Multiples of 3: quilt block tutorial

This is the “Multiples of 3″ Quilt Block
3 x 1 = 3: This block is composed of 3-sided triangles; each triangle is made from 3 pieces
3 x 2 = 6: 6 triangles are used to make up the 6-sided hexagon in the block
3 x 6 = 18; The hexagon is made from 18 identically shaped pieces
3 x 8 = 24; Add in the background pieces and this block used 24 pieces of fabric

Multiples of 3 Quilt Block Tutorial

Make a template for your “kite” pieces

Each triangle in this block is an equilateral triangle with three 6-inch sides (and 3 60-degree angles).

Begin by drawing a line, 6-inches in length on a piece of paper.  Line up the 60-degree line on a clear ruler with the line you just drew and draw a 2nd 6-inch line at a 60-degree angle from the first.  Complete the triangle by drawing a third 6-inch line.

Mark the center point of each line.  Split the interior of the triangle by connecting the center point of each line with the opposite corner of the triangle.

The “kite” template that will be used for this block is formed by two adjacent interior lines that extend from the center point of the triangle to the middle of exterior edge.  This triangle is composed of three of these “kite” shapes.  Choose one of them and add 1/4 inch seam allowances on all sides of your template.  Cut out the paper template.

Use the template you just made to cut out 18 “kite” shapes from fabric.  My preference is to use 6 different fabrics and cut 3 kites from each fabric, but you could use as few as 2 different fabrics, or go really scrappy and choose 12 different fabrics.  (Actually, this block would be a great scrap buster block because the individual pieces aren’t very large.)

Arrange your kites to make up a hexagon composed of 6 triangles.  Each triangle will have two identical fabrics to form the base and a different one for the apex.

Begin by sewing the two base pieces of one triangle together.  All seams will be 1/4 inch.  Mark 1/4 inch from the center point of the triangle.  Sew from the outside edge of the triangle to the point you just marked 1/4 inch from the center edge.

Fold down the top edge of the fabric you just stitched together.  This will expose a second unsewn edge of one of the kites that compose the base of the triangle.  Lay the kite that will be the apex of the triangle on top, right side down.  You will have now have a stack of three pieces of fabric: 1. the bottom, right side facing up, which is already sewn to 2. the middle, with one edge folded back between the layers and 3. the top, right side down.

Flip the stack over so you can see the first line of stitches.  Again, sew from the edge of the triangle and stop where your previous line of stitches stopped, 1/4 inch from the center point of the triangle.

Two of three interior seams are now completed, and just one remains to finish the 3-parted triangle.

Match the two un-sewn interior edges.  The two kites that still have these un-sew edges will stack on top of one another.  The third kite will be folded in half.  Line up the two interior seams that have already been completed.

Once again, sew from the edge of the triangle and stop where the other stitches stopped, 1/4 inch from the center point.  I like to put in a couple back stitches here to hold it in place.

Iron the triangle open.  Now make 5 more!

To get the best results when you make your hexagon, you will need to trim your triangle so the edges are even.  I have tried this without trimming and ended up with a hexagon whose two halves wouldn’t match up correctly.

Trimming the triangle, Method 1: faster

This is the easiest way to trim your triangle.  You simply line up the 60-degree line along one edge of the triangle and use a rotary cutter to trim the adjacent edge.  Rotate the triangle so that the edge you just trimmed lines up with the 60-degree line on the ruler and trim the adjacent edge.  Repeat one more time and you’re finished trimming.

Trimming the triangle, Method 2: more accurate

This trimming method involves making a triangles template of the size the triangle is supposed to be.  It takes a little extra time upfront to make the template, but goes just as quickly as the previous method after that and it more accurate.  I made my template on heavy card stock so it would hold up well.

Begin by drawing an equilateral triangle with 6-inch sides, just as you did to make your “kite” template in the beginning.  This time, as I mentioned, I used card stock.  Add a 1/4 inch seam allowance all the way around the triangle.  Draw another triangle to the interior, about an inch from the outside edge.

Cut around the outside of the seam allowance line.  Cut out the middle of the triangle.  Add a line perpendicular to each edge at the half way point.  This will help you line up the interior seams of your fabric triangle.

Line up the fabric triangle under the template and place your ruler along the edge of the template.  Use a rotary cutter to trim off the excess.  Repeat for the other 5 triangles.

Arrange your triangles how you want them to appear in your block.  Sew three triangles together into a half-hexagon.  Repeat for the other half hexagon.

Place the two half hexagons right sides together and line up the center seam and the interior seams.  Sew the two halves together and iron the hexagon open.

Completing the “Multiples of 3″ block

I prefer to cut my background fabric larger than needed and then trim the block down later.  From your background fabric, you will need:

(2) rectangles, 6.5 inches x 2 inches
(2) rectangles, 6.5 inches x 8 inches, cut on the diagonal to make (4) triangles

First sew the two thinner triangles to opposite edges of the hexagon.  Lay out the triangles around the remaining four edges of the hexagon.  Sew the upper triangles to the hexagon. Iron open.  Sew the two lower triangles; be sure that your fabric extends beyond the edge of the piece already attached to the triangle.  Iron open the final pieces.

Trim the block to 12.5 inches.

Want to see how this block looks in other colors?  Here ya go!

I know it’s Tuesday, but since this is a modern block, which I made for the 4×5 Modern Bee, and I began writing this up on Monday, I’m linking up with {Sew} Modern Monday (while there’s still time!)

10 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Meanwhile, you choose a block to make each of your beemates in their color choices. In this bee, we use our own fabrics. This block led to a tutorial for my Multiples of 3 block. […]

  2. [...] quarter of the 4×5 Modern Quilt Bee on Flickr, I was a part of the hexagon group. I made my Multiples of 3 block (top center of the picture below) in the color schemes of my hive-mates, and received in return, 5 [...]

  3. [...] a spot opened up in Hexagon group (block must incorporate a hexagon in some way) I knew that my Multiples of 3 block would be a good [...]

  4. [...] Two new quilt block tutorials were posted in November: one was an update on the spider web quilt block and the other was a hexagon block I designed inspired by the triangles I tried in English paper piecing. [...]

  5. [...] Multiples of 3 is a block inspired by the 3-parted equilateral triangles often seen in English paper piecing, but this one is machine pieced.  The spider web block is an update on the great tutorial by Heather at House of a la Mode.  This one finishes at 12.5 inches, and I show you how to make a template for the center so you will have less fabric waste. [...]

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