Everything's Coming Up Roses - Part II - Making the Roses Square

Hi!  Wendi again chiming in on the blocks for our Fisher House charity quilt.  At the last guild meeting we had a discussion about how to join our flowers together for our "Everything's Coming Up Roses" quilt since they are all odd shapes and sizes.  Jill suggested that we add background fabrics to make them square.  We also talked about adding leaves to the blocks to give them some variety.

Laraine made a white block, so we decided leaves would make the block stand out more.  Here is the block she posted on FB:

Then Jill posted her rose with the background filled out on Instagram:

These examples inspired me to give it a try, so I thought I would post here and tell you what I did.  (This is truly an example where social media made all the difference!  I had been dithering about how to do these blocks for weeks!)  

I don't know if this is the best way.  It is certainly not the only way.  But it is one way that worked and I am pleased with the look.   I do think that fleshing out these roses will make constructing our quilt much easier.

First, we want to use low volume prints with a white background and black or charcoal designs.  Your LV prints should have lots of white space, as you can see in the prints used in the blocks below.  Instead of "painting the roses red" (ala Alice in Wonderland) we're going to be "making our roses square."  In other words, we're trying to fill out our blocks to 90-degree corners in either squares or rectangles.  There is no particular size requirement, as long as the blocks are square or rectangular.  That will help us join the blocks together when we piece the quilt. 

If you have followed the instructions in Everything's Coming Up Roses Part I, you have created a rose with an irregular shape.  The challenge, then, is to give it 90-degree corners.

First, you might want to add some leaves to your block.  Here's how I did that:

Choose a green solid or print for your leaves.  This one happens to be an apple green scrap from my scrap bin.

Line it up with one of the odd angles on your rose block and stitch.  Be sure to use 1/4" seams.

Take your block to the ironing board and press the leaf just as you would if it was another round of the rose.  Press your seams to the outside.

This time, your objective is to get to 90-degree angles, so trim your leaf to assist you in doing that.

One thing I found helpful was to add leaves to the sides with the most acute angles, where adding the leaves made the rose look more natural.  This block might look better (less trapezoidal) with a leaf on the left side.  It might be fun to sew a background strip and a green leaf piece together and add it.  I didn't try that, but it might add some fun variety.

Add some more leaves to other flower edges in the same manner.

I've heard there is a rule somewhere in flower arranging that says odd numbers are pleasing, so maybe add 1, 3 or 5 leaves, depending on your flower.

Now add your border fabrics to all the sides.  Some of these will be odd angles and take more than one seam, as you can see on the right under the ruler.  If you have one, use a square-up ruler to trim your blocks to 90-degree corners.  Try to leave at least 1-inch all the way around, but if you have larger borders, that is OK.

Keep adding borders and squaring up until you have borders all the way around your block.

It's not necessary to use the same fabric on all your borders.  We will be joining different fabrics as we join the blocks, so it is OK to use different background prints within one rose block.

Have fun creating beautiful rose blocks for our "Everything's Coming Up Roses" quilt!  Let me know if you have questions or suggestions.

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