The seventh block of the 2016 Quilt Extravaganza is here—I’ve named it Making Waves–it’s an unexpected yet whimsical block. Use the Carefree Curves Template to create the shapes easily and without setting in any curved seams.

Have you selected fabrics and created the strata for your 2016 Block of the Month? Check out the details in the January 9 blog. I encourage you to use as many scraps from your stash as possible. I’m using bright and neutral fabrics in this quilt.

All blocks for 2016 will be created from pieced fabric strata. Read more on this blog post.

2016 Block Of The Month Quilt Extravaganza by Nancy Zieman | Sewing With Nancy
2016 Block Of The Month Quilt Extravaganza by Nancy Zieman | Sewing With Nancy

Block #7: Making Waves


Cut Fabrics

Cut the following fabric and interfacing pieces:

  • From each bright and neutral strata cut two 12-7/8″ x 12-7/8″ fabric squares (background).
  • Mark and cut each square in half on the diagonal.
  • From previous month’s scraps, find a neutral and bright strata piece slightly larger than the Wagon Wheel and Fan Template, about 9″ x 5″

Note from Nancy: My bright strata scrap was a bit too small. I simply added the green strip of fabric to make this scrap large enough for the project.

  • Cut four strips of interfacing approximately 9″ x 3″.

Create the Waves

The right and left sides of the block are symmetrical and steps to create them are identical. Follow along as I prepare both appliqué pieces at once.

  • Using rotary cutting tools, trim the right and left side at the marked line.

  • Pin the smooth side of the interfacing strips to the right side of the fabric along the 12″ arc.
  • Straight stitch, using a short stitch length, 2.0—2.5, directly on the marked curve.
Note from Nancy:
Use a short stitch length to ensure a smooth stitching line when sewing a curve. I often compare using a short stitch length to driving in the mountains. To maneuver the curvy road, a slower speed ensures that you’ll stay on course.

  • Remove the excess interfacing from within the arcs, leaving approximately 1″ of interfacing.

  • Turn the interfacing to the wrong side.
  • Use a turning tool to smooth the curves.
  • Press.


  • Pin the smooth side of the interfacing strips to the right side of the fabric along the shorter 10″ arc.
  • Straight stitch.

  • Remove the excess interfacing from within both arcs, leaving approximately 1″ of interfacing.

  • Turn the interfacing to the wrong side.
  • Use a turning tool to smooth the curves.
  • Press.

Build the Quilt Block

  • Pin arcs to backgrounds aligning the cut edges.
Note from Nancy: You will have two background triangles of each bright and neutral fabric left over. Save those to use on a later block or to create additional Making Waves blocks.
Note from Nancy: Notice in the photo I used an Open Toe Foot and a narrow blanket stitch to stitch the wave to the background. Choose a blanket stitch, decorative stitch, or straight stitch to appliqué the shapes.
  • Position the right and left sides as they will look when the block is finished.
  • Carefully fold the right side onto the left. Line up the waves at the diagonal seam.
  • Use a 1/4″ seam allowance to join.
  • Press seam allowances flat to set the seam.
  • Press seam open.

Note from Nancy: This block will have unavoidable bulk in the seam allowances. To really flatten the seams, press with steam and then apply even pressure using a wooden Tailor’s Clapper while the fabric is warm. It’s magic!
  • Ta-dah! Another block is complete.

 If you are on social sites, let all your friends know you are working on The 2016 Quilt Extravaganza Blocks by tagging your post with the hashtag: #NZBoM.

What would a Quilt Look Like?

Suppose we were to make a quilt using only this one block style, what would it look like?

  • This first digital concept is a table runner made from five Making Waves blocks. To create a continuous wave look, three blocks are created using this exact tutorial and two blocks were made with the diagonal line pointing in the opposite direction.


  • The second digital concept quilt builds on the table runner’s opposing diagonal lines to create an entire wave quilt. Find more information on creating a pieced border in my book Fearless Quilting Finishes.
  • The last digital quilt features the block, as created in the tutorial. It is rotated 90 degrees and set in a basic quilter’s grid, 6 blocks by 8 blocks. A group of four blocks appears to create a circle hiding behind wedges.
We’ll be using the Carefree Curves Template throughout the entire 2016 Quilt Extravaganza. Watch episodes online for more tips on using the templates in my two-part series featuring the Trace ‘n Create Carefree Curves tools on Sewing With Nancy.

Watch Quilt with Carefree Curves (Part One and Part Two) on Sewing With Nancy online.

Sew and Share

Send in a photo of your blocks and quilts and we’ll share with others in upcoming blogs and on Facebook. I’d really like to see what fabrics you’re using! Send the images to [email protected]

Nancy Zieman's Giveaway WinnerI enjoyed reading all of your ideas about where to use appliqué alphabet embroidery designs from last week’s blog on embroidering baby bibs. The random winner of a Carefree Appliqué Alphabet Embroidery Design Collection is Cindy Schultz. She said: “You could use it to make a birthday banner with the child’s age and name. You could also make different holiday banners using the appliqués.” Great ideas!

How to embroider baby bibs, Nancy Zieman Sewing With NancyBye for now,
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