…MN License Plate Block

In Spring 2014, Clothworks introduced their new American Made Brand cotton solids fabric collection. To share these 50 great colors, they asked 50 bloggers in 50 states to take people on a Blog Tour “Road Trip”. The Curious Quilter represented Minnesota. You can find the other states, and patterns or tutorials for all, at the AMB Blog Tour website.

Finished License Plate Blog from MInnesota

Made entirely of AMB Cotton Solids, my plate shows the glory of all four seasons, and all the water in Minnesota that makes us the”Land of 10,000 Lakes.”

Click on the picture to read how this design was chosen, and just how well Minnesotans enjoy the glorious out-of-doors in all seasons of the year.

How to make your own Minnesota License Plate Block
This license plate block finishes at 12.5 by 6.5 inches, and is made using fusible appliqué. While there are simple directions for doing fusible appliqué below, if this is your first attempt I recommend that you check out my Fusible Appliqué Techniques Demonstration, and play with the method a bit first.


  1. Lightweight double-sided fusible web, such as Heat&Bond or Steam-A-Seam, available at fabric stores by the yard or in small packages.
  2. Iron and ironing board.
  3. A pencil, and a medium to dark marking pencil that will wash out.
  4. A sharp scissors with a good point for cutting detail.
  5. Thread: Dark green, medium blue, and white for top threads, I used a gray for bobbin.
  6. Fabrics: Please refer to the color chart below to see which colors I selected, but you ca personalize your selections. Approximate amounts needed for each color are also in the color chart.
  7. A Sewing machine.
  8. The PDF templates, pages 1, 2 & 3, see Using the Templates, below.

Using the Templates

The templates are three PDF files that you can print. Each segment is reversed , as the fusible web is applied to the back of the fabric first.

Please note when printing PDF’s that all printers vary a bit in how they size or adjust margins on PDFs. Each template has a three-inch ruler on it, so you can measure and see if your templates are printing at the right size. If not, you can copy them and enlarge or decrease them in size to match the three-inch line. Some versions of the Acrobat Reader also allow you to increase or decrease by percentage before you print.

If you are off more than 1/16th of an inch, you will not wind up with a block the same size as mine. If your three-inch line is too short, I suggest trying to enlarge by 5% for each 1/4 inch you are off. OR, make the block anyway, and put a border on it if you need to bring it to 12.5 by 6.5 inches.If your printout is less than 1/4 inch too large, there should be enough extra in the directions so you will be able to trim to size without losing any design. If it is 1/4-inch or more too large, I suggest copying it and reducing by 5%.

Click on each template title below, and print each page.
PDF MNLicensePlateBlock_template_pg1 001
PDF 2_MNLicensePlateBlock_templates_pg2 001
PDF 3_MNLicensePlateBlock_templates_pg3 001

Tracing the templates
You will be tracing one of each pattern piece on to the paper side of the fusible web. You can trace them in any order, and lay them out any way you please, BUT be sure to leave at least 1/4 inch (I leave more) between the tracings. You will need this excess when fusing. Note: Piece 6:Lake is shown in two parts on the template, as paper size will not accommodate the 13-inch length. Trace one half, then line up the other half and trace it to make a continuous piece.

Lay the fusible web on top of the patterns and trace with a pencil. The patterns are printed in dark shares to make tracing easy, but if you can’t see, you can outline the patterns with a heavy line, use a light box, or hold it up to tape to the template to a window for tracing. it is helpful to write the pattern piece number on each template as you go.

Cutting the pattern pieces out
DO NOT CUT ON THE TRACED LINES! Instead cut halfway between each pattern piece, leaving a margin outside the traced lines. You should have 16 image pieces, plus the letters M and N (in reverse.)

The Color Chart

The color chart lists pieces in the order they are attached to the block. It also gives fabric requirements, but they are the bare minimum. It is easier to cut out the pieces if you start with a little extra space. Click to download the Color Chart PDF:
Color Chart

Preparing the pieces to be appliquéd.

Click any photo to enlarge it.

Photo 1: Referring to the color chart above, fuse each piece to the selected fabric. Follow the instructions that came with your fusible web, some require steam, some don’t. Allow fabric to cool before the next step.
Photo 2: Carefully cut out each piece on the line. Lay them out as you go so you can see the block taking shape. Do not peel off the paper backing yet!

1_ fuse  then trim

Photo 1.


Photo 2.

