Hi and welcome to the first block in the Everything And The Kitchen Sink Sew Along.

For both the sewers and drawers alike, we’re starting simply in our kitchen themed paper piecing creation, with a shelf full of boxes.

For the sewers:

You can find the block HERE.  Don’t forget to print off 3 copies, 1 to sew on, 1 for your cutting guide and 1 to show you what it should all look like in the end.  I’ve coloured the sections in to match my block above, but you can use any colours you like, just know that the grey sections are the lids, the blue sections are the boxes and the tan section is the shelf.

For any of you who are unsure about how to foundation paper piece, may I suggest you first look through the tutorials from last year’s sew along, Foundation Paper Piecing For The Terrified , where I show in detail how to cut out your patterns and fabric, and how to add each piece of fabric to the block. 

To assemble the block you will need to do the sections separately in alphabetical order, and within each section in numerical order.  Once you have the sections assembled you will need to put them together as follows:

A + B + C

To the ABC section, add D above and E below.  You can choose to stamp or embroider your labels now (I haven’t decided exactly what I’m using mine for yet, so I’m holding off on the stamping for now).  Don’t forget to upload your finished blocks to the Flickr group!

For the drawers:

Let’s talk first about the paper you will need.  When I’m creating blocks by hand I use either squared or graph paper depending on the complexity of the block.  For the most part though, I prefer to use squared paper.  In international paper, the squares are usually 5mm, while in North America they are usually 1/4″.  These are similar enough not to matter for this SAL, in that none of this actually requires precise measurements, and you’ll be making up your own pattern anyway!  Now grab your pencil and ruler and we’ll take a look at how the block is put together (please excuse the diagrams being electronic, I knew pencil on paper would not photograph well!)

For the pattern I did for the sewers, you will see that the boxes are a uniform size, so we’ll look at this option first, as it is the simplest to explain.  I constructed the pattern as follows:

  • My first section to be drawn was actually the shelf, as I knew where I wanted that to be.  I usually use some kind of grounded section to start with, as everything else builds on that and I don’t want to run out of room on the paper!
  • From that point I knew I wanted 3 boxes, so I did the outline of them next where I wanted them to sit.
  • As the boxes were all the same height, I then drew a line across the top of them, as I knew nothing from the boxes would extend above this, so that could be safely sectioned off for a solid piece of background.
  • Next I sectioned off my boxes to mark the lids and labels, again all at the same place on each box, as I wanted a uniform little set.  To do this you could just draw straight lines across the entire page, but that means you’d end up with a pieced background, so I only marked the dividing line on the boxes to leave the background as solid as possible.
  • Finally I needed to decide the order to assemble the block.  When doing this you start with something you can build off, and it must be things that only individual pieces can be attached to, such as the box sections.  You couldn’t, for example, use the shelf as a starting point, because all 3 boxes and the 4 background sections around them join to one single section.  With the boxes it doesn’t really matter if you start from the top, bottom or work your way out from the middle, since it’s just a stack, but the boxes must be done individually, as you can see that the background piece between them joins multiple sections.
  • The background sections between the boxes could be separate entities, but it’s easier for overall assembly if you attach them to a box, since the less sections you have, the better.  How you do that is entirely up to you though, you could attach them to the outer boxes only, or the one to the left of each box, plus the one on the right for the last box, or you could attach two to the centre box and the outer sections to the outer box.  The net result for all of these is the same, and none is more advantageous than another, so feel free to lay them out as you wish!
  • Once you have determined your overall sections, you need to label them so that you know what belongs to where.  I usually use a combination of letters and numbers for this, where the letter denotes the section and the number the order in which you are going to add the fabric.  You can also shade sections according to your fabric choices too:

Now you’re ready to go with making the block, photocopy it 3 times, 1 to sew on, 1 for your cutting guide and 1 to show you what it should all look like in the end.  I always keep my original drawings in tact in case I a) want to use them again and b) need to go back and make any changes in them

The above covers the basic shelf, but what happens if we want our boxes to be different sizes?  Let’s look at how that would be constructed:

  • As with the basic version, I added the shelf first
  • Next I decided how I wanted my boxes to look.  In this case I chose a medium sized one on the left, a little one in the centre and a large one on the right, and marked the boxes in accordingly
  • Now I need to divide my background up a bit, again, in the least number of pieces possible.  I’m starting with the level on the top of the right hand box, since that is the tallest section.  There are 2 ways I could go with this: firstly I could do as we did in the first block and draw a line across the top of the tallest box right across the page, as I know nothing will go above this;  secondly I could look at trying to keep the largest section of background in one piece, which is in fact above the left hand and centre boxes only, and just add another section the width of the tallest section above that, with a solid piece to its right.  I went for option #2
  • With the right hand side of my block taken care of, I’ll now move on to the left and centre sections.  Here, I’ll draw a line across to the side of the right hand box level with the top of the tallest remaining box, ie the one on the left.  To take care of the height distance between the top of the centre box and this line, I’ll extend the lines marking the side of the centre box up to this line, which will keep a good, solid section between the centre and right hand boxes, as well as between the centre and left hand boxes.
  • Now it’s time to mark in the lids and labels.  As you can see I chose to mark these in different places on each box this time.
  • Marking up the sections will be a little different this time, since we no longer have nice uniform sections.  Again you’re looking for a small section to start with and work out, so in this case I’ll start with the right hand box.  As in the basic one, you can start at either end or in the middle and work out.    You will also need to add a background section to the extreme right hand side to finish that section off.
  • For the next section, we’ll start with the left hand box, which is the same as before, a stack, and you will also need to add the background to the left.  You can choose whether or not to add the piece between this and the centre hand box to this section at this point.
  •  Next is the centre box, and the background section directly above it.  This is yet another stack, with a background section to the right, and also to the left if you did not add that section to the left hand box:
  • The next section will be the background bit above the left hand and centre boxes, which will be just on its own.
  • Finally you will add the shelf section as before
  • Now go and assemble!

You are now at the end of the first month, I hope you have found this useful, and I look forward to seeing your blocks in the Flickr group :o)