An archive of sewing tutorials and inspiration


Skill Builder Block of the Month

Have you started planning your projects for 2013? During Reader Appreciation Week here at Pile O' Fabric, one of the giveaway questions I had asked was what some of your 2013 goals are. Here are some of the goals I heard from you all…
  • learn different piecing methods like paper piecing, curves, etc.
  • learn how to Free Motion Quilt, and practice it often
  • conquer a larger quilt
  • finish at least one entire quilt in the year
Those are much of my similar goals, so I took that feedback and decided that I will be hosting a FREE Skill Builder Block of the Month (BOM) here at Pile O' Fabric.

BOM Goals

My ultimate goal with this BOM is that you and I walk away in December 2013 with new skills or refreshed and sharpened. This BOM is definitely challenging myself in many areas so we will be learning together. If you are a beginner quilter, I encourage you to jump in with no reservations and just have fun with it, there may be some real easy blocks, and then some real hard ones, but just give them a try! If you are an advanced quilter, I encourage you to take a little refresher on these techniques and sharpen your skills. As a newer quilter myself, I also hope that you will share your opinion and expertise with me and the others. For example you may think, "Wow there is a way easier way to do this" if so let me know so we can all learn together. I want us to walk away with confidence in Free Motion Quilting, experience with quilting as you go method, and experience with multiple piecing techniques.

BOM Details (updated)

This BOM will have a total of 20 blocks, 2 blocks per month. On Thursday, January 17th, 2013 I will post the first lesson. On the 3rd Thursday of the month I will post the Block Lesson, which will include photo step by step instructions of the 2 blocks for that month (with occasional video tutorials). You will also be given a PDF of the lesson so you can print it off your computer. Then 2 weeks later I will post the FMQ Lesson, in this lesson I will go over how to plan the ideas for these blocks, and the actual quilting. That way you have about 2 weeks time to make the blocks before I start talking about actually quilting. Ultimately you have 4 weeks time between each set of 2 blocks.

Lesson Techniques

Here are the techniques we will be working through.
  • Basic Patchwork Piecing
  • Improv Piecing
  • Strip Piecing
  • Foundation Paper Piecing
  • English Paper Piecing
  • Curves Piecing
  • Applique
  • Pixel Piecing
  • Log Cabin Piecing
January through October we will be piecing and quilting our blocks. In November we will add our borders and in December we will piece our blocks and borders together! To see the exact schedule visit this page.

Quilting and Piecing the Quilt

Something that makes this BOM a bit unique is that we will be quilting all the blocks as we go. Now this may be a new method to you all, do not fear it is actually very easy and fun! The QAYG method I will be teaching was inspired by Leah Day's method which uses binding strips to piece your blocks. I decided to do QAYG because I really want you all to get quality Free Motion Quilting experience without stressing out about the bulk of the quilt. In each FMQ lesson I will be sharing with you all the details of my machine quilting. For example how I decided what to quilt on each block, any challenges I experienced while quilting, and advice and tips. My hope is that you will approach free motion quilting on each block with no fears ready to play and just go for it. My experience with Free Motion Quilting thus far has been highly inspired by Angela WaltersLeah Day, and Sharon Schamber. I will be teaching many of their methods and directing you to their tutorials as well.

The Blocks and Quilt

I spent a few weeks designing these blocks. Some of them are based on classic designs you have seen before, and some I designed from scratch. Since I have not made the blocks yet, there may be slight changes or adjustments as we go, but here is what the quilt should look like when we are done.
The quilt will finish at approximately 73.5" x 88", which is just shy of a Queen size. The quilt has a very eclectic feel to it! The really neat thing about the QAYG technique is that you end up with a basically two quilts in one. On the back you have a wonderful opportunity to pick out 20 of your favorite prints, maybe some that you just don't want to cut into itty bitty pieces.

Fabric & Supplies

Coming up with exact yardages for this quilt is frankly a nightmare, haha. I can't really say you will need 4 yds of this or that, because we will be working from scraps, and our stash. But, I do wan't to share with you what I plan on using in hopes that it will help you pin down the fabric you will need. I have put together a whole lesson on choosing your colors and fabrics which I will post tomorrow.

Lesson Interaction

One of the really important parts of of this BOM is working closely to help each other grow. So I have created a Skill Builder BOM Flickr Group. I'd like you to post photos of all your progress in this group and if you have any questions, suggestions, tips, anything at all to discuss, please use the Flickr Group. If you do not have a Flickr Account I really encourage you to get one, I am here to help you set that up if you need me.


I would love it if you would help me spread the word about this BOM. Here is a blog button…
Pile O' Fabric
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Did I forget anything? I look forward to getting to know you this New Year and quilting along with you!
Alyssa Williams

Alyssa Williams

Creator of Pile O' Fabric

Alyssa Lichner is a graphic designer turned avid sewist. She writes modern quilting tutorials and shares techniques and inspiration on her blog, Pile O’ Fabric. Alyssa has a passion for exploring different techniques and applying them to modern designs. She is thankful to have the opportunity to share these techniques, through her tutorials, patterns, and classes with quilters around the world. She always encourages her readers and students to challenge themselves to try new things and to approach quilting with a fearless attitude.