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2 In AccuQuilt/ Projects & Tutorials/ Quilting

The EASY way to make a Mariner’s Compass Quilt Block

Mariners Compass Quilt block tutorial made with accuquilt fabric cutting machine

I’m typically the type of person that chooses simple over complex about 99% of the time, which is why it was so odd for me to want to try making a Mariner’s Compass quilt block. The Mariner’s Compass block features a lot of crazy points, weird angles, and also involves sewing curves – all things that would normally scare me away! BUT I made the quilt block, and it wasn’t even all that hard! I have a secret weapon to share with you that made this intimidating Mariner’s Compass quilt block actually super easy! Are you ready to know my secret to making this complex quilt block super simple?

I used AccuQuilt for the Mariner’s Compass quilt block!

Below I am sharing all the tips & tricks I wish I knew before I started making this quilt block, and you can see just how EASY it can be!

AccuQuilt Go! Mariner's Compass quilt block die. Learn the EASY way to make a Mariner's Compass quilt block using AccuQuilt. This article includes tips & tricks that I wish I knew when I began this quilting project!

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The easy quilting shortcut to making the Mariner’s Compass block is to use a die cut machine like AccuQuilt to cut out super precise pieces for you!

I personally am a little bit obsessed with my AccuQuilt GO! Machine, and if you want to learn more about what the machine does, how it works, or anything like that, check out this post: Everything You Need to Know about AccuQuilt.

AccuQuilt Go! Mariner's Compass quilt block die. Learn the EASY way to make a Mariner's Compass quilt block using AccuQuilt. This article includes tips & tricks that I wish I knew when I began this quilting project!

Tip #1: Choose Fabric Placement Before Cutting

I don’t know about you, but I tend to just “wing it” a little too often… This pattern works best with a *bit* more planning! I suggest choosing what fabrics will go where before you start cutting

Just look at how my cutting table looked like while I was determining how and what to cut. If you actually plan your blocks before grabbing out all the fabrics, you might have a chance of keeping your sewing space at least a little more neat & organized!

Using a pattern like this one might help you in this planning stage.

AccuQuilt Go! Mariner's Compass quilt block die. Learn the EASY way to make a Mariner's Compass quilt block using AccuQuilt. This article includes tips & tricks that I wish I knew when I began this quilting project!

Tip #2: Use Smaller Cutting Mats

Since the AccuQuilt die for Mariner’s Compass comes as a Block on Board (BOB) style die, you get all the shapes on one large 10″ x 24″ die. Maybe it’s because I didn’t do a real great job planning, but I found it easiest to cut the specific colors when I used a smaller mat to focus on different sections of the die at a time.

I used a 6″ x 6″ cutting mat for a couple of the areas, and the 10″ x 10″ mat for some others. If you want a mat that covers the whole die at once, you’d use a 10″ x 24″ mat. If you do use the large mat, I’d suggest referring to tip #1 above, and laying out all your fabrics on their specific places first, and then just running it through the machine once (4 layers each for most of the shapes).

Learn the EASY way to make a Mariner's Compass quilt block using AccuQuilt. This article includes tips & tricks that I wish I knew when I began this quilting project! Sewing curves, laying out the quilt block pieces, and so much more..

Tip #3: Keep your Mariner’s Compass pieces in order!

The die literally labels each piece with an alphabetical letter, so when you take the pieces off the die right after cutting them, arrange them so you know what letter each shape is. (I personally didn’t do that the first time, and believe me when I say I learned my lesson!) You can use simple scraps of paper ripped up and write letters on each one – or you might have a fancier method.. just do what works for you to keep the pieces labeled by their assigned letter.

90% Faster Than Rotary Cutters

Tip #4: Go Slow on your Mariner’s Compass Quilt Block

Complex fabric shapes and blocks like the Mariner’s Compass are not meant to be a quick finish! Enjoy the slower pace and process of this unique style of patchwork. It took me about 2 hours to cut and piece just one Mariner’s Compass block from start to finish, and I truly loved every second of it!

Use the AccuQuilt Go! Mariner's Compass quilt block die to easily make this complex looking quilt block. Learn the EASY way to make a Mariner's Compass quilt block using AccuQuilt. This article includes tips & tricks that I wish I knew when I began this quilting project! Sewing curves, laying out the quilt block pieces, and so much more..
Cut Time, Quilt More

Tip #5: Get ready for Sewing Curves

OK so this one really isn’t even a tip, more so maybe a warning? Encouragement? yes, let’s go with encouragement! The Mariner’s Compass quilt block features a couple places where you will get the opportunity to practice sewing curves! I found that starching my fabric prior to cutting (like I always do) and using lots of pins helped make the curves go more smoothly and actually, I was surprised by how great my curves turned out! Just take it easy and use lots of pins!!

Sewing these curves actually makes me want to make more quilts that involve curves too! Stay turned for more curves in my future!

Use the AccuQuilt Go! Mariner's Compass quilt block die to easily make this complex looking quilt block. Learn the EASY way to make a Mariner's Compass quilt block using AccuQuilt. This article includes tips & tricks that I wish I knew when I began this quilting project! Sewing curves, laying out the quilt block pieces, and so much more..

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  • Vicki in MN
    December 8, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    I wish I had labeled my pieces before taking them off the board, I am sure it would have made things easier! Do you know where you bought your red with the white lines going through it? I need some like it to make a gingham looking project, LOL

    • homemadeemilyjane
      December 8, 2020 at 6:08 pm

      Me too!! Lol! That fabric is by Moda and I got it at a local quilt shop – it was a couple years ago though and I don’t remember the collection name. I’d suggest looking through holiday collections for something similar!