Dahlia Block, from Dreamcatcher: Round the Year Quilt – part 2: assembly

I started my post about this block and ran out of space.  This post is about assembly of the Dahlia block.  See all info about the origin of this block, the completed quilt and starting the paper piecing on my post here, part 1.

Now to assembly.  I laid out the pieces in the order as instructed.  It alternates with a yellow center, then orange, yellow, orange, etc.  You can’t see that from this side of the papers.Dahlia step 11 assemble order

I also added directional arrows of which way to sew the strips together in an alternating manner.Dahlia step 11 assemble sew directions

My first attempt at piecing two together was a problem.  Do you see the mistake?  Insert hero seam ripper, again!Dahlia step 11 assembly problemsI started by pinning at the seams to help things line up.  I only pinned two seams at a time.  The magic key is to sew slow, slow, slow!  Once I sewed past a pin, I would remove it and pin the next seam.  The curves from each of the papers were in the opposite directions.  It helped to make it curve upwards towards me, sometimes.

I often ended with the two pieces attached and could stand in a 3D form.  I would hand press them flat and then on my iron.  I did not care the direction of the seam, just let it go the way it was more likely to go.  I press all seams one direction, not open – personal preference.

I did run into some tension problems, and other mishaps.  I did have to sew this piece below 3 times.  At this point I was nearly finished with all sets of 2 but took a break so I could start fresh.Dahlia step 11 problems

A completed set of 2, after ironed, the points almost match!  These sets were the most difficult part of the entire block for me.Dahlia step 11 finishedAll of the sets together.

Dahlia step 13 assembled rows

Then came sewing them into sets of 4.  I tried a new method of taking the edge of the paper off to attach.  Didn’t like it enough.Dahlia step 14 set of 4 new method

Most came out like a 3D sculpture.  The paper would rip on the seams to help with easing the curves.  That seamed to help.Dahlia step 14 sewing sets togetherHere are a couple completed, not perfect & a few puckered.

I finally assembled all into the 2 halves!Dahlia step 15 sets all together

I decided it was time to do a final cut and trim all edges to exactly where the seams would be, on the dotted line, see the photo on right.  This may have helped to do it sooner and not wait until now.

I removed all the paper from the back.  I noticed that my stitch length changed.  Between the colors the stitches were 1.5 but the joined strips were more like 2.5.  This was likely the tension problem I was having before.  It also made some stubborn paper pieces not want to come off!  I need to always check my stitch length when paper piecing!

Finally, all paper removed.  Whew!Dahlia step 17 stitch length problemsAfter removing the paper it was a mess.  I remembered a Craftsy class I took about paper piecing.  I brought out the starch and starched the entire thing into submission!  It helped, lots!

Attaching the center to each side was the next hurdle.  I did the same as before, pinned 2 seams, sew those and move the pins.

Once completed the pile looked like this.Dahlia step 19 sewn center b

Again, starch into shape; iron the back, then the front.

Just to attach the 2 sides.  Almost there!  The end is in sight!Dahlia step 20 iron a

Completed Dahlia block!  WOOHOO!  FINISH LINE!Dahlia block finished!

Not perfect – but complete.  This will hang on my design wall for sometime.  It was a challenge, a BIG ONE!  I did it and the next will be easier, the design is simpler too!  Maybe I should have started with that one first.  Oh, well.

It is about the journey, not the destination.

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