100 Days – Week of Techniques – Target Practice Quilt Block

Target Practice Quilt Block

This fun and versatile 20″ quilt block utilizes the Pinless Piecing Method for piecing circles (known more frequently as the Six Minute Circle) coupled with half square triangles to create a dynamic modern block.

1 – 22″ x 22″ background fabric
8 – 10″ right triangles
8 – 7″ right triangles
2 – 18″ x 18″ freezer paper sheets
1 – acid free glue stick (like Scotch Craft Stick)
1 – push pin
1 – 11″ x 4″ sheet freezer paper


Half Square Triangles
1. The first step of making this quilt block is to make Half Square Triangles (HST’s). For the purposes of this tutorial we wont explore all the methods for creating half square triangles. There are some great methods out there but, most of them create 2 or more identical sets of HST’s. This tutorial will simply have you sew right triangles together to create the HST’s. It’s pretty easy you just have to make sure not to stretch the triangle along the long side while sewing. You can help this by pressing it with an iron using starch. To cut the right triangle you’ll need a piece of fabric at least the height and width of your right triangle. In this case it needs to be at least 10″ on either side. Make sure that you have a  clean 90 degree  corner. This simply means that if you use your cutting mat as a guide you cut a line straight across following the horizontal  lines and then you cut a line straight down following the vertical lines. Then from that corner you count the number of inches that you need your right triangle from that corner in both directions and lay your ruler down on this diagonal. In this case, you will cut out 8 – 10″ right triangles or 8 – 7″ right triangles. Cut.

2. Lay the 10″ right triangles out in the order that you like. These will form your outer ring.  Position them with the diagonals pointing to the center as shown. Sew each pair of HST’s together. Repeat with 7″ right triangles.

3. Square up the HST’s. The larger HST’s that started with 10″ right triangles should be squared to 9 1/2″ square. The smaller ones to 6 1/2″ square.

4. Next we will sew each set of four HST’s together. First sew the block together across the row.

5. Then sew the two rows together.

6. Repeat with the other set of HST’s

7. Press the two 18″ squares of freezer paper sheets together to form one thicker sheet. Lay one on top of the other both shiny sides down. Press well using steam to make sure that they stick together well. This thickness will give more stability in the cut out circles. Fold the sheets in half lengthwise and crease, open up. Then fold the sheets in half width-wise, crease  and open up. This will help you to find a center point as well as give you guide lines for lining your block up.

8. Take the 11″ x 4″ freezer paper and fold lengthwise once and then twice to have four layers of thickness.

9. Using a pen or marker mark a dot about 1″ from the end. Using a ruler and your pen mark at 4″ and 8″ from the first pen mark.

10. Using the push pin, push a hole into each pen mark wiggling around a bit so that the tip of your pen or marker can fit through the 4″ and 8″ holes. This will now be referred to as the compass.

11. Place the double layered freezer paper on your cutting mat shiny side down. Stick the push pin through the first hole in the compass and push through the center of the double layered freezer paper and push lightly into your cutting mat. With the other hand put the tip of your pen through the 4″ hole and draw a circle on the layered freezer paper. Repeat in the 8″ hole.

12. Carefully cut along the two circle lines. Start cutting with the paper folded and then open up to finish cutting.

13. Discard the middle circle and you will have your outer ring and inner ring.

Outer Ring

14. Press the background fabric in half lengthwise and then in half width-wise. Open up and place right side down. Place the outer freezer paper ring on the back of the background fabric. Line up using the press marks and the crease lines.

15. Keeping it centered, press the outer freezer paper ring onto the background fabric. Using a rotary cutter or scissors cut out the center circle  leaving 1/2″ to 1″ seam allowance. Discard center circle.

16. Using small scissors or embroidery scissors cut tabs into the seam allowance cutting every 1/2″ to an inch making sure not to cut all the way to or through the freezer paper.

17. Lightly apply glue stick onto the freezer paper underneath the tabs and then press the tabs back with an iron.

18. Now apply a heavy coat of the glue stick on top of the tabs.

19. Using the press lines and the seam lines center the large HST block in the background circle. Press into place lightly and then press with an iron on the back of the block to dry the glue and secure.

20. Remove the freezer paper ensuring the tabs stay glued down. First lift the background fabric from the shiny side of the freezer paper. Then carefully lift the freezer paper from the other side  being careful that the tabs stay glued down. If the tabs do lift you can simply dab a little glue stick on them and press into place.

21. Fold the backing fabric to the center of the block and using an open toe walking foot, sew in the crease line around the perimeter of the circle.

22.Trim excess fabric from set in circle. Press seam.

Inner Ring
23. Press the middle freezer paper ring onto the back of the block centering the circle lining up the crease lines with the seams. Press with a hot iron to secure.

24. Cut, the center circle out leaving 1/2″ to 1″ seam allowance. Discard center circle. Cut 1/2″ tabs around the perimeter and lightly glue onto the freezer paper. Press into place with a hot iron and then apply heavy glue on top of the tabs.

25. Center the small HST block in the middle of the block by lining up the seam line. Lightly press into place. Turn over to make sure everything is aligned properly and then iron to dry glue and secure into place.

26. Remove freezer paper and sew together in the crease. Trim. Press. Square up block  to 20.5″ 20.5″.

6 thoughts on “100 Days – Week of Techniques – Target Practice Quilt Block

  1. Brilliant. I just pinned this comment: “OK, I don’t know where I’ve been, but this is a brilliant way to draw a circle, then fold in quarters and cut out with scissors. Would be even more brilliant with a few layers of freezer paper fused together.” Thank you MQG, thank you pinterest.

  2. It’s an awesome tutorial, thanks so much for sharing! I love the circle pattern and the fact that it doesn’t require any pins. Great idea! 🙂

  3. I’ve been covered in starch and glue for weeks! But now I get it!!! A light coater coat of glue stick under the tabs and a heavier one above. Leave it to you girl engineers to rock it!

  4. I love this method, devised by Dale Fleming, and I have been using it with great success ever since I saw her demonstrate it on The Quilt Show.

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