QM Bitty Blocks: Adorable Small Designs


A while back we brainstormed for an engaging, low stress project we could get QM’s readers on board with, and that’s how QM’s Bitty Blocks were born.

BittyBlockLogo 506px1 QM Bitty Blocks: Adorable Small Designs
We are so excited about this new free quilt blocks project! Here’s how it will work. On the first Monday of each month during 2015, we’ll present you with a Bitty Block. Most will be 3″ or 4″ square and all will be easy to make. They’ll be hashtagged as #qmbittyblocks.

bittyblocks121 QM Bitty Blocks: Adorable Small Designs

QM Bitty Blocks: Free quilt block patterns monthly during 2015

The idea will be to make Bitty Blocks during the month and then sew them together into a row. We’ll give you more specific instructions as we go along, but the general idea will be to create an amazing throw-size row quilt made from lots of Bitty Blocks.

As far as fabric, you can do anything you’d like, but we highly recommend a scrappy approach. The more the merrier!

We’re also going to teach you many new tricks, especially if you’re an early quilter. We’ll have quilt video tutorials to help you with things like triangle-squares, pressing, fabric considerations and more during the year. We’ll have photo tutorials, too. I think you’ll learn a lot.

Now let’s get to our first QM Bitty Block. January’s block is a little 3″ Bow Tie. (Printer friendly version here.)

bittyblocks10 QM Bitty Blocks: Adorable Small Designs

QM Bitty Block #1 is a simple Bow Tie block.

Each Bow Tie takes two fabrics. Just be sure there is enough contrast between them. In other words, you should be able to clearly see a difference in the two. One should be lighter and the other should be darker.

bittyblocks11 QM Bitty Blocks: Adorable Small Designs

Each Bow Tie block uses these 6 patches.

You can choose just one fabric for all of the background patches, or you can mix it up. It’s more fun to mix it up! Each Bow Tie takes these patches:

Bow Tie fabric: 2 squares (A) 2″ x 2″ and 2 squares (B) 1 1/4″ x 1 1/4″
Background fabric: 2 squares (A) 2″ x 2″

I know what you’re thinking. “Eeek! Those B patches are frighteningly small!” But I’m here to tell you that it’s no more difficult to sew across a tiny patch than it is to sew across a large patch. Trust me.

bittyblocks12 QM Bitty Blocks: Adorable Small Designs

Place a B patch on the corner of an A patch, right sides together.

We’re going to use Stitch & Flip, and here’s how it’s done. Place a B patch on the corner of an A patch of background fabric as shown above. (I drew red lines at the edges of B because I wasn’t sure the B patch would show up.) You’re going to sew on that diagonal red line.

bittyblocks13 QM Bitty Blocks: Adorable Small Designs

Sew on the diagonal as shown; you can mark the diagonal or you can just eyeball it.

You can either mark it as shown, or you can eyeball it without marking. I always mark but these patches are so tiny, I was able to eyeball it easily. Try it and see! I used dark thread for visibility in the photos, but you’ll want to use neutral thread.

bittyblocks14 QM Bitty Blocks: Adorable Small Designs

Trim away just the B patch, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Now trim away just the B patch as shown above, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.

bittyblocks15 QM Bitty Blocks: Adorable Small Designs

Press the B patches open as shown.

Press the B patches open as shown. Notice that on the top sample, the blue doesn’t totally cover the background. That is why you don’t cut the background away. It serves as a benchmark for you. When you sew the patches together going forward, use the edge of the background patch as your standard.

Please see this related post for tips on how to Stitch & Flip successfully. I hated Stitch & Flip until I learned how to make it work.

bittyblocks16 QM Bitty Blocks: Adorable Small Designs

Arrange the patches like this.

Arrange the patches as shown above. Join them in pairs.

bittyblocks17 QM Bitty Blocks: Adorable Small Designs

Join the patches in pairs.

Sew the pairs together as shown below.

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Sew the pairs together.

Measure your block and be sure it is 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. If not, adjust accordingly.

During January (or whenever you get to it!), make 16 Bow Tie blocks. We’re shooting for a nice throw-size quilt, and you’ll be off to a great start! If you love making these, go ahead and make another row of them.

Printer friendly version of January’s Bow Tie block

Coming 1/12/15: QM Bitty Blocks, Things to Consider: Helpful tips on choosing fabrics and more.

