The design is inspired by Seminole patchwork so I started out by looking at tutorials for how this is done. The quick rundown: Sew strips of fabric together, cut strips at an angle, sew those together. This is a fast block to make, and is great for using up strips of fabric. With that said, it does generate a fair deal of waste. I’ve tried to minimize it as much as possible, and I’m happy to hear feedback on how to improve the waste in this design.
Shattered Chevron Block
This makes a 12.5″ x 12.5″ unfinished block. All seams are 1/4″ and while I generally press my seams open, I found that I preferred to press them to the side for this block. It lends a bit more stability and honestly it’s a lot of seams so it’s easier. However, it will still work if you choose to press them open.
Note: I am left-handed, so please forgive the left-handed ruler placement in the photos. I trim on the left instead of the right. Also, if you figure out better ways to do things, please feel free to share! I’d love to hear them.
You will need:
5-20 different fabrics, depending on how complicated you want the block to be
4 – 2.25″ x 12.5″ strips of background fabric for the border
For the block shown in the tutorial, Peggy had asked for purples, aquas, and lime greens with white. I generally choose 6 or 7 fabrics for each color.
For picking fabrics, I like what I call “coordinated scrappy” so I chose a lot of different fabrics. This pattern is very flexible, so you can reuse fabrics if you want a less scrappy look. I am going for almost maximum scrappy so I chose 7 greens, 6 purples, and 7 blues for a total of 20 fabrics. If you are using scrap strips, you will want your strips to be at least ~6-8″ if they are on the thinner side, or at least ~10-12″ if they are on the thicker side. You might be able to get away with less if you are a more careful and precise piecer than I am.
Once the fabrics are chosen, sort them into piles based on what you want your chevron strips to look like. I am going for scrappy so I make sure I have 1-2 of each color in each strip. I have found that 5 fabrics per strip work best, and I’ll be making four different strips.
Take one stack of five fabrics, and decide which order they’re going to be in. Cut strips from each fabric. The top and bottom fabric should be cut at 4″ wide, while the three inner fabrics should be cut anywhere between 1-2″.
Once the fabrics are cut, line the up using the 45 degree mark on your cutting board. We’ll be cutting them at a 45 degree angle, so this helps minimize a lot of waste.
Sew the strips together, keeping the layout you found from lining up to the 45 degree mark on the mat.
Once all the strips are sewn together, press your seams. Again, I press to one side for this particular project, but pressing open is fine.
Line up the bottom of the fabric with the 45 degree mark on your ruler, and trim off the corners along the left side. (For you right-handers, flip and trim on the right side!)
Now comes the magic of Seminole piecing.
Cut 1 3/4″ strips from your newly trimmed edge. Cut two strips.
Your strips will look something like this. I have four here, but you only need 2.
Next, pick another stack of fabrics and repeat the process.
For the last two stacks, you need to get the diagonals going in the opposite direction, which means lining up against the opposite 45 degree mark on the mat. Flipping the strips does not change the direction of the diagonal.
Repeat the same steps as above.
Trim and cut the strips from the side that was lined up along the 45 degree line.
You only need to cut two strips. Four are shown here, but they are for a variation I will discuss at the end of the tutorial.
Take your last stack and repeat the process, using the 45 degree line on the right side of the mat.
Now comes the fun part. You should have two sets of strips with a diagonal going up and to the right, and two that go down and to the right.
Design a layout for your block by alternating strips going in each direction. This is what creates the chevron shape.
Remember that you can flip each individual strip to add variety. I generally do one of each set, then repeat it, flipped. You have a lot of wiggle room, so the strips don’t need to line up at either end. The less they line up, the more chaotic the end result will be.
Sew the strips together once you are happy with your layout.
The strips are cut on the bias so they are pretty stretchy. Be careful to not stretch them too much while sewing.
Trim the block to 10″ square.
This doesn’t have to be very precise. I actually tend to trim to 10 x 10.5″ because I like the longer tails on each strip, and can’t bear to trim them too much.
Now just add the border.
I do the top and bottom borders first because I find it helps to hold the block’s shape. I use 2.25″ border, and trim down. If you have trimmed aggressively, you will want to cut larger border pieces.
Add the side borders, trim to 12.5″ x 12.5″ and you are done!
Tips and Variants
I’m kinda impatient and lazy, so I don’t like to continuously line up the strips along the 45 degree mark after the first time. If you have some wiggle room in your strip length, you can just eyeball it. When you are lining up the fabrics right sides together, try to leave approximately a square of exposed fabric in the top strip.
It won’t be perfect, but it will get you close enough.
If you don’t want quite so much scrappy, and want to use fewer fabrics, you can make two sets of fabric instead of four, and cut four strips from each instead of two. Just make sure that each one lines up against the different 45 degree marks so you get chevrons.
(And this is why the pictures above show four cut instead of just two).
Here is a version that is larger, with smaller strips (1.5″ instead of 1.75″) and cut at 30 degrees instead of 45 degrees.
Here are some examples of the block in other colors as an idea of the variation possible with the block.
There are a lots of other interesting variations and I’d love to see what you all make using this pattern! Please feel free to share them in our flickr group.
Also, if you find any errors or have any comments, please don’t hesitate to let us know!