Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Oklahoma Boomer Quilt Block Pattern

Sophie's Oklahoma Boomer Block
The Ladies Art Company first published the Oklahoma Boomer block in 1898. I have always loved this block and couldn't resist including it for the block lotto in our year of traditional blocks . . . it's just a happy coincidence that I saw a production of The Wizard of Oz a couple weekends ago and keep seeing the Tin Man, an alternate name you might see used, as in Judy Hopkins & Nancy Martin’s 101 Fabulous Rotary-Cut Quilts.

For those who happen to have a copy of Judy Hopkins & Nancy Martin’s 101 Fabulous Rotary-Cut Quilts, I will reference the same Alpha characters for each piece, so you can reference your book, it is helpful to you. Their version of the block is the same size (6 inches, finished size) but is made from three fabrics, instead of our two color blocks.

The main challenge in making this block is careful measuring and cutting and sewing that 1/4-inch seam. You also have an opportunity to make and work with a template.


For the July Block Lotto, we'll be making this block in two colors, a cream tone-on-tone (TOT) print BACKGROUND fabric and your choice of RED or BLUE TOT main (BOOMER) fabric.

Make a template

If you were making multiple blocks from the same fabric (or don’t mind wasting some fabric), you would cut the large triangle head (A) by cutting a 3 1/4 inch square and cutting it twice diagonally. But since I’m going to tell you that you cannot repeat your BOOMER fabric in more than one block . . . the easiest thing to do is to make a template for that triangle. If you have card stock or template plastic, you can make a template by cutting a 3 1/4 inch square and cutting it twice diagonally and using one of the triangles for your template for the head (A). If you don’t, grab a standard size business card.

Make a Template from a Business CardMost standard sized business cards are 2” x 3.5”

Flip it over
It will probably be easier to work with from the back, so flip it over.

Trim to 3 -1/4 inches
Trim it so that it’s 3 1/4 inches wide.

Cut 45 degree angle from cornerAlign the 45-degree line on your ruler along the bottom edge and cut an angle from the bottom right corner.

Cutting second 45 degree angle
Flip over your card and repeat. Your template is ready to use.


Using Your Template to Cut Head TriangleUse the template to cut the Head (A) piece from your BOOMER fabric by aligning the longest edge on grain on your fabric.

Again, if you don't mind wasted fabric, you can also cut a 3-1/4 inch square and cut it diagonally twice and use ONLY one of the resulting triangles.

Cutting Main fabric
For the rest of the BOOMER pieces, you'll need:
One 1” square for neck (B)
Two rectangles, 1” x 2-1/2” for arms (C)
One rectangle, 2-1/4”x 2-1/2” for body (D)
Two rectangles 1” x 3-1/4” for legs (E)

Cutting Diagram
From the BACKGROUND fabric, cut:
Two rectangles, 2” x 2-1/2” for above arms (F)
Two rectangles 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” for below arms (G)
One 1-7/8” square cut once diagonally into two triangles, for sides of head (H)
Two 1” x 1-1/4” rectangles for sides of neck (I)
One 1-1/2 x 3-1/4” rectangle for between legs (J)

Sewing the Block

Assemble center units first1. Sew the center sections together first. If your block is going to come up short . . . best to find out right away, right?

As you are sewing the background to the head, the neck and the legs, press toward the dark. You don’t have to worry about any matching seams in any of this part of the block, so you can focus ENTIRELY on those 1/4 inch seams.

After all the backgrounds are attached, sew the sections together and . . . moment of truth time, measure the center section. From top to bottom, it should measure 6-1/2 inches.

Then sew the background pieces to the arms. I pressed the seams on those UP, which means the top seam is pressed toward the BACKGROUND, so I would have opposing seams at the shoulders–the ONLY matching seams you have in this block.

Assemble sides and attach them to center
2. After putting the center together, adding the arms is easily done . . . and so are you ;-)
Oklahoma Boomer Block