*     *     *     *     *

Please help us spread the word about #qmbittyblocks. Use the hashtag, share this post on social media and tell your friends. Maybe your small group would like to make Bitty Blocks together. Whatever you do, we’d love to hear about it: editor@quiltmaker.com.

February’s Bitty Block goes up Monday, Feb. 2. Ready, set, sew!

BittyBlockLogo 300px1 QM Bitty Blocks: Adorable Small Designs

About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email: editor@quiltmaker.com.
This entry was posted in Freebies, Scrapbag and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to QM Bitty Blocks: Adorable Small Designs

  1. Pingback: FQS Staff Takes on a BOM! – blogdev.satellite.fm

  2. Darlene says:

    Ooh, I am really far behind, but I would love to give this a try!

  3. Theresa Shorten says:

    Am sooo enjoying making these blocks. Have made dozens except for the basket. For some reason the pieces seem too small for me to tackle…but one of these days, I will! THANK YOU so much for providing these fun little projects!

  4. Babby Blair says:

    Why can’t I find feb, mar or aprils bitty blocks.

  5. Joy H. says:

    Hi Aprils block Will it be posted soon?Thank you for the patterns. The blocks are so cute,and i have enjoyed making them. Joy H.

  6. Pingback: quilt block library : bow-tie blocks | Patch + Dot

  7. Donna says:

    I love these blocks. So perfect for TV time. I hand sew them and I’m getting pretty good at tinny tiny stitches. Also eliminates snacking. Thank you.

  8. Michelle Scott says:

    is there a way to paper piece these tiny blocks?

  9. jane says:

    I’d love to hop onto the little iddy biddy blocks if you don’t mind?… just where is block two, I assume that Feb’s block has been published already? I’ve just put a topper together and am looking for detail to go around the edges, the bow ties will do but want something else too….

  10. Judy D says:

    Great way to use up scraps. Thanks for the tutorials!

  11. Ecarp says:

    Just getting started. I think I’m going to love it. Thanks for the tips.

  12. Pingback: BOMs Away 2-2-15 | sew crazy for purple

  13. Becky says:

    i just finished the last of my blocks. I just loved this pattern and I had a ton of 2 in blocks left over from a couple of other projects. Can’t wait for Feb. I’m so glad I found you.

  14. Laurie says:

    Hello Bitty Blockers; Can anyone guide me to the post for February? Can’t seem to locate it, and I’m dying to get started on the next row!
    QM: You’ve got a load of followers here! It would be great to set your post to hit as soon as the clock turns to the first Monday of the month! Thanks for the fun!

  15. Pingback: QM Bitty Blocks: Bitty Baskets | Quilty Pleasures Blog

  16. Barb says:

    Where do we find the new blocks for Feb? So frustrating not to find the link on your web site. And nothing on Facebook where we found the first link.

  17. Barb says:

    I got a little carried away- 40 blocks. I was cutting out another quilt and the scraps were just the right size to cut more bitty blocks……. Wish we didn’t have to wait another day for the next block.

  18. Pamela Heyna says:

    A group of us in Kentucky are making these! We are the Mt Washington Quilting Bees. Can’t wait to see and sew Feb. blocks! Thank You Quiltmaker!

  19. Laurie Evans says:

    I thought these mini bowties were so cute. But thought…do I need anything new to work on? Next thing I know, I’ve made 19 blue & white bowties. LOL! :)
    I took a few photos, but see no way to share them. Thanks for the pattern for these little guys. Looking forward to seeing what is next!

  20. tubakk says:

    I was inspired to make these bitty blocks, and made my first 16 today. You’ll find them on my blog.

  21. December says:

    Are the blocks going to be sewn in rows or is that going to be part of the instructions towards the end of the year?

    • lynn says:

      at the very beginning of this post, it states to sew them into a row. Hope that helps! They have been really fun to do :-)

  22. Pingback: “Bowtie” Re-make | abyquilts

  23. Kathy Aho in MN says:

    I am totally going to try this. Thanks!

  24. December says:

    I manged to sneak in a row of 16 of these….. Was planning on going through all my scraps – so what a cute idea to help me with that..

  25. Ann Philbeck says:

    Love this site. Great ideas. I have so much material to work this. Thanks Diane for all this information! Happy Quilting. Hope to see you all at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival.

  26. Arlanna says:

    Hot dog! another quilt to look forward to… love this website! Thank you ever so much!

  27. Beverly Joyce Smith says:

    Love it so easy I can do it while camping. I get most of my quilt tops made while camping while husband goes fishing.

