Photo Corner Blocks and Tutorial

This post appeared several years ago when I featured the Avignon Collection by Benartex. I revisited a pattern I've used several times. This uses my Photo Corner technique which was the focus of a workshop about 10 years ago called Rainbow Strips and Curves.

Here is the first quilt I made with this. Yes, very bright, I know!

Rainbow Curves
Then I wanted to fussy cut some holiday birds and make them the focus of the blocks. These are my Holiday Birds. I like that the birds aren't dead-center, but are arranged "organically" inside the frame. What do you think?

Four Block Christmas Birds: 9" blocks
Now, you may be thinking: I can't think of Christmas. It's only February! But think about some of those awesome prints in your stash that are just begging to be centered within these photo corners. I'll wait while you go dig them out.

Are you back? Let's move on to a non-Christmas set of bird blocks, shall we? What kinds of birds might you have in your stash?

I had a few bird books in my bookshelf to help me identify my backyard visitors and then my daughter said that she wanted them for my little grandsons so they could bird watch. What fun!

Who's visiting today?
Here are the Avignon fabrics I received from Benartex.

Avignon Collection by Benartex Fabrics
Next, my simple photo corner templates, which can be found in my Holiday Birds pattern.

Photo corners traceable templates

I used freezer paper to trace the simple template. I made two so I could cut quickly.

Iron templates to fabric that ALREADY has fusible interfacing on back
 Yes, you first have to iron fusible interfacing (NOT double sided, like Wonder Under) to the wrong side of fabric. This stabilizes the raw edges for machine appliqué.

Interfacing ironed to wrong side of fabric
Cut out squares and then use freezer paper templates to cut out photo corners.

Iron freezer paper to right side of fabric, then cut out.
Two photo corners cut out. Funny little shape in center: discard or find some clever use - your call!

I plan on 4 blocks. I need 8 photo corners of each color:

Photo corners cut out and ready for the birds!
I asked for 1/2 yard of that awesome main bird fabric. I wish I had asked for more, but it worked out! I needed to fussy cut four birds, so I needed a "window" template. Freezer paper to the rescue.

I created a window that mimicked the opening that the photo corners would create on a 9-1/2" background square. I cut a 9-1/2" piece of freezer paper and traced the photo corners as shown; then I cut out the center. Now I can see the bird fabric and find out where to place this template for cutting.

Window template drawn; now, to cut it out
Now I can see where to place the cutting template. Centered this bird . . .

Bird #1 centered and ready to be cut
Iron the template to the fabric (so it doesn't shift when I cut)

Bird #2 ready to be cut out on the OUTSIDE of the freezer paper square
I used my 9-1/2" ruler to do the chopping

Don't worry birdie; you're safe inside that ruler. I'm only cutting the outside fabric

And how do they look, waiting for the stitching?

Auditioning one bird with green corners
 And how does the same bird look with orange corners?
I like this one better
I placed the photo corners on the 9-1/2" background squares and then used matching thread, zig zag stitched them down. I also trimmed away the excess background fabric from behind each photo corner (before I added the sashing).

Simple zigzag stitch; trimmed away background from behind photo corners
Added sashing (from another Benartex collection), then that luscious fruit fabric for a border.

Song birds in my backyard: 30" x 30"
You can get the pattern here: Holiday Birds. This works for the Avignon quilt, too. Same size blocks.


  1. I remember the cardinal quilt and how lovely it is. Didn't know as much about quilting then. I still love it!! Maybe it'll go on my to do list now.

  2. Enjoyed reading the article above , really explains everything in
    detail,the article is very interesting and effective.

  3. Looks wonderful! Thank you for the clear directions!

  4. Debby, I have to tell you this. I've been ordering your Block & Pattern a Day calendar for my Mother for her birthday for several years. This year, I accidentally ordered the wrong calendar from Amazon. Boy did I hear about it! She has made a couple of quilts from your patterns. At 88, she's still quilting. Thank you for a wonderful calendar.


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