Welcome back to the Everything And The Kitchen Sink Sew Along, where this month I’m reviewing a free quilt block tool which someone told me about at the end of last year when I was thinking of doing this sew along.  Quilt Assistant is from a Dutch site, and can be downloaded here (the download is at the bottom of the page, don’t click the top button!).  For those of you who prefer to speak in Dutch or German, you can choose to use it in either of those languages, and when you first go into the program, you can choose to have your measurements in metric or imperial, as well as choosing your seam allowance.

For those of you just sewing along, here is this month’s block:

Which you can download here.

For the design-alongers, this is how I did it:

1. Choose a new blank project

2. Decide on the size you want your block to be – I went for 8″ square

3. The orange area shows your block size – scrolling your mouse will resize the block up and down

4. I like to work with a grid, so go to Dsiplay -> Grid/Snap Settings to bring up the options

5. I went for the 0.5″ option for the grid with a 0.1″ snap

6. To start on the hat, I decided where the bottom of the hat will be and drew that in at 1″:

7. After experimenting a little, I discovered that this program doesn’t like to do partial lines unless it’s between two other lines, so I decided how tall I wanted the non-puffy part of the hat to be (3″) and drew that across, before adding the two upright parts of the hat:

8. At this point, I came a bit unstuck, because I would normally draw the outline of a block and then work out how to divide the background, but with this program I had to take the fact that it extends every line to the edge.  Starting on the left I built up the puffy part:

9. Then I moved to the right:

10. And finally I got the dent down in the middle:

11.  I didn’t like the position of a couple of my lines around the top at this point – although I wasn’t after complete symmetry, I did want it a bit more even, so the next step was to go up to Mode -> Edit to change to edit mode:

12. Now I was able to move things around a little, although beware, if you drag a line with a connection point along it, it will start to pivot at that point, so you will need to move that point independently to keep a straight line – I found my ruler handy at this point to hold up to the screen:

13. After I was happy with that, it was time for a band at the bottom of the hat – (don’t forget to switch back to design mode!):

14. I always like to save at this point before trying anything else, but I should say that this program only saves files in its own format, just in case you’d been thinking of saving them easily as something else.  You can use a print to PDF writer though, if you want it in that format, and there is also an export function.

15. Finally I went for the ‘Name Shapes For Paper Piecing’ option:

16. At this point I’d say I disagreed with the program on the numbering, because I knew I could do the top part of the hat in one go, whereas the pattern above changes the lettering for the section with ever colour change, but if you click on them in the order you want to sew them, it will actually renumber things for you.  Clicking once adds the next number to the current section, clicking twice starts a new section, so now I have:

17. Now it’s time to print.  When you first open the print menu you see:

18. You’ll need to change to the ‘Paper Piecing’ tab, where you’ll see:

19. I chose to turn off the seam allowances, as I like to sew my pieces together with the paper in place, and that gets in the way, but feel free to leave it if that’s how you roll.  Make sure your page setup is set to your preferred paper size, then click on ‘Quick Preview’ to see how it will fit on a sheet:

20. Now print and sew!

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