Thursday, February 7, 2019

3-D String Block Tutorial

I had several requests to make a tutorial for the 3-D string block which is a little bit of a change to a shadow block.

There are a lot of tutorials on-line for making strings free-hand, using muslin foundation, or using paper.  I like to use the very thin paper from the area phone book, but I will use regular printing paper for demo use.
This block can be any size you like - I used a 4.5" x 6.5" rectangle for mine simply because it would work well with the materials I had.

You can line up corner to corner to begin, but I wanted a little bit different slant to my strings.  I marked 1/4" down from the top left corner and a 1/4" up from the bottom right corner.  

I lined up my middle string using those marks as indicated.  You can use pins to hold in place or a glue stick lightly to hold in place.

Because of the size paper foundation, I used strings 1.5", 1 1/4", and 1" wide.  Lay the second string right sides facing on top of your center strip, adjust your stitch length to  a much smaller stitch.  You might have to play with this on a sample - it helps to remove the paper and not stress your stitches.  Simply stitch your 1/4" seam - work either side; I just start on the right as I am right handed.

Press your string open.  I chose to finger press, but a light iron setting works.  Remember, paper is a fiber and will shrink if your iron is too hot - do not use steam.  

Stitch your next strip to the other side of the center string, this will help to hold your block square as you work.  Now fill in with remainder strings, either working from side to side or one corner and then the other.  

Don't make your corners so the strip is really small as it will get lost in the joining block seams and create a lot of bulk.

Now flip your block over and trim the extra fabrics.  I use my ruler for a true measurement as the paper can shrink with stitches and iron.  Remove paper if you have used for foundation.

To create the 3-D look you need a dark background and a light for the corners.  Width of strip should be only a  1/4 or 1/3 of your block width.  I made mine 1.5" wide - for the right side cut length of block (mine were 6.5")   and bottom is cut the width + finished size of side strip ( mine was 4.5" + 1" - 5.5" strip).  You will need two squares size of width of your strip.  Mine were 1.5" sq.  Draw a line corner to corner on each.

The side strip square needs to be stitched so the corner flips out and the bottom square needs to be stitched so the corner flips down.  Sew on side strip and press out.  Attach bottom strip and press out.

The results are a raised brick look.  You could use brights, tonals, solids, or even cut a panel  for an interesting affect.  The new script fabrics or even comic prints would give a graffiti look - how fun!

Thank you for visiting and I hope you find the tutorial helpful.

Sewingly Yours,


  1. Thank you for the instructions. The end result is very striking!

  2. Awesome stone soup Sharon. Love it and the tutorial.

  3. I love this design! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  4. Thanks for the tutorial! Love your ideas.

  5. Thank you so much for the tutorial. Your quilt is wonderful.

    I haven't done string piecing but this block could change my mind!

  6. I LOVE these. It has such a great look and it's fun to imagine it with other fabrics. When I do my string blocks I sew the first two strips to the paper. Then to save time after that I will lay the next strip where it belongs to cover the paper, but fold the paper back when I stitch. After stitching open the paper back up for placing the next strip and repeat. That way, it is easy to only tear off one seam when removing the paper. Does that make sense?

  7. Oh my gosh...I love that. I'm working away on a string quilt for an upcoming blog hop myself. Hope your playing along as well! :-)

  8. This is wonderful Sharon! So cool! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I really like how the sashing strips highlight the string blocks. This will definitely go on my to-do list to use up some multi-color strings.

  10. I love doing string blocks--mindless sewing with a great outcome :-)
    Your 3-D sashing is fantastic, Thanks so much for showing us.

  11. Thanks for the tutorial, as I had been wondering about the measurements you used for your quilt. Filing this in the To Be Made folder!!

  12. Thanks for the idea of string blocks here! The tutorial is terrific!

  13. What a fantastic quilt! Love the 3 D effect...thanks for sharing your instructions.

  14. The black shadows do make those blocks look 3-D. Thanks for sharing the process.