2 1/2" strip ideal

Posted by Ruth on 22 April 2013 | 2 Comments


Today I've been playing with 2 1/2" strips. There are so many wonderful strip packs or jelly rolls available today that I thought I'd make up a simple fun block to use either a pack or leftovers strips. Later I discovered this was actually a block called Twin Sisters.

I pulled a few strips and sorted them so they were in pairs, one light and one medium or dark. It is best to have a good contrast between them for this block. I have three sets below.

2 1/2" strips in pairs

I started by joining the pairs together and pressing the seam toward the darker strip. 

sew together in pairs

You can make as many strips as you like. You need 18" of a joined strip to render one pair of blocks so you'll get two pairs from a full strip. That's two dark blocks and two light blocks so four blocks in total.

Now it's time to cut squares from the strip set. I layered mine together to speed up the cutting. Layer them so the seams alternate from side to side. This will help prevent the layers from moving as you cut.

Layer them with seams alternating

Cut 4 1/2" squares. You will need a minimum of four. If you want to cut more, then you need a multiple of 4 from each strip set. For example 4, 8, 12, 16 and so forth.

Cut 4 1/2" squares

Two 4 1/2" squares cut

Next you need to cut through the diagonal of the square. Use the diagonal line on the ruler to align with the raw edge of the block. Match up one corner with the edge of the ruler and then cut through the diagonal to make two triangles.

Cut through the diagonal

Be sure to cut the diagonal the same way on all four squares. Look what happened when I accidentally cut one in the opposite direction.

I cut one in the opposite direction

The fourth quarter doesn't fit (left). To make it right I need to have that last quarter upside down (right). That's no good!

I cut one in the opposite direction

So be sure to cut the same way for all your diagonal cuts. Then sort out the pieces - all the pieces with the larger dark pieces go together and all the pieces with the larger light pieces go together. You'll have two groups for each strip set.

Sort into groups

Taking one group, lay then out to form the block. Now take the other group from the same strip set. Here are my two purple groups.

Sort into groups

You'll have one dark block and one light block.

Sew these quarter sections into pairs. Chain stitching works well here.

Chain sewing

Press the seams toward the section that doesn't have the seam, that way when you join the two sections the seams will butt together.

Showing back ready to sew the last seam

Here's what my blocks look like. You can see how they got their name.

Four finished blocks - "twin sisters"

This is what happens if you change the direction of cutting each strip set. The photo above shows the first two strip sets cut through the diagonal from top left to bottom right when the seam was horizontal. In my third set I cut the diagonal in the opposite direction. That is from bottom left to top right with the seam horizontal. Compare the two blocks.

Each block was cut on a different diagonal

Look carefully. Notice the small triangle on the blue block is on the upper LEFT side but the small triangle on the other block is to the upper RIGHT side. Something to keep in mind if you are making a quilt. 

I'll leave that for you to ponder about.

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  • Stunning! I really like the idea of using batiks! They're my favorite. I also like the visuals!

    Posted by Priscilla Cooksey, 19/03/2019 4:15pm (2 years ago)

  • A great lesson to keep in mind - do not change the direction of cutting if everything is to be the same. I believe we have all done this one or twice - I know I have.

    Posted by Jen, 23/04/2013 6:36am (8 years ago)

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