Note: The Making the Block post includes a quick summary of what you need to make the block. This is a more in-depth explanation of each item. An introduction to the Stamp Collection block can be found here.
Each block is made with 100 squares a scant 2” x 2” each. I used 50 squares each in 2 color groups (yellow/green and gray). Within each color group, I used 2 squares each of 25 different fabrics. This means that there are 2 of each print in each block, which could make a fun matching game/I Spy quilt for a child.
When cutting your squares, position the line on your ruler so it is just outside (rather than on top of) the edge of the fabric, resulting in a cut square that is just a touch smaller than 2”. Don’t go crazy here. We’re only talking about a few threads smaller but, when you go to arrange the squares on the block grid, having them be a scant 2” x 2” will make a huge difference in how easily your block comes together.
Have fun fussy-cutting your favorite picture prints, but make sure they have room to breathe by also including some more basic monochromatic prints and/or solids.
For each block, you’ll need a 20” x 20” square of lightweight fusible interfacing. I’ve included a photo of my bolt above. (This is the same kind of interfacing that I use to make bags.) The interfacing I use is exactly 20” wide, making it super-easy to cut to size.
After trying many products, including gridded interfacing designed for this kind of piecing, I find that I prefer to use a lightweight fusible designed for apparel sewing. I just had too many problems with the quilting-specific grids crinkling and ripping.
Don’t hesitate to try different gridded or non-gridded products to see what works best for you. Just keep in mind that the weight of the interfacing will add to the weight of your block, so you’ll want to use a product that is as lightweight as possible.
Instead of drawing a grid on the interfacing, or using interfacing with a grid already on it, I made a reusable grid that I can lay under the (translucent) interfacing while I’m arranging the tiny squares.
For this, you’ll need a piece of muslin or other solid scrap fabric at least 21” x 21”. Press this fabric, using starch or Best Press if you have it, until it is completely flat and free from wrinkles.
Lay the pressed fabric on your 24” x 36” cutting mat and use a permanent fabric marker and the lines on the mat as a guide to draw a 20” x 20” grid made of 100 squares, each 2” x 2”.
I used a Copic marker to draw my lines. If you don’t have a permanent fabric marker, a Sharpie will also work, but it may be fume-y during the block making process. The marker will probably get on the ruler so, if you have a metal drafting ruler or an older quilting ruler, use that instead of your good 6” x 24” ruler. Before using any marker on top of your good cutting mat, test in an inconspicuous place to make sure no bleeding will occur.
You’ll need a flat, sturdy pressing area at least as big as your muslin grid. Ideally, this would be a pressing table or board made of plywood wrapped in batting and fabric.
I made my 29” x 34” pressing table the same way I made this mini pressing table, using a piece of custom-cut plywood placed on top of an IKEA VIKA table and leg setup. You could also use a 24” x 24” piece of plywood to make a portable cutting board to set on top of your regular work table.
If you’re looking for something a little simpler, you can just lay a couple of layers of cotton batting on your work table. (You’ll be pressing on this surface, so be mindful of whether this will damage the table.)
Cutting the seam allowance open is probably the least fun part of this process, but it’s a lot easier with the right scissors! I found that my dressmaker’s shears were too big and my embroidery scissors were too small to open the seams efficiently. Instead, I used these 5” paper cutting scissors. Their super-sharp point slid into the seam allowance easily, and the handles were relatively comfortable to hold (which is important, because there’s a lot of cutting to do).
Needle and Thread
I used the same 100% cotton thread and 80/12 Microtex Sharp needles that I normally use for piecing.
Phew! That’s everything.
Read about how to make the block here.