Who doesn't love a good tumbler quilt? Vanessa Wilson, founder and proprietor of Crafty Gemini, explains how the GO! Tumbler-6½" (55020) makes for an easy way to whip together a quick project. Take a look at this story from the AccuQuilt archives for the story and for a video filled with tumbler-specific tips!
With two small kids, I don’t have time to do any quilty prep work these days. Pressing, measuring and cutting are absolutely out of the question during the week in my house. When I heard of the AccuQuilt GO!® Fabric Cutter, I knew I just had to have it. I figured if I could cut out blocks in a fraction of the time then maybe I could find the time to make and complete new quilts. I tried out a few different dies and I made some gorgeous quilts in no time. When I tried out the GO! Tumbler-6½" (55020), I had no idea that I was going to fall in love like I did.
Falling for the TumblerThe tumbler block probably got its name from the common tumbler glass it looks like. AccuQuilt carries two different tumbler block dies: 3½" and 6½". My favorite of the two is the 6½" tumbler. I prefer this one because it’s larger and a bigger block means I can put a quilt together faster, which makes me one happy camper.
The tumbler block is considered a traditional block and is usually cut out with all kinds of different sized templates and rulers. I don’t have time for all that so I love using my GO! fabric cutter instead. It’s so easy to crank out a gazillion blocks and just start sewing away. You may find this hard to believe, but I completed this entire quilt top in less than 1.5 hours while my son took a quick nap. This is amazing—a huge thanks to AccuQuilt!
Using the Tumbler
You can get seven blocks from one 7½" x WOF strip but you have to make sure you start cutting on the selvage (not the folded) end of your strip. This will allow you to cut that seventh block by opening that fold. Be sure to alternate the orientation of the die each time you cut to conserve fabric and get the most cuts out of that one strip of fabric.
Once you have a large stack of blocks, you can literally just sit at your machine and start sewing. Let me also point out that the folks at AccuQuilt created the tumbler block die with specially designed corners so that the dog ears are already cut off. These clipped corners line up easily and once that seam is sewn, you end up with perfectly even rows of blocks. The GO! fabric cutter makes cutting identical blocks a breeze but having those special corners is just icing on my quilty cake!
AccuQuilt makes it easy to pin and sew the blocks together.
The GO! Tumbler-6½" die (55020) is also the perfect size that you don’t even have to use pins as you sew your blocks together. They are not so big that they move around on you. So as long as you line up the clipped corners of each block and sew your consistent ¼
" seam allowance, you should be good to go. I do suggest using pins to sew your rows together just to ensure you match up all the block intersections.
There is no need to come up with a quilt design either. This block lends itself nicely to a decide-as-you-go type of quilt design. I’ve never really enjoyed following rules so this works great for me. Just sew the blocks together into rows and decide as you go if you want to add more blocks to the row or not. Just keep adding and auditioning fabrics and prints all over your design as you go and no matter what you decide, you will always come out with a fabulous quilt.
When using the Tumbler-6½" (55020), there are no rules as to how many fabrics you use, color value, color contrast, etc. All those quilting rules can be tossed aside allowing you to cut tumbler blocks out of as many or as few fabric as you want. Here are some of my suggestions to consider:
- Use just one directional fabric (like stripes) and arrange the blocks so the fabric print direction alternates across the quilt top. This will result in a bold and modern quilt design.
- Use only two fabrics and arrange blocks to create cool tumbler stripes.
- Use up the scraps in your stash and sew different blocks together with for a scrappy quilt.
- Use one print fabric coupled with solid white muslin to create a memorable autograph quilt for a special event in your life such as a graduation, baby shower, or wedding. Have guests write in the white blocks with a permanent fabric pen. This makes an instant heirloom for years to come.
Tumbler Girl Quilt
Vanessa Wilson of Diary of Crafty Gemini
Vanessa Wilson is the founder and proprietor of Crafty Gemini, a sewing, quilting, cooking and crafting video tutorial business that showcases her many talents via her YouTube channel. After graduating from law school and getting married in 2008, Vanessa (with the help of her husband) decided to turn her passion for creativity and teaching others into a business. She loves teaching practical and functional skills to anyone willing to learn. She is a published quilt pattern designer and long arm quilter. Vanessa has also been featured in the New York Times and on ABC's 20/20 for her crafting tutorials on YouTube. She credits her clear and concise style of instruction with her success. Vanessa lives with her husband, two children, two dogs, four chickens and two rabbits near Gainesville, FL.