Photo 3: Prepare the background. Be sure your background piece is 13×7 inches. Mine is larger because of the selvage, which I left on until the end.) With a washable marking pencil, lightly trace out the finished block (as though it were already in a quilt) area of 12×6 inches.
Photo 4: Draw a line one inch above the bottom .This will be the guide for laying in the seasons and will later be covered by the lake.

a1_trace 12 by 6

Photo 3.

a2_lake line

Photo 4.

Click any photo to enlarge it.

Attach the Appliqués

Photos 5 & 6: Peel the paper from piece @1: Spring only. Lay the background out on the ironing board with the lined side up. Using #5 Winter as a guide, place #1 Spring, with its base slightly covering the Lake Line. Be sure that Spring lines up slightly UNDER Winter, so they over lap with Winter on top.
Photo 7. Set piece 5: Winter aside. Following the fusible web directions, fuse Spring in place. Be sure to use the full amount of time suggested, to ensure a good bond. Let the piece cool.

a3_place Spring

Photo 5.

a4_allow for overlap

Photo 6.

a5_fuse Spring

Photo 7.

Photo 8: Using green thread, and a small straight stitch, run a line of stitching across the TOP of spring, close to the edge.
Photo 9: Referring to the complete license plate shown above, continue with the green thread and stitch in abstract field rows as shown.
Photo 10: Peel the paper off of piece #2, Summer ground. Place it on the block so its base touches or slightly covers the lake line, and so that it slightly overlaps Spring. Fuse in place. Do not stitch yet.

a6_stitch spring on top

Photo 8.

a7_ add field rows

Photo 9.

a8_place, and fise summer ground

Photo 10.

Click any photo to enlarge it.
Photo 11. Peel and place piece #3, the tall pines. They will overlap the ground piece, and should align with the ground on the left side. Refer to the completed block above if needed. Fuse in place. Using green thread, stitch up the left side of ground and tall pines, stitch the ups and downs of the pines, and finish by stitching across the wave bottom edge of the pines.
Photo 12. Peel and place #4 Fall, letting it slightly overlap the summer pieces. Fuse in place. Using green thread, run a row of stitching up the left side of Fall, as shown in the finished block. Now (not shown) peel, place and fuse #5, Winter. Switch to blue thread and stitch down right side or winter.
Photo 13. Peel and place #6, Lake. Fuse, then stitch across the top with blue thread.

a9_place and fuse summer trees

Photo 11.

b1_place fuse and stitch Fall

Photo 12.

b2_place fuse stitch lake

Photo 13.

Photo 14: Shows placement for the three leaves.
Photo 15: Peel, place and fuse #7 Oak Leaf. Stitch around it in green thread, then stitch vein details as desired.
Photo 16: Peel, place and fuse #8 Aspen Leaf. Stitch around it in green thread, then stitch vein details as desired. then do the same for #9 Maple leaf.

c1_leave placement

Photo 14.

c2_leaf stitch adn detail

Photo 15.

c3_finished leaf details

Photo 16.

Photo 17: Peel place and fuse #10, Tent in place. Using green thread, stitch around edges and the door flap detail.
Photo 18: Peel. place, and fuse #11, Barn. With white thread, stitch around edges and add door adn window details.
Photo 19: Peel, place and fuse #12, green lower bough. Peel, place and fuse #13, small white bit of snow, using the completed block photo as a guide. Do the same for pieces 14 white, 15 (14 green on templates), and #16 tree top (white.) Using green thread, stitch around each section of the snowy tree.
No photo: Carefully peel place and fuse the MN letters, using the completed block photo as a guide. Stitch around them with blue thread. Trim the block to be 12.5×6.5 inches.

c4_fuse and stitch tent

Photo 17.

c5_fuse and stitch barn

Photo 18.

c6_fuse and stitch all parts of snowy tree

Photo 19.

AMB Blog TourAnd now go to the AMB Blog Tour pages, and look up all the other states. Make all 50 of them, and have your very own US License Plate Quilt.

Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot com© 2014 by The Curious Quilter, thecuriousquilter.net, maryeoriginals.com. All rights reserved.


5 Responses to …MN License Plate Block

  1. Pingback: Welcome to Minnesota! | The Curious Quilter

  2. jean lickun says:

    Your AMB post and license plate really show your love for MN. Beautiful post and plate!

  3. Melody M says:

    Great license plate! I l love how described your state. I’m ready to jump in the car and start touring.
    Thank you for the tour.
    Melody 🙂

  4. Pingback: AMB Blog Tour Winners, Tutorial, and Kites! | The Curious Quilter

  5. Sylvia McLean says:

    I was not aware of that maker of fabrics. Thank you for the exposure in an interesting and inspiring way.

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