How to Make Tumbling Blocks Without Y-Seams

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Give Yours a Modern or Traditional Look!

Tumbling Blocks quilts have long been popular because of the three-dimensional effects that can be achieved. They’re stunning whether made from traditional prints, modern fabrics or solids.

The effect is achieved through value placement. Typically one side of a block is dark, the other is of medium value and the top of the block is light. That gives the illusion of light falling on an angled box.

Tumbling Blocks Quilt

The blocks are traditionally made by cutting diamond shapes and sewing them together with Y-seams, like the quilt shown above from The Cloth Parcel. However, it’s entirely possible to make a Tumbling Blocks quilt without Y-seams. The end result will be just as striking.

Kathryn McKenney from Beyond Sock Monkeys has written an excellent tutorial. She uses a 60 degree ruler (like this one) for cutting partially constructed blocks from strip sets.

Tumbling Blocks without Y-Seams Tutorial

In her article she discusses the orientation of the blocks. Notice how the darkest side can be on a side or the top. It all depends on the order in which you sew the strip sets together.

Click here for the free “3 – D Blocks using the Y-Not technique.”

TeresaDownUnder demonstrates a similar process in the following video. This technique was originally developed by Marci Baker (get her ABC 3-D Tumbling Blocks… and More! book here). Learn more about Teresa’s method here.

Click here to watch the video at YouTube if it doesn’t play on your device.

Leah Day goes much more in-depth in her tutorial. She demonstrates making a striking mini quilt from solids that’s just 16″ across.

Tumbling Blocks without Y-Seams Tutorial

The tips she provides along the way will help in constructing a Tumbling Blocks quilt of any size. You’ll find additional information in the following article. Leah prefers to use the Sidekick ruler (found here).

Click here for Leah’s “Tumbling Blocks Sunrise Quilt – Free Pattern.”

Click here to watch the video at YouTube if it doesn’t play on your device.


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