This pair of Classic blocks was made using a 10" square of print fabric and a 2 1/2" x width of fabric strip of solid fabric. Each block is 6" x 6" (finished size). The Paintbox Quilt uses 40 such pairs of blocks (80 blocks total).
A "true" Paintbox Quilt will have monochromatic blocks in a variety of colors -- ideally 40 different colors and prints. If this is the look you're going for, you'll want to pair your solid strips with prints in coordinating colors, like the fabric shown above. Notice how the slight contrast in value (the lightness of darkness of the colors) adds visual interest to the blocks.
Of course, this block style and quilt pattern will work equally well without the paintbox color scheme, so don't hesitate to quilt along using entirely different kinds of fabrics!
Note: The print in these photos is Alexander Henry's Fashion Dot.
Begin by trimming the selvedge from your solid fabric strip. From one end, cut a square, 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" and a rectangle, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2". Cut the rest of the strip into two thinner strips, each 1 1/4" wide.
Note: Measure from the points of the pinked edges.
Now, lay your 10" square on your cutting mat.
Note: If you're using a directional print, orient the square horizontally, so the "top" of the print is on the left or right side (it doesn't matter which) rather than at the top. Cutting the square from this position will allow you to orient directional prints so they appear to radiate out from the center, as with the ovals in my sample blocks.
Cut each square as follows, starting on the left side:
1. Cut a 2 1/2" strip. From this strip, cut one square, 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" and one rectangle, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2".
2. Cut a 1 3/4" strip. From this strip, cut two pieces 5" long.
3. Cut a 1 3/4" strip. From this strip, cut two pieces 4" long.
4. Cut a 1 3/4" strip. From this strip, cut one piece 6 1/2" long and one piece 2 1/2" long.
5. Cut a 1 3/4" strip. From this strip, cut one piece 6 1/2" long and one piece 2 1/2" long.
Set aside the 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" rectangles of both the solid and print fabrics. These will be used to make the larger Swatch Card blocks on the quilt back.
Note: The cutting directions for the 10" square will result in directional prints being "sideways" on these little swatches. I don't think this will be a big deal for most prints (like the one shown above) but, if you have a print that you think will look funny, you may want to cut a differently-oriented swatch from extra fabric to set aside for your quilt back.
Let's start sewing! As always, I'm using a 1/4" seam allowance and all seams are pressed open.
Start with the 2 1/2" square of your solid fabric, the 2 1/2" print strips, and the 5" print strips. Sew a 2 1/2" print strip to the top and bottom of the solid square.
Note: If your solid fabric has pinked edges, the points of those pinked edges should line up with the cut edges of your print fabric.
Sew a 5" strip to the left and right sides of the block.
From one of your 1 1/4" wide solid strips, cut two pieces 5" long and two pieces 6 1/2" long. Sew a 5" solid strip to the top and bottom of the block. Sew a 6 1/2" strip to either side of the block.
Note: If you're using precut strips with a pinked edge, I recommend sewing the pinked edges into your seam allowances (as shown above) so they don't end up on the outside of your block. When it comes time to add the sashing and finish the quilt top, I think you'll find it easier to accurately piece the finished blocks if they don't have pinked edges.
To make the second block, start with the 2 1/2" print square. From the remaining 1 1/4" solid strips, cut two pieces 2 1/2" long and two pieces 4" long. You'll also use the remaining 4" and 6 1/2" print strips.
Using the same construction method from the first block, sew the 2 1/2" solid strips to the top and bottom of the 2 1/2" print square. Sew a 4" solid strip to either side. Sew a 4" print strip to the top and bottom, and finish by sewing a 6 1/2" strip to either side of the block.
And that's it. Your second block is done!