Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tutorial: the boot block, as I do it (photo heavy)

Hello, everyone.

I looked at the boot block and realized that it's not completely obvious how to get it to go together. Order of operations matters with this one.

This is to make a dark boot on a light background, with a contrast heel.

 There are two different widths of fabric strip used.
On the left, pieces with no diagonal seaming. These are cut to 1.5" for the light strips and 3.5" for the dark square.
On the right, pieces with diagonal seaming. These are cut 1 7/8" wide. The light cubes are 1 7/8" x 1 7/8". The odd width one at the top is also 1 7/8" tall, but it's only 1.5" wide. It could as well be a cube like the others--I was playing around with making the slope at the back of the heel less sharp.

Before proceeding farther, all the pieces were starched and ironed. This got them to stay put while being sewn.

All of the light background squares, plus the one small rectangle, were marked with sewing lines.

These pieces go on top of the partner piece, right sides together of course, and then the seam is sewn from the end which is in the middle of the longer piece toward the end. This avoids the sewing machine eating the corner of the pieces.

The many bits and pieces are grouped into sub-assemblies. Each sub-assembly is pressed before being joined to another piece.

It is good to trim the assembled bits to the proper dimensions right after pressing. On the picture of the boot top edge pieces, you can see how the excess fabric was trimmed off. The after-trimming height of the assembled strip is 1.5".
Three of the sub-assemblies, arranged
in a group. 

The navy solid is the heel, and its rectangular background piece is sewn on. Using a rectangle instead of a square for the background bit meant trimming the assembled piece to get rid of some odd shaping. After the trim, it was laid in the group for the picture.
The longer medium strip is the vamp, the part where the arch of the foot is, and its square background piece is sewn on.
One of the shorter medium strips is the toe. In the first picture, the front background piece is sewn on.
 (Not sure why the proportions look so odd to me.  The trim bits on the right are sewn at 45 degree angles, but they look like who-knows-what here. Probably goofed up in the cropping! Sorry.)

The toe now has its second background

Here the top edge of the boot shaft has been put together. First a square of background was sewn to one end of the strip, and pressed, and then the second square was sewn to the other end of the strip and pressed.

Using the rotary cutter and the squaring template makes trimming much easier on the squares.

The heel is joined to the toe piece.

Returning to the bottom part of the square, the heel is sewn to the lower background piece of the toe. This is most of the bottom row done. Press and trim if any bits are sticking out in funny places.

The shaft (the part above the foot) 

Here the curved top has been sewn to the square block. The shaft of the boot is done.

The 4.5" long piece of background was sewn to one side of the shaft. Be sure to sew it onto the same side as the toe. Otherwise, you will have to pick the stitches out and move it over. Press.

The vamp of the boot is added to the bottom of the shaft next and pressed.

This is a good time to use your squaring template to make sure the block is still a good rectangle.

The 5.5" long strip of background goes onto the toe end of the boot now. Press.

The block needs to be squared up
after new pieces are added.

The boot sole piece goes onto the bottom now. Press.

The squaring-up got photographed this time.

The last piece to add is the 6.5" piece of background, which goes on the heel side of the block.

If you leave this piece off, it still looks like a boot, but the block will be 5.5" wide and 6.5" tall. This is an awkward measurement and proportion to use in a quilt. I like to add the final strip so the block will be 6.5" square.

The new block with its prototype