Simplicity – Block 4 Tunnel

NM Patterns - Simplicity - Block 4 Tunnel main v2 2015-06-22

NM Patterns - Simplicity blog button 2015-05-18Today’s block of the Simplicity quilt is Tunnel, which sort of came about when I was working on a QDAD design. This block is inspired by my Paintings in the Museum design, with a spark from a museum in Paris. In Tunnel, there is the same idea of rectangles layered on top of each other, but without the “frame” (was a thin stripe along only the top of the “painting”).

As you see from the graphic version, the perceived tunnel effect will work only if the smallest rectangle is the darkest, so bear this in mind when choosing your fabrics.

NM Patterns - Simplicity - Block 4 Tunnel graphic 2015-06-22

As for colours, I think it will work best if you choose a somewhat monochromatic scheme in this block, but switching things up isn’t a bad thing at all. I thought I had enough violet and purple fabrics, but a closer inspection showed they wouldn’t suit this particular design at all, hence the  dragonfly-patterned lovely Kate Spain fabric in the background.

Cutting pieces

  • Background:
    • One (1) piece 12.5” x 5”
    • One (1) piece 12.5” x 2.5”
    • One (1) piece 3.5” x 6”
    • One (1) piece 2.5” x 6”
  • Light “rectangle”:
    • One (1) piece 6” x 2”
    • One (1) piece 2” x 6”
  • Middle “rectangle”:
    • One (1) piece 4.5” x 2”
    • One (1) piece 2” x 4.5”
  • Dark rectangle:
    • 4.5” x 3”

If you’re using directional prints for the light and middle “rectangles”, please recall that the first length of a piece is the width on the x axis (horizontal), whereas the second one is on the y axis (vertical). If print direction doesn’t matter, as usual cut two pieces of the same size straight away.

Block construction

In this block, there are no opportunities for chain piecing, but the construction begins from the darkest rectangle onto which pieces are added. Use a quarter-inch seam allowance and press seams open as you go, before adding more pieces.

NM Patterns - Simplicity - Block 4 Tunnel construction 2015-06-22

Piecing tips

This is a good block to practice piecing without using pins, because fabric sticks together quite a lot, as long as you pinch the two layers together at the end of the “seam”. The only seams where I pinned anything where the two last ones due to both their length and the several seam allowances on top to drive neatly under the presser foot. Since there’s more bulk in such places, the fabric tends to shift a bit otherwise, at least on my sewing machine.

The finished Tunnel block

Here’s my finished Tunnel block and I think it’s my favourite so far!

NM Patterns - Simplicity - Block 4 Tunnel finished v2 2015-06-22

How do you feel about these diagrammes? Are you a visual person? Or does the written word help you more?

I’m extremely visual and find a picture vastly superior, in fact sometimes reading endless amounts of texts has me completely overwhelmed, when trying to dig out the essence into a distilled version the way a diagramme could have conveyed in a quick glance.

Enjoy making your Tunnel block!

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