Simplicity – Block 7 Triple L

NM Patterns - Simplicity - Block 7 Triple L main v2 2015-07-13

NM Patterns - Simplicity blog button 2015-05-18It’s incredible to think that the three summer months are already halfway done, but here we are, in the middle of July. The weather has been rather horrific in Helsinki with quite a bit of rain and layering of clothing, which doesn’t help creating a summer feeling at all. But there’s always a silver lining, should one choose the perky, optimistic view on life, and today it is a new Simplicity block, Triple L!

The graphic version of the block may let you believe that there isn’t much work in this block, but look again and you’ll see quite a bit of cutting. If you wish to break up this block into steps, I’d go with cutting the more fiddly background pieces first, and only then the three L colours as icing on the cake. If you run out of steam, at least the smallest pieces are done by that point.

NM Patterns - Simplicity - Block 7 Triple L graphic 2015-07-13

I’ve chosen beige originally just to have some place in the quilt, where neutrals have been included, but if you wish some other colour in the block background, for instance a lighter hue of one of the L letters could be nice. Grey is an alternative, if you want to avoid introducing more of the rainbow. The letters in turn are picked from the colour wheel, its secondary colours to be precise, but a monochromatic block could also look smashing.

Cutting pieces

  • Background (beige), almost in piecing order:
    • One (1) piece 7” x 7”
    • One (1) piece 2” x 1.5” (*)
    • One (1) piece 8” x 1”
    • One (1) piece 1.5” x 2” (*)
    • One (1) piece 1” x 8.5”
    • One (1) piece 3.5” x 1.5” (**)
    • One (1) piece 9.5” x 1”
    • One (1) piece 1.5” x 3.5” (**)
    • One (1) piece 1” x 10”
    • One (1) piece 5” x 1.5” (***)
    • One (1) piece 11” x 2”
    • One (1) piece 1.5” x 5” (***)
    • One (1) piece 2” x 12.5”
  • First L (green):
    • One (1) piece 5.5” x 1.5”
    • One (1) piece 1.5” x 6.5”
  • Second L (orange):
    • One (1) piece 5.5” x 1.5”
    • One (1) piece 1.5” x 6.5”
  • Third L (violet):
    • One (1) piece 5.5” x 1.5”
    • One (1) piece 1.5” x 6.5”

The asterisks (* and ** and ***) refer to the similar end pieces of the respective Ls. If you wish to ignore pattern direction, cut the same piece size twice. Otherwise, recall that I list the horizontal (x axis) width first, and then the vertical (y axis) height. Also note that all three Ls consist of the same piece sizes.

Block construction

The block is constructed starting from the top right corner and growing toward the bottom left corner. Sew with a quarter-inch seam allowance, and press seams open as you go. Consult the assembly diagramme, and lay out all the pieces as they end up in the finished block for more convenient construction.

NM Patterns - Simplicity - Block 7 Triple L construction 2015-07-13

Note that all letter end pieces are of similar size (green*, orange**, and violet*** respectively). The left side of this block (steps 5, 11, and 17) contains the longer pieces between letters, whereas the right side (steps 2, 8, and 14) are the slightly shorter pieces.

Similarly, the horizontal pieces of the Ls on the right side of the block are shorter, whereas the vertical parts on the left side are longer/taller in comparison.

If you begin as suggested from the top right corner, and work yourself step by step through the addition of more pieces, there is only one place each piece can go.

Piecing tips

To speed up the process, you can chain piece the L halves to corresponding end pieces of background fabric (steps 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16).

Since my hateful sewing machine likes eating fabric whenever there’s a fresh seam to start, I need to use leader fabrics. This is incredibly annoying, but on the other hand, since my machine doesn’t come with automatic thread cutting (just stay away from Husqvarna Emerald 116 unless you want endless moments of grief…), using the leaders for chain piecing when there’s otherwise nothing to chain piece, will save thread at least.

The finished Triple L block

The fabric I used for background is pretty but the worst fraying fabric I’ve ever had the displeasure of working with. Luckily, I only bought a fat quarter of it to grow the low-volume stash a bit.

My low-quality machine also liked to pull any and all seams of even slightly longer length, and so this block contains seams unpicked and sewn again – not once but several times. What I mean by this is that despite pinning properly, the two layers of fabric were sliding apart, so that while one fabric has a quarter-inch seam allowance, the other is significantly smaller (not merely a scant thread width smaller, but more). If you scroll back to the top to look at the block straight ahead, you’ll see wobbly seams. At some point I honestly gave up, and let them be “non-perfect”, because whatever :/

It’s such a shame that I had one of those “bad run” days (are you a runner? recognise the feeling of having one of your worst runs of your life? well, this sewing day seems to fit the bill :D ), because I quite liked sewing this block, at least design-wise!

NM Patterns - Simplicity - Block 7 Triple L finished v2 2015-07-13

How about you? Better luck with your block? Questions? Comments? Have a nice new week!

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