Sunday, January 25, 2015

Portable Block Design Board Tutorial

I've been making a few of these Portable Block Design Boards.  I just love them and thought you might like them too.  They are really pretty easy and oh so handy to have.  I can't believe I've pieced thousands of blocks without them.

I first learned of these cute, handy dandy boards when I was reading Lori Holt's blog Bee In My Bonnet.  She has a tutorial for them as well but her method is completely different than mine.  Lori uses hot glue and I'm not a huge fan of hot glue.  I always burn my fingers.  I thought there had to be another way of making these cutie pie boards without it.  You can check it out and decide for yourself which way you like better.  Either method you use, you're gonna LOVE them.

I have made 2 sizes, a 10" one and a 14" one.  I use the 10" one for smaller blocks less than 8" and I use the 14" one for 12" blocks or less.

Here's what you'll need to make one.  I'll give you instructions for the 14" one.  If you want the 10" one, just change the cutting directions accordingly.

1 - 15" square of flannel (I pre-washed mine)
1 - 15" square of backing fabric (I used a fat quarter)
2 - 15" squares of fusible web (I used wonder under)
2 - 15" squares of heavy, heavy fusible interfacing (I used Pellon's Peltex)
1 - 14" square of heavy card stock (I used the photo matting board material that I bought at Hobby Lobby in the photo department.  I comes in a large sheet about 36" x 48".  Poster board is NOT stiff enough.)
2 - 2 1/2" x WOF for binding

Begin by adhering the fusible interfacing to the backing square

And to the flannel square.  A steam iron is a must to get the fusible interfacing to stick.

Next fuse the wonder under to each of the squares (backing and flannel).   Peel off the backing paper of the Wonder Under.  Now position the card stock square in the middle of the flannel square and then place the backing square on top of it.  You are making a sandwich of flannel square, Peltex, Wonder Under, Card stock, Wonder Under, Peltex, and backing square.  You should have a 1/2" margin around the card stock.  Now fuse that together with a hot steam iron.

Now you're ready to prepare your binding.  I'm going to bind it just like I would a quilt or placemat.  Join your two 2 1/2" strips together with a bias seam.  I lay them at right angles and sew a diagonal line across as shown below.  

Trim the seam to 1/4" and press open.

Now press the strip in half lengthwise.

Begin sewing the binding to the back side of the board.  I turn under 1/2" at the beginning.  

Sew to the corner, stopping 1/4" from the corner.  Remove from the sewing machine.

Flip the strip back at a right angle .....

Then fold it forward down the next side, making it almost even with the previous edge.  You want it to stick out past the end just about 1/16" of an inch.

Begin sewing down that side, sewing all the way to the next corner, stopping 1/4" from the edge.  Repeat this process for all 4 sides.

When you get back around to the beginning where you started, overlap the binding 1/2"

Now flip the board over, bring the binding around to the front side and top stitch the binding in place. When you bring it around to the front, you want to just barely cover your stitching line used to sew it on with.  You want to attach the binding in the 1/2" margin.  You don't want to stitch on the card stock.  Your needle might not like it too well!

I used pins at the corner to get my miter nice and neat.  I also found that a bent pin works best as the board is stiff and the bent pin is easier to manipulate in the binding to hold it in place until it's stitched down.

Ta Da!  And there you have it.  A PORTABLE BLOCK DESIGN BOARD.  
The front.....

And the back...

The boards are great to lay your block out on, move to the sewing machine and sew it up...

 move to the ironing board and press it...

 move back to the sewing machine, and never get your block out of order.  

Go make yourself one or two or a dozen.  You'll love your PORTABLE BLOCK DESIGN BOARDS!



  1. Hi Doris...another great tutorial! Thanks!
    Have a great day! Hugs. Marg.

  2. Thanks for tutorial......I really like this concept....making it shouldn't be too hard. Have a blessed day! J

  3. I use an old cookie sheet with a layer of batting taped to the bottom of it. Yours is much prettier!!!

  4. I really like the way you turned the binding under and then overlapped. That saves a lot of time joining the ends doesn't it? I need to try that. Nice tutorial.


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