Spider web block tutorial

Have you seen Heather’s excellent spider web quilt block tutorial from House of a la Mode?  She uses a fabric foundation to create the block, which finishes at 12″ square.  This tutorial is great if you’re going to make an entire project from her tutorial.

However, if you are making a block or two for a quilt bee, or for a sampler quilt, the 12 inch block size is just a teensy bit too small.  You want your block to be 12.5 inches square.  I also wanted to eliminate the fabric foundation and create a template for the center of the block so I wouldn’t end up with so much wasted fabric.

Here is how you can make a template for your block centers and for trimming the quarters of the block, and finished 12.5 inch spider web quilt block.

UPDATE: I made a printable pdf template for the center portion of the spider web block, as well as one for trimming the 1/4 block to the correct size. 

CLICK HERE: Cutting template PDF for spider web quilt block

If you have printed your template, skip to the section called “Cut out your block centers.”  If you’d like to learn how to make your template, keep reading.

Draw a 12-inch square on a large piece of paper (I used freezer paper).

Divide the 12-inch square into quarters by drawing diagonal lines from corner to corner, forming an “x” across the square.

In one of the quarters, mark the center of the square’s edge.  Also make a mark along the diagonal lines 6-inches from each corner.

You will end up with 3 marks, each 6 inches from their closest corners.

Connect the mark on each diagonal line to the mark in the center of the square’s edge.  This is the center portion of your finished block.

To finish up your template, add a seam allowance of 1/4 inch all the way around.

Cut out the shape around the seam allowance and you have a template for the center portion of your spider web block!

Make a trimming template

To ensure your block ends up the correct size, you are going to need to trim up each quarter block before sewing them together.

Guess what?  You already made your trimming template!  It’s the quarter square directly across from the one you used to make the center piece template.

All you have to do is add 1/4 inch seam allowances all the way around and cut it out.

Two templates – easy!

Cut out your block centers

Lay your center template on the fabric you will be using for the center of your block.  Align a ruler with the template and use your rotary cutter to cut out the centers of your block.

(No rotary cutter?  No problem.  Just use a pencil or a fabric mark to draw around your template and cut out with your scissors.)

And since you have this handy template, you can turn it the other direction, lay it along the line you just cut, and cut out the rest of your pieces.  Very little waste.  Yay!

For each block, you will need four (4) center pieces from your template and a pile of strips.    Your longest strips need to be 6 inches long, and I like to cut mine 1-2 inches wide.  You will need between 40-65 strips per block, depending on how wide you cut your strips.

Construct the block

Take one of your center pieces, and align a strip with one of the long edges, right sides together.

Sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Open the strip away from the center piece.  (Gross.  Ignore my yucky ironing board cover, which clearly needs to be replaced.)

Align your next strip with the edge of the first, right sides together.

Again, sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and then open the strip outward.

Continue in this manner until you’ve attached enough strips to reach the edge of your trimming template.

You’ll need 6.5 inches of pieced strips from the center point to the edge, but if you’re not sure, just hold the template up to to check.

Add another series of strips for the other side of the quarter block.  If you have not yet pressed your seams with a hot iron, now is the time.

Align your trimming template with your quarter block and place a ruler along the edge of the template.  Trim around all sides.

Now, make three more quarter blocks in the same way.

With a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew pairs of quarter blocks together.  Press the seam open.

Align the center seams of the two halves, as well as the seams at the edge of the block center.  Sew the halves together with a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Trim the block to 12.5 inches.

Then, go make some more.  Because the beauty in this block is in how it comes together with its friends.  I only made two blocks since they were for a bee, but you can see how the spider web shape begins to appear where the blocks meet.

10 replies
  1. Deb
    Deb says:

    Oh my goodness, Em…you just rocked my world!! This technique and tutorial are amazing! I’m so glad I waited to do these blocks because this is perfect. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Cam Flower
    Cam Flower says:

    Just got a new ruler from creative grids – Spider Web designed by Karla Alexander. It makes shaping and cutting the pieces so easy! I have been playing with it for 2 days and all I can say is WOW! This with your tutorial idea have really inspired me to some new design thoughts. Check out this ruler on creative gridss website and see what you think. It takes all the measuring so simple! Oh, and I just love the strips of fabric creating the stripe in the tutorial – they really make the web spin!

    Reply
  3. Margranda
    Margranda says:

    Thank you so much. I want to do a spiderweb without foundation piecing. I was trying to draw my own template, when my daughter found this site for me. Can’t wait to try it!

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. [...] partner was Tiffany, for whom I made the spider web blocks last month.  As a result, I knew she was going to be working on a quilt for her home with a purple, orange [...]

  2. [...] 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 [...]

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