Directional fabric in patchwork

Directional fabrics, also known as ‘one-way prints’ are those where the print has a definite direction and would look upside down or sideways if care wasn’t taken when cut.

Sometimes I don’t particularly care as the blocks are small or not really noticeable or perhaps they’re all so random the quilt doesn’t have an ‘up’ or ‘down’ and it doesn’t matter.

Other times however, they can stick out like a sore thumb and if it’s going to bother you then a bit of care is required when cutting and stitching. This can be challenging for a number of reasons, one being not enough fabric!

Here, I’ve made a block with the directional fabric cut so the patterned pieces have the same orientation. As I don’t have a lot left of the directional fabric, I’ve also minimised wastage by using the half square triangle method as well as squares rather than fussy cutting or rounded shapes.

Using directional fabric can take a little planning! The fabric I’m using is quite thin and the pattern is visible on the back. This makes it easy for me to see the orientation of the design without constantly turning it over. It’s better to check twice and cut once!

With the half square triangles (aka HST’s) I need two squares to get my four triangles. Two (from the left square) will be for the top and bottom of the block and the other two (from the other, right square) will be for the sides of the block. When I marked the squares, I made sure I had a left and right for each of the finished blocks. That way I know I’m not cutting too many or have more left than right pieces.

The other tip is to make sure that the pieces haven’t turned when stitching. I make sure they’re lined up exactly in the direction I’m going to sew them. This is particularly important if chain piecing. Lastly, check your stitched pieces before cutting!

Happy piecing!

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