Bee-friendly Courthouse Steps Tutorial

I love being (beeing, geddit?) part of an online quilting bee. It’s so lovely to sew for others and have them make blocks for you. Not to mention, you get access to a whole new range of fabrics that aren’t in your stash. The only fly in the ointment is the understandable and pretty much unavoidable inconsistency in block size that comes from even the tiniest person-to-person variation in seam allowance.

It is my turn in Bee a Brit Stingy this month (hello, ladies!), and just to make things difficult for myself and/or everyone else I have decided on courthouse steps blocks, with a (hopefully) accuracy-ensuring method. So here you go – a bee-friendly 12.5” (unfinished) courthouse steps block tutorial.
For each block, you will need to cut one 2.5” square for the centre (black), and four sets of five 2” wide strips (maximum 12.5” long; one set in chartreuse/green/teal, one in yellow/orange/peach, and two in cream/white/grey). Please use prints if possible, but solids and non-muddy batiks are welcome if necessary. Here is a handy dandy guide to my chosen colour scheme for your delectation:
Once you have cut your strips you can start to piece. Begin by sewing a neutral strip to the top and bottom of a black square. Press your seams open (to make hand quilting easier), trim the strips level with the centre square, then add one strip from each colour set to either side as shown in the numbered diagram below:
The accuracy of the block comes from trimming the strips after piecing, so once you have finished the first round of strips line the 1.25” line of your ruler up against the edge of the centre square and trim away the excess:
Continue adding strips according to the numbered diagram. Trim with the 2.25” line of the ruler against the edge of the centre square after round 2, the 3.25” line after round 3, and so on:
After adding the final (fifth) round of strips, trim the block to 12.5” square by placing the 7.25” mark against the corner of the centre square:
And there you have it, a perfectly pieced, precisely 12.5” square, bee-made courthouse steps block. Have fun!
(and aren’t you glad I didn’t make you sew geese again?)

  1. Great idea to make the strips longer than needed so there is some to trim off. These blocks should come out perfectly and the quilt will be wonderful!

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