Friday, January 2, 2009
Bento Box Block Tutorial
Bento Box blocks create a really amazing pattern once they're arranged into a quilt. What looks like a complicated layout is really very simple.
In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make 4 Bento blocks at once. It's my preferred method because it's much faster than making 4 separate blocks.*
Unfinished Block Measurements: one 16"x16" block cut into four 8"x8" blocks
Choose 3 fabrics and cut pieces in the following sizes:
Fabric A (center):
1 – 6”x6”
2 – 3”x6”
2 – 3”x11”
Fabric C (can be the same as Fabric A):
2 – 3”x11”
2 – 3”x16”
(If you prefer (as I always do), cut fabrics B and C to be a little longer than 6", 11" and 16". This is my secret to getting a really accurate block. Trim off the extra after sewing your strips.)
Sew two pieces of Fabric B to either side of the center square. Use a scant ¼” seam allowance and press seams open (or to the side if you prefer). Trim off the extra bits.
Next, add the other two pieces of Fabric B and press seams:
Add Fabric C in the same way until you finish the block. It should measure 16”x16”.
Now comes the scary part...but this is also where you save a lot of time. Take your 16" block and cut it into four 8"x8" blocks. Be sure to measure twice, cut once!
At this point, simply rearrange your blocks and sew together to complete your quilt top.
As always, let me know if you have any questions.
*If you're really into why this method is faster, here you go:
Normally when you make a bento box, you assemble the 8” blocks individually like in this tutorial.
Each of those blocks has 5 pieces to cut and 4 seams to sew. To make four blocks, you cut 20 pieces of fabric and sew 16 seams.
To make all four blocks in my tutorial, you cut 9 pieces and sew 8 seams. Then you cut your block into four which just takes a second or two.
If we're simply looking at this in terms of time, cutting 9 pieces of fabric takes less time than cutting 20. The same goes for sewing 8 seams instead of 16.