Sew Let's Quilt Along: Thimbles

It’s bittersweet to realize that we’ve come to the end of Sew Let’s Quilt Along. Today marks the final block of our journey. If you missed any of the previous blocks, you can find links to all of them on my quilt along page. Don’t wait too long, because they will only be free until the quilt along ends on September 24, 2019.

Since this is the last block, it’s also time for me to share my quilt setting! You can find that post here.

This week’s block features shelves of decorative thimbles. It was designed by April Adams of JANDA Bend Quilts. Head on over to her blog post to get the pattern.

You may notice that the lines in my thimbles are all at different angles instead of straight across. If you would like to make your thimbles wonky like I did, I’ve included a tutorial a bit farther down.

Tips for Success

Seam Test

It’s essential to test your seam allowance to make sure the rows of tumblers will come out the right length.

To test your seam allowance, cut two 2" squares and sew them together. Press as desired, and measure the resulting rectangle. The rectangle should be 3 1/2" long. If your rectangle is shorter, you need a narrower seam allowance. If your rectangle is longer, you need a wider seam allowance. Adjust your seam and try again. Once the rectangle is exactly 3 1/2" long, you're good to go.

Use Starch

It’s easy things to get wonky, especially when you’re working with narrow strips and bias edges. To help prevent that, I starched my fabrics with Best Press before cutting. It adds a little bit of stiffness to the fabric to help keep it from stretching. You still need to be gentle, but the Best Press makes a big difference.

Design Board

When I was ready to assemble the block, my design board really came in handy. It’s foam core covered with batting so that fabric sticks to it. I used it to lay out my pieces so I could be sure I kept them in order. I did have to overlap the tumblers a bit so they would all fit, but that wasn’t a problem. If you would like to make some design boards of your own, check out my tips here.

Lining up the Tumblers

It takes a bit of practice to get tumblers to come out right. I recommend sewing them one at a time (instead of chain piecing) until you’re confident.

The biggest thing to remember is to offset the tumblers just a little bit when you sew them. It may take a few tries to get the offset just right. If this is your first time sewing tumblers, you may want to practice with scrap fabric first so you don’t have to do as much seam ripping. Ask me how I know!

After every seam, check that your tumblers are lining up. You want a nice straight edge along the top and bottom. Don’t be discouraged if you have to redo a few of them. I certainly did!

Pin Long Seams

It’s so easy for long seams with narrow strips to get out of whack. To help keep them under control, I pinned the long seams in the block.

Centered Thimbles

I decided that I wanted the tumblers to be centered on the middle shelf rather than leaving room for a missing one. To center them, I simply used two background tumblers on each side (instead of having one background tumbler on the left and three on the right).

I made sure to center my thimbles when I trimmed the row.

Wonky Thimble Tutorial

The two-tone thimbles remind me of dipped pottery or ceramics. Since dipping always makes lines that are a little bit off kilter, I decided I really wanted my thimbles to be a little bit wonky. Here’s how I made them:

Start by cutting both thimble pieces 3” by 4”.

Sew the rectangles together along the long edge and press to one side.

Lay the ruler at an angle, making sure the 3 1/2” lines fit entirely on the fabric. Vary the angle each time to make all of your thimbles unique.

Trim the first two sides.

Rotate the block and line up the 3 1/2” marks with the sides you just cut.

Trim the remaining two sides. You should now have a 3 1/2” square with a wonky angle between the fabrics.

Use the measurements provided in the pattern to turn the square into a tumbler.

Now you have a wonky thimble!

Our Lovely Hosts

We have eight hosts for segment 3, and we all made our very own thimble blocks. Be sure to visit all of the lovely ladies below for more tips and inspiration. If you like what you see, leave a comment! We all love a bit of encouragement from our fellow quilters.


We will have a prize package at the end of every segment, as well as a grand prize at the end of the quilt along. The prizes are open to all participants that are at least 18 years old. If you don’t remember what I mean by segment, check out the intro post for a refresher on how this quilt along is structured.

How to Enter

To be eligible to win a segment prize, you need to make all of the blocks from that segment. Share a photo or photos of your blocks (in a single post) to be entered.

For segment 3, entries will be open from 12:00 am August 27 to 11:59 pm September 9, 2019 (Eastern time). There are three places you can share your blocks to be entered in the drawing:

Segment 3 Prize Package

We have a wonderful array of prizes for each segment! Here’s the prize package for segment 3:

Grand Prize

To be eligible to win the grand prize, you need to make all 13 blocks from the whole quilt along and turn them into a quilt or other project(s). Quilt tops don’t need to be quilted, but projects do need to be finished. Share a single post that shows all of the blocks in a quilt or project. It doesn’t matter how many projects or what projects you make, or how many blocks you use in each project as long as you show that you’ve used all 13 blocks in a finished project or projects.

Important Note

To keep the contest portion of the quilt-along fair and fun for everyone, only quilters that use all of the designers' blocks [in a quilt or project(s)] will be eligible for the grand prize. Likewise, our segment prizes will only be open to those that make all of the designers’ blocks for that segment.

Fabulous Sponsors

We are really lucky to have some amazing sponsors on board for this quilt along! Please check them out as thanks for supporting us. Bluprint, Dear Stella, Everything Mary, Island Batik, Paintbrush Studio Fabrics, Prym, Shabby Fabrics, Timeless Treasures, Warm Company Additionally, many of the block designers are donating their quilt patterns.

Wonky or Straight?

How do you think you’re going to make your thimbles? Do you like the different angles I used, or would you rather keep them all nice and straight like the pattern? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Whatever you do, your block will be wonderful.