This block combines fussy cutting (so your favourite prints can become the star of the block) as well as the stack and slash method, so there's very little wastage of fabric and the outer border will look continuous around the framed fussy cut part. You will be making two blocks at a time and if you maintain a scant 1/4" seam when piecing you wont need to trim your blocks at the end. It may seem a little tricky at first, but if you follow the steps carefully you'll get the hang of it quickly.
For each pair of blocks you will need fabric with a large print to fussy cut and one with a small print (that doesn't need to be fussy cut). You will also need two 1" strips (selvedge to selvedge) of solid fabric (I have opted to use lots of different colour solids in my quilt, but you may choose to use just one solid fabric). I cut my blocks 10 1/2" x 10 1/2, but you can cut them whatever size you like as long as they are the same size and there's a couple of inches all the way around the print you want to fussy cut. You wont lose anything in the length, but you will lose 1" in width, so my finished blocks will measure 9 1/2" (wide) x 10 1/2" (tall) raw edge to raw edge.
Stack and iron your two squares of fabric on top of each other, carefully matching the edges. Ironing helps them stay together as you cut them. Make sure the fabric that you want to fussy cut is on the top and the print on the bottom square is aligned correctly (especially if it has a directional print)
Place pins around the image you want to see in your final fussy cut window. Ensure the pinned image is atleast 1 1/2" away from all sides of your block.
Line up your ruler parallel to the side of your block and make a cut 3/4" away from the left side of your pinned area (see photo). I made a guide by cutting a 3/4" strip of white (from scraps) that I placed momentarily on my block to make it easier to judge where to cut.
Using your ruler and rotary cutter cut through both layers.
Turn your cutting board around and do the same on the opposite side, cutting 3/4" outside the pinned area.
Turn the cutting mat again so you can cut below the pinned image. Move the two side strips you just cut slightly to the side (but still maintain their position and orientation). Aligning the ruler so it is parallel to the bottom of your block, make a cut 1/4" away from the bottom of the pinned area (not 3/4" this time). I just eyeballed the 1/4", but you could cut a 1/4" strip from scraps or use 1/4" tape as a guide if you wanted.
Do the same to the top of your block, cutting 1/4" away from the pinned area.
Now, this is important ... you need to cut a 1/2" strip from the left and a 1/2" strip from the right of your pinned middle piece.
And then discard those 1/2" strips you just cut (they will be the only bits of fabric wasted from the blocks).
Take out the pins and arrange the block pieces so the small print fabric surrounds the larger print, and the larger print surrounds the small print fabric. Make sure you maintain the orientation of the outer strips. Decide which 1" solid fabric will go with each block.
I added a pin to the centre of my inner rectangle to maintain the correct orientation (force of habit) but this really isn't necessary.
Working on one block at a time...
With right sides together sew the solid strip to the bottom of the inner rectangle (the fussy cut part). Make sure you use an accurate 1/4" seam. Trim the strip in line with the rectangle.
In a similar fashion add a solid strip to the top of the rectangle. Iron seams away from the centre.
Add a solid strip to the left and right side of your block, trim and iron seams outward.
Then add the top and bottom outer strips, ironing seams outwards as you go. If you have cut and pieced accurately the strips should fit nicely without any trimming. If you do need to trim a little, no big deal!
Add the left and right strips and iron seams outwards.
There you have it!
My block looks a little skew - I must have ironed a little too vigorously! But I'm sure it will all come together nicely once I add sashing.
Now you can put your other block together in the same manner. The design on the outer fabric should look continuous (except for a small loss in the seams).
Please let me know if any of this doesn't make sense or you have any questions. I usually get one or two people to proof read/test my patterns before I put them out, but I haven't had a chance to do that with this one yet. I'll post new blocks as I make them.
I would love to see blocks you make using this tutorial (and any other quilts that are inspired by my patterns or quilts). Today I finally started a flickr group, so please feel free to add your photos. Its looking a little pathetic at the moment with nothing in it :)