Pinwheel Shortcut Tutorial – Using Charm Packs

For this, you’ll use 5″ precut squares.  The print I used is a Riley Blake flutter pack and the white is Moda.  Here is a great source for charm packs.  I will be using a jelly roll for the fabric between the squares.

Click here, to see the images for this post in an imgur gallery.

1 Line up fabric

I’m not a fan of the quarter inch foot, so I choose to measure and adjust the needle position to where I want it.  I also use a post it to guide the 1/4″ mark in front of the needle.  This helps me to turn the corner at the right time.

2-1 measure needle

2-3 sew edge

2-5 sew edge

You’ll sew all the way around the outside of the square, with right sides facing each other.  Use a 1/4″ seam allowance.

2-6 check square

Cut the sewn squares on the two diagonals.

3-1 cut diagonal

Be sure to cut directly corner to corner of the square.

3-2 cut diagonal

Here’s a set with the cutting complete.

3-4 cxheck diagonal

It’s remarkably easy to mess the cutting step up, so be careful.  Take your time.

9-2 error

Take each triangle and iron open, iron the seam allowance toward the print or darker fabric.  A wooden iron can speed this process and save you from lots of getting up and down.

4-1 open squares

Finish all four.

4-2 open squares

If you plan to put this away and pick it up later, be sure to group corresponding pieces together.  Keep the sets of four organized.  They might not fit together if you mix them up.  These Wonder Clips are great for long term storage, where a needle would stretch and distort the fabric over time.

4-3 store squares

When you are ready to make your square, set out your pieces in the order you want them to be sewn together.  I suggest drawing a template or making a practice square so they all match in the end.  In my example, I forgot to do this.

9-1 error

When you sew them together, you will want to nestle the seam allowance together and make them fit together with the right sides facing each other.  Sew the top two as a pair, then sew the bottom two.

When you pull up a corner, you should see a straight line.

5-1 open squares

What to do:5-2 line up and sew

What not to do:5-3 line up and sew

Iron the seam allowance toward the dark side.

5-4 iron check rectangles

Once both rectangles are sewn and ironed, you’re ready to put the square together.  You’ll see where the seam allowance will be on the bottom of the top rectangle and the top of the bottom rectangle.

5-5 check rectangles

You’ll use the nestle method again to put the rectangles together.  You want to make sure that all of the lines are lined up, so that the points will meet in the center of the square and the lines will be straight.  This is more easily demonstrated than explained.

I like to pin the bottom two corners in place.  When you sew the rectangles together, watch where the point is.  If you’ve lined everything up, you can sew right next to the point and when you open it, the points will line up.

6-1 line up and sew

Check out the front and make sure you like what you see, if you need to seam rip, do it now.  The back of the square will look somewhat like this.  Keep in mind, iron the seam allowance to the darker fabric or the print in this case.

7-1 open and iron

when you open the seam it will make a mini-pinwheel in the center.  Iron this down first, then press the seam allowance down in the right directions with your fingers.  turn the square over and press with a hot iron.


Here’s what the center should look like.

7-2 open and iron

And, here’s my work in progress shot…  It’s a big improvement from two days ago!

10 work in progress