Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Gypsy Wife Section 2 {Pershing tutorial}

Yay, it's March 1 - that means time to start section two of Gypsy Wife.
This post is dedicated to the Pershing Block.

I have to be honest and say that this block is probably the most difficult one in the quilt - only because it has lots of components and you need to keep your seams very accurate. I estimate it took me about 2 hours, but there were cups of coffee and photographing included in that time, so it might not take you that long. It also looks great when its done, so it's totally worth the effort!

If you are worried about your accuracy, you could try paper piecing the block. There is a pdf you can download here courtesy of Julie Hirt- 627handworks.com. Just check when you print it out that the square in the centre that includes A1 and E2,3,4, 5 measures 3" before you start sewing so that it comes out the right size.
EDITED: I had originally written  3.5" as the center size, but I forgot that seam allowances aren't included. The correct size when measuring the centre block is 3"

A couple of tips before we crack on.
I pressed all the seams open for this block. I also pressed each little component as I went. This really helps with accuracy.

Work slowly and pin pin pin. Pinning can be tedious, but so is unpicking, out of the two, pinning seems the lesser of two tedious tasks to me :-)

Right, let's start!

Start with one of those little square in square blocks that you might be becoming familiar with. It should measure 3.5" when you are done.

Follow the cutting instructions for the next set of corners. When you sew these on, make sure they are centred by finding the mid-point of the edge and lining it up with the point made by the centre square. I have stuck a pin in here so you can see what I mean. I usually just fold the piece in half and finger press, but I have marked the fabric with a pen so you can see it.

Once I have lined up the centres I flip the pieces over and sew from the side you can see below. That way, I can keep an eye on that point in the centre.

After you have added the four corner blocks, the whole block should measure 4.75"

Now you will follow exactly the same process for the next round. When you have put these corners on, the block will measure 6.5"

Now you are ready to make the little units that go along the edges. The trick to remember here is that you are always sewing one of the shorter edges. It is easy to get them muddled up. Also, you are working with bias edges so handle them gently.

In the picture below I have flipped that floral piece in the centre over to the left. You need to offset it at the bottom 1/4". You can just eyeball the quarter inch, but if you know your eye isn't completely reliable, measure it with your ruler and mark it. I have made a mark where my pin is pointing.

Press the seams open and lay it in front of you right side up. This time you want to make sure the offset is at the top edge where the pin is pointing.

In the picture below I have trimmed the top one. It should measure 2" in width. (the width of the coloured triangle plus seam allowance).

Attach these units matching the points as best you can. Pin pin pin :-)

When you have attached these units, they should measure 2.5" from the seam line.

Almost there! Now it is just a matter of attaching the corner triangles using the same method you have used throughout. The block will now measure 9.5". 


  1. beautiful, megan! this will be so helpful, especially with the measurement guides you've included. nice work!

  2. beautiful, megan! this will be so helpful, especially with the measurement guides you've included. nice work!

  3. I think the middle block should be 3" because paper piecing does not account for seam allowance, please tell me I'm right or I have get it blown up somehow, beckyhicks83@yahoo.com
    My fingers are crossed

  4. I want to thank you for the tips in this post! I am learning a lot. But, I am beyond frustrated because it is not the correct size or square! LOL. :-) I have tried printing off that paper pieced PDF link you provided; but, the print out is also not to size. I have tried a variety of ways to get it "enlarged"; but, nothing is working at the moment. I will keep trying because I so want this quilt!

  5. What about drawing it out on some graph paper to get the size you need?

  6. What about drawing it out on some graph paper to get the size you need?

  7. Thank you for this...especially including the measurements at each stage and the offset instructions for the triangle units on the outer edges. Unlike many other people, my block actually is 9 1/2".

  8. thank you ever so much for your insights & help with this lovely block! :)