The other day, I was looking for a challenge… A block, that I’ve never before constructed, was a bit cutesy in design and was a possible candidate for a future block tutorial.
So when a challenge is needed, I go straight for my trusty, most favouritist, well spoken about quilting book – 130 Mini Quilt Blocks by Susan Briscoe!
In there was this block: the Dollhouse. A sweet little House on the Prairie type design, that immediately ticked off all the boxes in my head.
As I was making it, I really wanted to share my honest thoughts and experiences about how the block came together…
So here is my honest review of the Mini Dollhouse Block.
Because it’s a mini block, I knew that the measuring and cutting would be intricate and that I would have to be patient with it. There are a lot of different little pieces that make that up this block which requires quite a bit of concentration to keep track of everything you’re cutting and where it should go.
I did find that a few of the measurements seemed a little bit off. But I trusted the pattern and cut my fabrics according to what was published after checking back several times! At the time, the pieces that seemed a little odd in size included the square-triangles that were to be pieced to either end of the roof piece and the length of the two chimney strips.
When I began piecing, I first started with the bottom half of the house, joining together the windows, walls and door. I had no issue with these until it came time to adding on the four vertical 1″ strips separating the window and door strips. Although the length of these strips fit perfectly with the door strip, the window strips were too short, leaving a gap of about half an inch. ‘No problem’, I thought, as I would just simply trim the bottom edge so that it was even with the length of the window strips.
Moving on to making the roof, I had issues understanding how two 2&1/2″ squares were to be stitched diagonally on either side of a 2″x5&1/2″ rectangle. So I decided to cut the two squares down to 2″, drew a line through the middle of each and sewed them onto the ends of the rectangle roof piece. After trimming off the excess fabric from each end (the seam was cut to a 1/4″ allowance) and giving the section a good steamy press, I then attached the roof to the top of the house section. These two parts came together seamlessly and had very little over hang.
The part where I had the most difficulty was matching up the two chimney strips with the top edge corners of the roof. After piecing the allocated pieces together, I realised the centre square separating the two chimney strips was about half an inch too wide! So out came my trusty seam ripper and I patiently picked the two seams on either side of the square apart. (Remember, these pieces are super tiny, so my big fat fumbling fingers got in the way very easily!) I made the decision to cut a 1/4″ off from either side of the square, thus getting rid of the perforated surface that the stitching tension had caused and proceeded to try again. Success! Even though the pattern said to cut one 1&1/2″ square for this section, it ended up only needing a 1″x1&1/2″ strip.
So once I trimmed and squared off the edges, the finished block came to a size of 5&1/4″x5&5/8″ compared to the size of 5″ squared as stated in the book.
So that was my journey in making this block.
Now I must state, that everything I’ve written in this post is my own opinion. I simply wanted to document my experiences, triumphs, failures and the thought process behind this block as it was taking shape.
As I was writing this, I was conscience of not sounding too harsh or judgemental over the pattern being published slightly wrong. (Who knows, maybe it was just me getting things wrong…?) But to be completely honest, I was a little bit disappointed by it as this is the first block in this book to let me down! And that’s a real shame because the endless possibilities of creativity behind this patchwork book is brilliant! But I guess it’s also important to remember that not everything can be perfect. Mistakes happen. Information can be misplaced and be so easily entered in wrong. Perhaps that’s what’s happened in this case…?
So sometime very soon I will re-make this block using the measurements that I found worked out better as well as picking out a range of fabrics that go together a lot nicer in comparison to the block above. And once I’m happy with that, I’ll more than likely create a tutorial showing you how to make it!
Happy Sewing, Friends!