Friday, August 5, 2022

Improv eXtra Block

During (and after!) the making of my eXtra quilt, I had a lot of requests for a tutorial for the improv  blocks that make up the design. So here's a quick look at how the blocks came together. Remember, they're improvisational, so exact measurements won't be given. I made my blocks with mostly scraps, and most pieces were cut ruler-free.

1. Begin with a center (mine were approximately 3-3.5" square), a main contrasting color, and a strip of black approximately 1" wide.

2. Cut an end off of your scrap about the width of your center block.

3. Cut end approximately in half, creating a piece for either side of the center block.

4. Sew side pieces onto the center block, press, and trim long edges if necessary to create straight edges. Cut two lengths from remaining scrap for top and bottom of the block.

5. Sew top and bottom portions onto center strip and press.

6. Use rotary cutter to slice block in half on the diagonal, cutting approximately through the center corners.

7. Sew the 1" black strip along one diagonal edge, trim off excess, and press.

8. Position other half of the block along the edge of the black strip, checking on alignment before sewing. Reposition and pin, if necessary. Sew block into a square and press.

9. Use rotary cutter to slice block in half on the opposite diagonal, cutting approximately through the center corners.

10. Repeat steps 7. and 8. for second diagonal.

11. Now your basic block is complete.

12. To make your block more wonky, place square ruler over your block, angling it slighly, checking to see how large of square you are able to cut. In this instance, I've decided on a 8.5" block. Cut first two sides of your block. Finished block size will depend on the size of the scraps used and the dimensions used up until this point. I chose to trim my blocks into three sizes for my eXtra quilt, but they can be whatever you choose.

13. Reposition your block and rearrange your ruler to cut the remaining two sides of your block.

14. Now you have your completed eXtra block!

Well that was fun, amIright? Be sure and let me know if you give the block a try!


  1. Thanks for sharing the tutorial - this is a fun block.

  2. Great tutorial, so much possibility in that block.

  3. Thanks Debbie; this is just what I needed. My sewing spirit has been negligent over the last few months, but this is just the inspiration that was called for!

  4. This is such a lovely block, Debbie, and made into a gorgeous quilt. You come up with the best ideas! Your tutorial is well-written, and will give modern makers opportunity for lots of fun hours spent making eXtra blocks. Good for you. And well done!