  28. La Verne Morton says:

    It’s funny, I just did something like this…..however on a much larger scale. It was a quilt for my Great- Great niece 1st birthday in December. The quilt contained assorted red, black, pink, and white with Red polka dot shoes and Minnie Mouse appliques. It turned out really nice and something she can GROW INTO.
    I call it “Shoes & Bows Ties for Minnie”.
    I will be trying this one as well. Thank You!

  29. Lee says:

    Ready for February. I’m going to make several of these for gifts. Thanks Loads!!!!

  30. Joan says:

    Love it, is there a way to sign up for a newsletter to remind us?

  31. Pingback: QM Bitty Blocks: Things to Consider | Quilty Pleasures Blog

  32. Sherry says:

    This should be fun – thanks for offering the bitty blocks. Thanks too for the printer friendly version.

  33. Sara Plotka says:

    I have two granddaughters that would love a doll quilt.

  34. Marilyn Koestler says:

    I too need a way to print this with economical use of paper. I travel and can’t always go right to the machine to make a sample. PDF would be wonderful so I can do it later. I have been making scrap quilts for some time trying to keep the little bits of fabric out of the land fills.

  35. D Diana says:

    thanks. this is really neat and looks like a great way to use up
    small scraps.

  36. Jacque says:

    I’ve made 20 to make the row wider. May make even more. Too bad you don’t have a page we can post our pictures on. For those who want a PDF to print, all you have to do us copy and paste into a Word doc, then print. That way you can eliminate parts you don’t want/need. Easy peasy!

  37. Sue says:

    Would love to have this with the choice of a pdf please…. Would be so much handier. Computer and machine are in two different rooms. Looking forward to doing this.

  38. Jackie says:

    Would love to be able to print this out! Can’t wait to see next months!!!

  39. elfriede says:

    das sind ja ganz nette kleine blöcke, da ich handnäherin bin, wäre eine pdf mit schablonen sehr hilfreich, vielleicht wäre das machbar
    mg elfriede

    • Marion says:

      Hallo, die Schablonen kannst du dir doch selbst machen. Es sind einfache Quadrate. Daran solltest du nicht scheitern. Viel Spass,

  40. Peggy McCrystal says:

    Love itty bitty blocks. Great idea.

  41. Margaret says:

    Any chance of PDF files. Computer and sewing machine not in same room.

  42. Margaret says:

    PDf files would really be appreciated. Computer and sewing machine are not in the same place. Ta.

  43. Lori M. says:

    What a great idea,,,love little itty bitty quilt blocks…This will use up some of my tiny bits of my fabric stash….

  44. Shelly now says:

    How fun!

  45. Barb says:

    I wonder what the measurements would be of the smaller square if the larger one would be 2 1/2″? I use a lot of jelly rols and have scraps that size. Of course I can trim to size.

  46. Ursula Lee says:

    I am almost done with this months blocks……looking forward to February’s!

  47. JackieH says:

    Love bitty blocks and this a perfect for using up some scraps…not that it will make much of a dent.

  48. Roberta Miller says:

    Six done so far :)

  49. Kathy says:

    I make a lot of mini quilts and one thing I have found to be really useful with small pieces is to starch the heck out of the fabric before you cut it. By doing that it helps to keep the shape and prevent any stretching of those tiny pieces.

  50. Love whst you are trying to do with these little pieces of fabric. Is there a reason why you don’t cut of the main piece that is the bit behind the blue cloth. Won’t it make it a little thick?

  51. Terri says:

    I love working itty bitty. Thanks for the directions, and tips. I made 7 snowball twin sized quilts over the years, and never figured out how to get the corners right. (Quilts still looked amazing.) Hope I can keep up.

  52. Sounds like fun and a way to use scraps. :)

  53. GrrannyH says:

    You can fold the block in half on the diagonal and press it if you don’t want to mark it. Also, it is a good idea to stitch slightly to the corner side of the diagonal when snowballing blocks.

  54. Patricia Hersl says:

    I am all about this! I’ll be keeping a careful eye out.

  55. Margaret says:

    Yes, we need a printer friendly version of this! Sounds like fun!

  56. Cher says:

    I love it! The flip and sew tip about not trimming the back fabric is great. I may do LOTS of these.

  57. Kathe says:

    Loved the blog post on how to stitch and flip successfully. How about a printer friendly link to your instructional blogs? Thankyou

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