How to Make String Blocks

Sewing blocks with strips, strings, and selvages can be really fun, but long pieces can warp a bit when stitched directly to each other. Use a basic paper foundation to stabilize the block so you can have crisp stripes all day long. Warning: this technique is a bit addictive!

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How to Make String Blocks with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

I'm always a fan of quick and classic quilt block, and string blocks are no exception! Use this technique to use of strings and strips from 3/4 inch wide up to 2 1/2 inches wide or more (depending on the size of the finished block. String blocks are perfect for selvages and can be trimmed and arranged in all kinds of interesting ways to make this classic little block feel fresh and even modern. 

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Materials

  • Strings and strips-- my favorites are pieces 3/4-2 1/2 inches wide and at least 10 inches long
  • Foundation papers. Traditionally, this would be phone book or catalogue pages, and if you still have phone books delivered, this is an awesome way to give them a new lease on life! If you're like me, though, and don't really have either or if you want to make bigger blocks, try deli papers, those thin, crispy papers they use to wrap sandwiches or donuts, in various sizes that you can order online or find at the grocery store. 
How to Make String Blocks with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

Step-by-Step

This technique is an AWESOME introduction to foundation paper piecing. If you'd like to know more about FPP, you can read my full post on the topic here. 

1) Gather your materials, and shorten the stitch length on your machine a bit (I like to set mine to 1.8 vs its usual 2.5)

How to Make String Blocks with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

2) Center your first strip or string (either straight across the block or on the diagonal) and carefully pin it RIGHT SIDE UP to the paper (Make sure the fabric extends past the paper edges a bit). Pinning this first piece makes it one less thing your have to hold as you get started. If you're working with a small block and find holding it without pins to work well, go for it. 

How to Make String Blocks with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

3) Line up your second strip or string RIGHT SIDE DOWN on the first one so that the edges are aligned and right sides are together. Sew a quarter inch seam down one edge, though both pieces of fabric and the paper. 

How to Make String Blocks with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

4) Press the top strip open so that both sides are facing up. Repeat this process from the center out across the block to one edge, then repeat with the other side until the whole foundation paper is full. The edges will be uneven and messy, but the paper will be covered. Press the whole block firmly (starch if desired).

How to Make String Blocks with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

5) Trim the block to the desired size

6) Remove the papers from the back AFTER the block has been pieced with other blocks or with sashing to prevent stretching or warping

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How to Make String Blocks with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

PS Don't forget to pin this post so you can find it later!

This post is part of the Summer Stash Busting Challenge-- Welcome! Be sure to check out the original post to see the full lineup of content here. 

Have you been on the fence about joining our Summer 2018 Lanterns of Hope Quilt-A-Long? The pattern is now available in THREE sizes-- twin, throw, and mini-- making it more scrap-friendly that ever before! Now you can join the fun and bust a bit of stash without overwhelming yourself with yet another WIP.  Join the Quilting Rockstars Facebook Group and get in on the fun!