foundation paper piecing, Quilting, swaps, Tutorials

Christmas Themed Economy Block Swap

Welcome to the Christmas in July Economy Block Swap. I’ve set up this blog post as a landing page with all the information you will need for our swap.


Recap of the premise:

This is a low stress swap – you send your finished blocks to me and I send you back the same number of blocks. If you send in 1 block, you will receive back 1 block. If you send in 12 blocks, you will receive back 12 blocks. No need to worry about flakers. If you don’t send blocks, you don’t get blocks. That simple!

You will have roughly 4 weeks to make and send your blocks.


You will need to post two pictures to instagram during the course of this swap. Feel free to post your checkins, sew your blocks and post early. These are just the minimum requirements!

1. Fabric Check in – 15 July 2017

This should be a picture of all the fabrics you have chosen to use.

2. Final day to post check in – 30 July 2017

This should be a picture of at least one completed block, as this day is the final day for posting. 

3. Blocks returned – 31 August 2017

I will post all blocks back (assuming you have sent your postage money or included a return envelope) no later than 31 August (earlier if all are received before than) and will post on Instagram when they are on their way back to you. 

Construction details:

How you construct your economy blocks is completely up to you. As long as your centre block measures 5 inches to start with (ie before you sew) and you end up with a 9.5 inch economy block, it doesn’t matter what method you use.

My personal preference, given these blocks are quite large, is to use traditional piecing.  I have used and can highly recommend this tutorial by Ms Midge

Alternatively, if you prefer paper piecing or are having trouble with your points when using traditional piecing I have designed a foundation paper piecing pattern just for this swap. 

It’s free to download here

Try not to become too zealous with your trimming up. The blocks should comfortably measure 9.5 inches when you are done. 

Fabric selection:

The theme of this swap is Christmas/ Holidays. Everyone is welcome so please don’t be offended by me using Christmas as shorthand for December Holidays/Happy Holidays/Happy Hanukkah/Seasons Greetings/anything else celebratory from December.

So yes, you do need to use Christmas-y fabrics. And I know people are going to ask, but what does “Christmas fabric” mean???

Well, that’s a little bit like asking how long is a piece of string. To start with, think about picking your fabrics with the goal of making a holiday / Christmas quilt in mind. Do your fabric selections, when grouped together remind you of the Christmas time? Do the colours make you think Christmas? Do the prints, singularly or combined make you think Christmas? If the answer to any of those is yes, then your choice is great.

Just a couple of fabrics
Just a couple of fabrics but don’t be constrained by these – the sky is the limit when it comes to awesome Christmas fabric

It is not necessary for the whole block to be made specifically from Christmas fabric. You can use solids or other prints that coordinate with your Christmas fabric. However, you should ensure that at least one round (ie the centre square or the middle triangles or the outer triangles have a clear Christmas feel/look to it!

Example with only 1 Christmas fabric
all Christmas fabrics
An example using all Christmas fabrics

Plus, hopefully it goes without saying that your fabric should be quilt store quality (no cheap, poor, dirty etc fabrics)

Quality control:

This swap is open to all sewers, quilters and crafty people of all skill levels.

There are two key construction requirements for ensuring you have made a block worthy of swapping:

  1.  Your finished block is at least 9.5 inches square (a little over is better than under so resist the temptation to trim your blocks too enthusiastically)
  2. The points of your triangles aren’t lost. millimeter perfect points are certainly NOT required but the triangles do need to be recognisable as triangles.

If something has gone significantly wrong with your blocks I will get in contact with you. No doubt any issues can be fixed. As a last resort, remember you all agreed to me using my discretion to return my blocks if they measure significantly under 9.5 inches or are otherwise poorly made and therefore unusable by fellow swappers.

Basically, keep your swap karma on point and only send in blocks you are proud of and would be happy to receive!

Posting details:

You are responsible for postage to me and covering return postage. Aussie swappers can include their own return addressed and stamped envelopes. Aussie swappers who prefer me to arrange return shipping and all international swappers need to email me once you have made your blocks and know roughly what they weigh so we can arrange payment for shipping. The shipping cost will simply be whatever Australia Post charges from Sydney Australia to your address. 

As a guide:

My experiments suggest a single block weighs roughly 20 grams. Yours might weigh more or less depending on the fabrics used, but since we should all be using quilting quality cotton and making the same size block 20 g should be fairly accurate (assuming my kitchen scales are ok!)

For Australian swappers, you can send a return addressed and stamped envelop or I will package your blocks and you will pay for postage via paypal. In my experience a large letter is usually the best way to post blocks. It costs $2 postage for up to 125 g, $3 for up to 250g and $5 for up to 500 g. Based on my experiments and keeping the blocks flat to meet the 2cm envelop thickness rule we should be able to post 5 blocks for as little as $2!

You should review the Australia Post guidelines about letter sizes and weights before you send, regardless of whether you are including your own self addressed envelope or are sending me the money for postage.

For International swappers, I will package your blocks and you will pay for postage via paypal. The final cost depends on how many blocks you want to swap. As a guide, a large letter is usually the best way to post blocks from Australia to international locations as parcel post is expensive.

To the US & UK, it’s $2.95 for up to 50 g and $8 for 250g.  so keeping the blocks flat to meet the 2cm envelop thickness rule we should be able to post 2 blocks for as little as $2.95! If you are interested in tracking or other forms of post, have a look at the options available via Australia Post here


Remember, all blocks need to be in the post NO LATER than 30 July.

If I’ve left anything out, just leave a comment below or email me. Thanks and happy swapping!