New Orleans House Project

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Tiny Tuesday: 3-D Bow Tie Block

Welcome to my Tiny Tuesday Tutorial!  I'm publishing this a little early, as Monday is a holiday and may afford some stitchers the chance to complete their weekly block ahead of schedule.

When SoScrappy Angela described her idea for a tiny block sampler for this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I was intrigued.  I figured small blocks in rainbow colors would be a fun challenge, even if the finished block size was an untypical 4.5 inches.  Better still, Angela was inviting RSC participants to submit their own block tutorials for the challenge.

One idea that immediately occurred to me was the 3-D or Origami Bow Tie block.  I learned how to make this block many moons ago at a quilt guild demonstration.  Since then, I've made several quilts using this traditional block with a structural twist.  Once you figure out the slightly unusual block construction, the blocks are fun and addicting to make!

Note:  I recommend reading through the instructions before sewing up your block.  If you need more help visualizing the process, there are several Youtube videos available online.  Sometimes seeing the process demonstrated is easier than looking at static pictures.

For one 3-D Bow Tie block (finished size 4.5 inches), you will need:
  • 3 bow tie fabric squares, 2.75 inches
  • 2 background fabric squares, 2.75 inches

Take one of the bow tie fabric squares and fold it in half, wrong sides together.  Finger press the fold.  This will eventually become the knot of the bow tie.

Place the folded square on top of one of the background squares, right sides together.  Align the raw edges at the top.  I've used a pin to hold things together and mark the raw edges.

Place another bow tie fabric square on top of the background and folded square combo - right sides together.  Pin together on the left side.  Keep the background/folded square combo raw edges at the top - see next picture.

I've temporarily flipped back the bow tie fabric square so you can see the placement of the background fabric and folded bow tie fabric pieces.

Stitch a 1/4 inch seam along the pinned edge.

After stitching the seam, finger press the seam away from the folded bowtie square, as shown above.  The raw edges of the folded square should be at the top.

Keep the block aligned as shown in previous picture.  Place remaining bow tie fabric square under the folded square, right sides together.  Place remaining background fabric square on top of the folded fabric square, right sides together.  Align the edges of the two squares with the top and right side of the folded fabric square.  My pin is marking the top right edge of the folded fabric square.

Stitch a 1/4 inch seam along the right edge, as shown above.

After stitching the second seam, your bow tie block should look like this.  The folded square makes a "bridge" between the two sections of bow tie and background fabric squares.  

Looking at the block from the top, you can see the folded square piece can open.  This piece will now be pinched and pulled into the knot on the bow tie. 

Align the four bow tie and background squares as if you were aligning two sections of a 4-patch block.  While aligning the squares, open the folded square/knot so the raw edges line up with the raw edges of the other squares.

Pin the raw edges together (right sides together), catching the edges of the bow tie square/knot, but being careful not to catch any other part of the knot.  I've flipped the block open in the picture so you can see how the folded square/knot should look.

Pin everything securely in place and stitch a 1/4 inch seam, catching the folded square/knot in the seam.

Completed seam.

Open the block and make sure you didn't catch the center of the knot in your seam.

Press and enjoy your completed Tiny Tuesday 3-D Bow Tie block!