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How to make patchwork

Making a pieced-block design

Patchwork is the sewing together of fabric pieces to make a larger fabric. When the pieces form a design, it’s called pieced-block patchwork.

To try your hand at this traditional craft, make the Simple Star design illustrated, then finish it as a pillow cover. You’ll need firmly woven, medium-weight cotton fabric: 1/3 yard of the main color and 1/4 yard each of two secondary colors (or use scraps). You will also need thread, a 12-inch knife-edge pillow form, and heavy paper.

On the paper, draw each of the four basic patchwork shapes in the specified dimensions: add a 1/4-inch seam allowance all around. Using these as patterns, trace the shapes onto your fabric with a dressmaker’s pencil, aligning the arrows with either the lengthwise or crosswise grain, then cut them out. Make 4 large triangles and 4 small squares of the main fabric color: 8 small triangles of one secondary color: and 1 large square of the third color. Also cut a 12-inch square of the main color for the pillow back.

Join the pieces in the order illustrated, pressing seam allowances to one side as you proceed. Use a machine or small running hand-stitches. Join the patchwork to the pillow back with a 1/4-inch seam and insert the pillow form.