Saturday, February 1, 2014

A 3-Dimensional Bowtie Quilt Block Demo

Dorothy came to visit Piney Hills Quilt Guild and brought with her Christie's beautiful 3-dimensional bowtie quilt along with her sample board and sewing machine.  She very quickly set about showing the attentive group how to make a 3-dimensional bowtie.....easily!

Christie's 3-D bowtie quilt is made entirely from men's shirts.  And, the back is as stunning as the front of her quilt. 

 After walking us step-by-step through the process using her sample board, Dorothy further embedded the process in our brain by sewing a 3-D bowtie block together for us.  Yes, Dorothy was and will always be a teacher.

Then just to prove to all of us how easy the 3-D bowtie quilt block is, she called on Gayle to further demonstrate to us the technique.   Gayle sat down at the machine and quickly whipped up a bowtie block.  So, either Gayle is a quick learner or Dorothy is a great instructor OR both are the afore-mentioned. 

I was enthused after seeing the demonstration and came home all eager to make 3-D bowtie blocks and put together this little step-by-step tutorial. 

Start with a contrasting fabric and background fabric.  You'll need three squares (your choice as to size, just make all your blocks the same size) of the contrast and two squares of the background for each 3-D bowtie quilt block.  I cut my squares at 3". 

Lay one of your background squares down RIGHT SIDE UP.  Fold a contrast square in half, WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, and place on top of the background square, aligning top edges and pin in place. 


Place another contrast square on top of these two layers right side down, pin and stitch all three layers together down the right side of the sandwich. 

Open and press the seam allowance toward the contrast square.  Fold the contrast square and background square away from the folded center square.   
Now, repeat this process for the other side.  Laying background fabric down, placing folded square on top then the last contrast fabric on top of these two layers.  Pin and stitch on the right side of the blocks as you did before. 

 Your outcome will look like this.  Notice that your background and your contrasting fabrics are on opposites sides.  If you flip it over at this stage, the opposite sides will still look like this. 

Slip a finger into the pocket formed by the center rectangle and work the pocket open, aligning raw edges of the pocket with the raw edges of the contrast and background squares.  Gently maneuver all the excess pocket fabric out of the way of your 1/4" seam allowance.    Match seams, pin in place and stitch across making sure all raw edges are caught under the needle.  

This schematic might make it more understandable.  The pocket is sandwiched between with its right sides facing the wrong sides of the background/contrast layers. 

Once it's stitched, unfold  to see the 3-D magic.  It's truly as easy as one-two-3-dimensional bowtie. 

3-Dimensional Bowtie Quilt Blocks by Marty Mason

3-Dimensional Bowtie Quilt Blocks by Marty Mason



  1. Oh, I can't wait to try this...the details are very good. thanks for posting.