Minimal Day Sampler – Block Seven: Reverse Quarter Opals
Our block this month is a quick and simple one, a filler to complete the fourth spot in the opal blocks we made way back in February. It’s also a toe-dip into reverse appliqué… Sort of, Kinda…In a very simplified way. (Please don’t call the Quilt Police. I’m sure they’re busy anyway…)
Traditionally, reverse appliqué is done by cutting away a top layer to expose the fabric underneath, then stitching around that opening. Which really isn’t that different from regular appliqué, if you think about it. You’re just stitching the inside of a shape instead of the outside of it. Everything else is the same. And you already know how to do all of that, so this will be an especially easy one.
- From background fabric(s): Cut 1 (or 3 for lap size) 5 ½” squares
- From appliqué fabric(s): Cut 1 (or 3 for lap size) 5 ½” squares
Place a ruler in the upper right hand corner of 1 (or 2 for lap size) of the appliqué square(s). I’ve placed mine at 3” from the corner on the top and 4” from the corner on the right side. You don’t have to use these measurements, just be sure that the measurement down the right side is larger than the measurement across the top.
Make a small mark in the seam allowance at both points. Then draw a gently curved line connecting the two. It should be a bit oblong. And wonky is just fine too. This line will be your stitching line.
Cut away the upper right corner roughly a “fat eighth” inch from the drawn line.
Tip: If you happened to have already cut ON the drawn line, no big deal. Just draw a new stitching line a “fat eighth” inch in from the cut edge. It’s not going to make much difference in your finished quilt. We are not building a bridge here.
If you are making the lap sized quilt, you’ll repeat this same process for the third appliqué piece, this time in the upper LEFT corner. Again, making sure that your measurement going down the left side is longer than the one going across the top.
Tip: If you are feeling bold, you can throw caution to the wind and eyeball all of this, cutting your shape(s) free-hand. Just be sure to double-check that you are making the correct side of your shape longer than the other, or this quadrant of your opal block won’t fit quite right with the others.
Layer the appliqué over the background square, aligning edges, and pin or glue in place.
Stitch from the right hand side of the piece, turning under a little at a time as you move around the curve. Because this is such a gentle curve, you won’t need to clip into it at all.
Tip: If you are having a hard time getting it to turn under easily, check your seam allowance. It may be too wide. (I know, I sound like a broken record here, but I keep including this tip because it is a big one. The width of the seam allowance is a huge contributor to the success and ease of appliqué.)
Often, the excess background is cut away when doing reverse appliqué, which you may choose to do, particularly if the appliqué is very light colored and the background shadows through it in a way you don’t care for. If we were building up layers and layers of appliqué with this technique, removing the extra bulk would certainly be helpful. In this case though, I’ve chosen to leave mine intact because a) I like the extra stability and b) I don’t hand quilt, so the extra layers aren’t an issue. When in doubt, remember: you are the boss of your incredible handmade work and you may choose to do it however. you. like.
Your finished block will look something like this:
These blocks will go here in the final layout: (indicated by the dashed lines; wall, then lap size)
As always, if you have any questions about anything here or would like more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or come find me on Instagram at @bespokeoutlaw.
Next time we’ll combine a couple techniques for a bit more challenging block.