Today’s “Pandora’s Box” block is the last in our series of Modern Block of the Month designs from designer Alyssa Lichner of Pile o’ Fabric. Each of the blocks in our second Modern BOM are extra-large and include a PDF download with all of the instructions. Alyssa will be back in October with her finished quilt, quilting tips and more! Even though this is the last block of the series of six, you can sew along with “The Pieces”, “Hour by Hour”, “March Up From Here”, “Stained Glass” and “Like Rain” blocks any time. Yardage information for the complete series can be found here. Learn more about Alyssa’s designs in her introduction.

Download your free PDF tutorial here, and don’t forget to visit the BOM2 Flickr group to add your blocks!

Modern BOM 2 // Pandora’s Box // August Block #6

Welcome to August! This month we will be making our last block quilt block for Modern BOM 2. After this lesson I will be back again in October to share my quilt top, quilting suggestions and finished quilt. I can’t wait to see your quilts so be sure to share in the BOM2 Flickr group!

Tool List:

  • 6.5” X 24” Ruler
  • 12.5” X 12.5” Ruler (optional)
  • Rotary Cutter and Rotary Mat
  • Heavy Starch and Iron (I use Best Press Starch)
  • Sewing Pins
  • Matching or Monofilament thread (I use Aurifil 50wt)

Pandora’s Box Block Yardage Requirements:

  • 1/4 yard in Fabric A
  • 1/4 yard in Fabric B
  • 1/2 yard in Fabric C
  • 1/16 yard in Fabric D
  • 5/8 yard BG Background Fabric


“Pandora’s Box” Block Cutting Instructions:

Block Instructions:

Step 1: Press fabric with starch and then cut the pieces per the cutting instructions above. Use a round rotary cutter to make cutting the 8” circle easier.
Step 2: Cut a 7” circle out of Freezer paper.
Step 3: Center the freezer paper (waxy side down) onto the wrong side of the 8” circle and press with a hot dry iron. Dab some starch around the seam allowance of the circle.
STEP 4: Snip the seam allowance about 1/4” in around the entire circle. Be careful not to snip too close to the freezer paper. Press the seam allowance over around the whole circle.

Step 5: Gently take the freezer paper out and press the seam allowance flat. Set the circle aside.
Step 6: Pandora’s Box is basically a classic Log Cabin block that has been tipped on it’s side. First we will make a log cabin block. Lay all the block pieces out in the order they will be sewn.
Step 7: Begin sewing from the center outward. Left and right piece, then top and bottom. Pin pieces if necessary.
Step 8: Press all seams from the center outward after as you sew each seam.

Step 9: Keep sewing the pieces together (left, right, top, bottom) until all the pieces are sewn together.
Step 10: You should now have a 29” square log cabin block. Now we will tip the block and trim it.
Step 11: If you have a 24” x 36” rotary matt it will help to use it. Lay your block out on the mat and begin angling the block to look tipsy. Make sure there is fabric going over the 25” mark.
Step 12: Check all four corners to make sure the block is completely covering a 25” x 25” space while it is tipping. Tip: If you do not have a large mat use masking tape and tape a 25” square to your floor. Follow these same instructions, but when cutting use scissors.

Step 13: Line up your ruler with the 25” mark, and fold over any excess fabric to be absolutely sure you are lined up properly.
Step 14: Begin cutting the excess off. If you can walk around the table without moving the block as you cut that will be much more accurate. Trim the block to 25” x 25”.
Step 15: Put a thin line of Elmer’s School glue on the seam allowance of the circle. Lay the circle wrong side down on the bottom right hand corner of the center square and press with a hot dry iron to heat set the glue.
STEP 16: With either matching or monofilament thread stitch 1/8” from the edge around the entire circle backstitching at the start and finish. You should now have a finished Pandora’s Box Block!

Pandora’s Box in Solids

This block design is perfect for a four block, 49″ x 49″ quilt.

Pandora’s Box in Prints

For the Pandora’s Box print version I used four different prints and two solids from my fabric stash.

Have fun! If you would like to print this block lesson out you can download the PDF version here. Be sure to share your BOM progress in the Modern BOM 2 Flickr group!