Bradford and Watling’s BOM

Alison Glass Double Cross Block 1

I’ve started – and I’ll definitely continue!

The first thing having signed up to this BOM was I was asked which colourway I’d like to review. Initially there was a choice from two but I believe this is being extended. I chose the ‘Alison Glass colourway’ as I loved the bright colour combinations.

As soon as I received the first block, I was eager to get going. On opening the packet, I saw the pieces of fabric neatly labelled and separated into small clear packets – I love to be organised so this was already inspiring me. Included were some printed instructions – I had been informed that I would receive printed instructions with this first block but for subsequent blocks, instructions will be sent as a .pdf file so save paper which I think is a good idea.

I was impatient to get sewing, so I had a look at the instructions and saw a bright red bold instruction:

I’m glad I read that through as it had some really useful information that I suspect will continue to be useful throughout all the blocks. The first of those important instructions was to ‘read through ALL of the instructions before you start to sew’ and light-heartedly, they had added ‘Boring, I know, but it will help, I promise’. It is always SO tempting to crack on but I was really good and DID read all the instructions. It isn’t always easy to completely follow instructions without actually sewing, but I could see the value of reading them through and trying to understand the whole process – and although one or two questions cropped up in my mind as I went through, I knew that it would more than likely become clear when I was actually sewing – and this is what happened so I do recommend following this advice!

So now I could start sewing. I LOVE following instructions (I know it’s not everyone’s favourite thing) but I found these words and photos very clear.

Example of instructions and photos

I had been warned that the photos in the instructions were using fabric from a different block (as Bradford and Watling have several fabrics from which to choose), so I had to be quite careful that I was using the correct pieces. However, with the labelling of the packets, and keeping a clear mind, I was fine. One thing I think I’ll do with the next blocks is to mark each piece (on the wrong side and within the seam allowance) with the letter as I take them out of the clear packets and then I know I won’t have to keep referring back to the original page of instructions when moving on to the next steps.

I was able to follow all the instructions and there were some really helpful tips, particularly for beginners, about such things as ‘a scant ¼ inch seam’, ‘pressing to the dark side’ and ‘nesting seams’ – all things I didn’t know about when I started quilting but have found so useful.

My completed block

I did have a couple of queries though but these were dealt with quickly and clearly when I got in touch with Bradford and Watling.

The first was that when matching up two of the pieces, they were slightly different lengths – I think this was because the ‘dog-ear’ had been cut off which I know is common with some of the cutting rulers out there – but this made me wonder what exactly I should match up. If I tried to match anything, it would mean trying to ease or stretch the fabric and I didn’t think that should be happening. However, on contacting Bradford and Watling, I was reassured that my decision just to lie the pieces flat would be fine as that particular point would then go into another seam allowance. I think the instructions are now being updated to include a note about that, so I know that will be particularly helpful to beginners.

The other query I had was that when I made up my block and measure it, it wasn’t 12 x 12 inches . It was more like 12 ¼ x 12 ½ . I had been very careful to use my ¼ inch foot for all the seams as I have had issues like this before (lots of them!). I looked back at the picture in the instructions, and then realised that the picture of the finished block didn’t have a seam allowance around it so I realised then that my block should in fact measure 12 ½ x 12 ½ inches square so that when it is finally joined to other blocks, it will be 12 x 12 inches within a completed quilt (or whatever is being made). Once again, I had checked with Bradford and Watling and I think they will include an explanation on the ‘finished’ size on their instructions.

The block didn’t take me long to complete – it was lovely not having to worry about cutting it out accurately and receiving it in such an organised way. I’m really looking forward to the next block arriving and building them up over the coming months. Thank you Bradford and Watling for asking me to review your product!