Mixing Patterns and Rulers: Dear Dottie and Classic Curves

I am using Rachel Hauser’s Dear Dottie pattern and Sharon McConnell’s Classic Curves Ruler to make a quilt – mixing the pattern’s emphasis on learning colour value skills with the adventure of cutting and sewing curves. (Links to websites and tutorials at the end of this post).

In the Dear Dottie pattern Rachel gives advice about assessing colour value when choosing fabrics for the quilt. Some of the Dot blocks have dark surrounds, others have light, some have just a hint of colour, others use saturated colours. I’m finding choosing and sorting fabrics for this quilt an interesting process. I’m limiting colours to fabrics from my pink and blue stash rather than going rainbow scrappy – mainly because my pink and blue scrap boxes are overflowing!

The Dear Dottie pattern comes with templates to make a Drunkards Path unit that forms a quarter of a complete Dear Dottie block.

A completed block measures 7″ unfinished, 6½” finished. I’m not that keen on using paper templates for cutting out patchwork shapes. I thought making these blocks using the Classic Curves Ruler would be the answer… Ha!Ha! Of course combining the two wasn’t quite that easy….

The Classic Curves Ruler has cutting grooves to cut Drunkards Paths blocks in ten different sizes. NB. The Ruler can be used to make far more than just ‘ordinary’ Drunkard’s Path blocks – but for now I’m sticking to making just the one type of block!’

The smallest size unfinished block the ruler can cut is 4″, and I found that wasn’t quite compatible with the Dear Dottie pattern… Nevermind! Looking at the fabric pieces I’d sorted from the stash boxes I decided to use the ruler to make 4½” units. Here is my test block – four 4½” units joined to make an 8½” unfinished Dot block.

I learned some lessons from making this block:

  1. Beware using different weights of cotton fabrics – the pink bird fabric is quite light weight, densely woven and it has ‘puffed up’ around the seam despite some extreme pressing.
  2. Using spray starch would have reduced the amount of distortion caused by those curved seams (I have since bought myself a bottle of Best Press).
  3. Some Drunkard’s Path blocks have the edge of the curves meet at the ¼” seam line others have the curve hit the edge of the block an inch or more from the ¼” seam line. The Classic Curves Ruler is designed to have those curves hit very close to the ¼” seam.

I became aware of point 3. when I noticed my test block didn’t have the same proportions of convex and concave fabrics as the Dear Dottie Dot blocks. The pattern templates allow the concave portions of the units to produce an edge around the dot wider than a quarter inch seam allowance so the central dots are surrounded by a ‘frame’ of fabric – even when the blocks are sewn together. The Dots don’t touch each other but ‘float’ on the background fabrics.

Back to the drawing cutting board. It took several attempts but I did manage to establish the concave sections of the units needed to be cut from a larger square, and then have larger notches cut from the folded triangle (see Sharon McDonnell’s video – link below) to produce the border frame and still fit comfortably with the 4½” convex fabric pieces.

The process of making these Dot blocks is fascinating me; from sorting the fabrics to getting familiar with the Classic Curves Ruler. I’ve decided that this will be my go-to background project. Wanting to make another Dot block is a good incentive to get on with projects that have deadlines. The sooner I achieve the next stage in any of those deadline projects the sooner I can reach for the Dear Dottie fabrics and have a play.

You can find out more about the Dear Dottie pattern by visiting Rachel Hauser’s website, Stitched in Color:

  • To purchase the Dear Dottie pattern click here
  • For an introduction to the Dear Dottie Sew Along tutorials click here

Find out more about Sharon McConnell’s Classic Curves Ruler:

  • To see the variety of blocks the Ruler can make and to purchase the Ruler* and patterns click here
  • To watch Sharon’s video showing how to use the Ruler click here

*Uk suppliers of the Classic Curves Ruler: Sewhot and Lovely Jubbly Fabrics.

(Please note, I have no affiliate links with these products).

I’m linking up with: Susan and other Midweek Makers at QuiltFabrication; and with Kelly at myquiltinfatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday. Susan shares some of the quilts that have been on her long arm machine and Kelly gives some details about the making of her beautifully subtle string quilt.


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