Here’s the latest Design to Reality quilt block from Michelle of Factotum of Arts. Michelle creates a new design every day and shares it with her QDAD (Quilt Design a Day) group. Michelle brings her designs to reality and shares the finished projects here each month; so far we’ve had Peach Melba, Succulent and Mod Squares.

Michelle’s minimalist “Trapped” design looks great framed, as an easy update for your office or living space. Learn more about Michelle’s QDAD practice at Factotum of Arts and in her introduction.


Growing up in New Zealand has definitely influenced my sense of design. Maori (the indigenous population of New Zealand) designs are very strong using predominantly a minimal color palette of black, white and red. With the use of this minimal palette, I embarked on a week of minimal designs; Trapped was the first of this series.

I am sure we all have those weeks where we feel trapped, needing to be freed from the stress of your world. That is the place this design came from.

I wanted a reminder that we always have tough days we can emerge from, so I decided that this design would be great as a framed quilt block that I can hang/place in my office at work.

Fabric Requirements:
Fabric A: (Kona White, A)
– 1 5.5” x 3” rectangle

Fabric B: (Kona Red, B)
– 1 4” x 14” rectangle (extra inches included)

Fabric C: (Kona Black, C)
– 1 6.5” x 17.5” rectangle (extra inches included)
– 1 11.5” x 17.5” rectangle

Batting: 17.5” square

Muslin: 17.5” square

Additional Materials:

  • Frame: 18” square frame

Trapped Block Assembly (Finished Size 17”):
Always use a ¼” seam allowance while piecing.

1. Take Fabric A (white) and cut the straight lines on top and bottom, making the height of the piece 5.25” (which includes seam allowance).

2. Now, note the angle of A, to make this angle place a ruler at the top left corner and align it at the bottom ½ an inch in from the edge (as shown in picture above) and cut.

3. Using that cut edge, as your line, measure 1.25” (includes seam allowance) and cut at the same angle. This is Piece A complete.

4. Take Fabric B (red) and cut two pieces that are 4” x 5.25”. This will provide the two straight edges at the top and bottom for B1 and B2.

5. For B1, overlap A (minimal overlap), lining up the bottom and top edges. Both pieces should be right sides facing up. Using A (white) as the template, line your ruler up along the fabric edge and cut the below red fabric. This is now the inner angle/edge.

6. Repeat the same process for the inner angle/edge with B2.

7. Now the outer angle/edge for B1, measure from the bottom right corner (the inner cut edge) 1.75” (includes seam allowance) and mark. Place your ruler at this mark, at the top have your ruler move in ¼” (as shown in picture above) and cut. This will produce an opposite angle to the white.

8. At this point, sew B1 and B2 to A. Press seams.
Note: I prefer to press my seams open for a flatter appearance.

9. Place your ruler along the outer edge of B1, and measure 3” and cut the same parallel outer angle as B1 for B2.

10. Lastly, B3 cut a strip that is 4” x 1.75” and sew it to the top of your B1-A-B2 piece. Press the seam. Once pressed, trim B3 sides by continuing the outer angles of B1 and B2.

11. Use the 6.5” x 17.5” strip of Fabric C, and cut a piece 6.5” x 11.5“. This will be for Piece C1. Overlap B1 outer edge (minimal overlap) and the right edge of C1, lining up the bottom and top edges. Both pieces should be right sides facing up. Using B1 edge as the template, line your ruler up along the fabric edge and cut the below black fabric. This is now the inner angle/edge.

12. Sew C1 to B1-A-B2-B3 piece. Press the seam.

13. With the remaining fabric (6.5” x 6”), this will be C2. Overlap B2 outer edge (minimal overlap) and the left edge of C2, lining up the bottom and top edges. Both pieces should be right sides facing up. Using B2 edge as the template, line your ruler up along the fabric edge and cut the below black fabric. This is now the inner angle/edge.

14. Sew C2 to B1-A-B2-B3-C1 piece. Press the seam. Now the bottom ½ of the block is complete. Trim if need be, the bottom ½ should measure 6.5” x 17.5”

15. Lastly, sew the 11.5” x 17.5” rectangle to the bottom ½. Press the seam. This completes your block top.

16. Create a quilt sandwich using your completed top, your batting and the muslin for the backing fabric. Baste using your preferred method.

17. Choose how you would like to quilt your block. I used straight line quilting techniques, and made those lines denser as they closed in to the red and white boxes. Trim your block to 17” square.

18. Once quilting is complete, it is ready to be framed. I used a 18” square frame, with a mount board approximately 2” wide.

I use these framed blocks as gifts for friends and colleagues, as well as a way to decorate our home and offices. Here is another example of a framed block I gave a colleague.

You can do this with any block and it’s a great way to use some of your orphan blocks. I hope you have fun and I hope to see some of your framed blocks soon.