of the circle. I have a can of spray starch and a little plastic bottle cap. I spray about a quarter of an inch of starch into the bottle cap and then use a paint brush to apply the starch to the exposed ring of fabric When that is finished, I press the fabric in using a hot iron. When it is time to appliqué the circle to the finished block, I carefully remove the paper circle and set it aside. I cut four or five paper circles at a time and each one can be used multiple times. 

I also swear by the magnetic pin cushion. I thread three needles at a time so I'm not stopping and starting a lot.

I was going to tell you to click on the photo to enlarge and see the markings more clearly, but decided to just share some close up photos instead here at the end of the post. If you need me to do a post about the spray starch and the circles, let me know. And if you have questions about my explanation, please ask!

Oh, and Karla was confused about hand-piecing versus paper-piecing and was getting her cat all ready for its bath when I set her straight. Much to the cat's relief.


Juliann said…
What a great and helpful post! I will definitely be moving on to these blocks soon.
Pandy said…
Thank you for showing how you are piecing the block. I have the pattern and tried it unsuccessfully with machine piecing. I need a hand piecing project for this summer and think steampunk will be a great one.
Barbara Anne said…
Great instructions and pictures! Thank you. :)

Mrs. Goodneedle said…
Such a clear tutorial! Thanks for sharing~
R's Rue said…
Thank you so much for sharing