How to Make Simple Polaroid Quilt Blocks » Polka Dot Chair

Learn how to create Polaroid quilt blocks using a method I call “no math quilt blocks.” It's a semi-improvised technique that uses pre-cut strips of fabric. You can create your blocks in the size of your choice!

A free, math-free tutorial on Polaroid quilt blocks.  Learn how to make Polaroid quilt blocks of any size - no math required!

Years ago I attended QuiltCon in Savannah, Georgia and taught a mini-class on making Polaroid quilt blocks. Today I'm going to share with you what I taught in my demonstration and give you some ideas of things to make with Polaroid quilt blocks.

[this post has been updated from a previous version]

Contents

About QuiltCon in Savannah

As I mentioned above, I attended the Quilt Con convention in Savannah, Georgia. QuiltCon is a quilting convention open to the public and designed to appeal to those interested in modern quilting.

Ever since I started blogging, I've wondered if I could be considered a “modern quilter.” To be honest, I still don't know if I am, but I'm not in a big hurry to find out.

A free, math-free tutorial on Polaroid quilt blocks.  Learn how to make Polaroid quilt blocks of any size - no math required!

Honestly, I should dedicate an entire blog post to Quilt Con. I don't seem to be very good lately and I can't seem to write things down in a timely manner, so I'll just summarize.

  • Everyone was SO KIND and the environment was very welcoming.
  • The vendors had a good mix of modern and traditional quilting items, including clothing and bag designs.
  • I wish I could have taken a class; they all looked fabulous.
  • Many vendors offered free meals and meals to attendees.

About Polaroid Quilt Blocks

A free, math-free tutorial on Polaroid quilt blocks.  Learn how to make Polaroid quilt blocks of any size - no math required!

Polaroid quilt blocks are called that because they look like old Polaroid photos. They most often have a central piece of fabric that has been cut out and are surrounded by a white border that is wider at the bottom than at the sides. I didn't invent them. This tutorial is simply intended to teach you how I like to make them.

This tutorial will teach you how to make a Polaroid quilt block of ANY size without doing any calculations in advance! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE math, but if I can save time, I'm all for it.

If you want your blocks to be a certain size when finished, then you will need to do some calculations in advance.

However, if you're ready to take a more improvisational approach to your project, the only things you need to know are:

One: How big is the square in the center of the block.

Second: how big do you want your borders to be.

A free, math-free tutorial on Polaroid quilt blocks.  Learn how to make Polaroid quilt blocks of any size - no math required!

Okay, are you ready to get started?

How to Make Polaroid Quilt Blocks

My method for creating Polaroid Quilt blocks uses chain assembly to speed up the block manufacturing process. This method will also allow you to cut blocks of different sizes at the same time!

A free, math-free tutorial on Polaroid quilt blocks.  Learn how to make Polaroid quilt blocks of any size - no math required!

Polaroid Quilt Blocks “No Math”

Melissa Mortenson

Learn how to create adorable polaroid quilt blocks using our free tutorial.

Preparation time 30 minutes

Active time 1 hour

Total time 1 hour 30 minutes

supplies

  • ten pieces Various fancy fabric prints cut into squares. The number of squares you need to cut will depend on the number of blocks you want to make. The bunny fabric is Wonderland by Riley Blake Designs, it is sold out.
  • The 2 ½” wide white strips of fabric are generally called jelly strips. If you do not have pre-cut 2 ½” strips, you will need to cut your fabric into 2 ½” x WOF strips.

Instructions

The first step:

  • A note on size: The size of your center squares will depend on the size of your fabric “design” that you wish to feature. The bunny fabric squares measure 4″ x 4″. With a ¾” side and top border and a 1 ½” bottom border, this will result in a 4 ½” x 5 ¼” block before finishing. Other measures:A 2 ½” center square will result in a 3″ x 3 ¾” block before finishing.A 3″ center square will result in a 3 ½” x 4 ¼” block before finishing.A 3 ½” center square will result in a 4″ x 4 ¾” block before finishing.A 4 ½” center square will result in a 5″ x 5 ¾” block before finishing.A 5″ center square will result in a 5 ½” x 6 ¼” block before finishing.A 5 ½” center square will result in a 6″ x 6 ¾” block before finishing.A 6″ center square will result in a 6 ½” x 7 ¼” block before finishing.If you are working with center squares larger than 6″, you will need to increase the size of your borders to be proportional to the size of the center square.
  • Difficult Cut your fabric into squares. Intricate cutting simply means cutting a specific “scene” of your fabric rather than just cutting it from the end of the fabric.

  • Place one of your squares on top of one of your 2 ½” wide strips, right sides together, so that you sew the side of your square (not the top or bottom). Sew in place with an excess of ¼” seam. Do NOT cut your thread or remove the fabric from the machine.
  • With the jelly roll strip still under your presser foot, place your next square on top of the strip, right sides together. Point.

  • Repeat until you run out of squares or run out of jelly roll fabric.

Step four:

  • Repeat the process this time, sewing the white strip of fabric to the top and bottom of the sewn blocks.

  • Iron the seams on one side.

  • Cut the white strips so they are flush with the sides of the block.

  • Next, cut the TOP white border to the same width as your side borders.

  • Cut the BOTTOM white border to line the witch of your side borders. For example, if your side borders were ¾”, cut your bottom border to 1 ½”.

  • That's it!

TO PRINT

A free, math-free tutorial on Polaroid quilt blocks.  Learn how to make Polaroid quilt blocks of any size - no math required!

That's it!

This method is so simple that you can even sew blocks of different sizes at the same time.

A free, math-free tutorial on Polaroid quilt blocks.  Learn how to make Polaroid quilt blocks of any size - no math required!

What to do with Polaroid quilt blocks:

If you're wondering WHAT to do with the blocks when you're done, here are some suggestions.

You can turn the blocks into a fun quilted zipper pouch.

How to Make a Quilted Zippered Pouch Using Polaroid Quilt Blocks
A free, math-free tutorial on Polaroid quilt blocks.  Learn how to make Polaroid quilt blocks of any size - no math required!

Or you can make a mini quilt!

You can also sew all the blocks together with contrasting sashing to create a larger quilt.

A free, math-free tutorial on Polaroid quilt blocks.  Learn how to make Polaroid quilt blocks of any size - no math required!


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