If you have ever taught anyone to piece you know you have to teach them to organize the block along the seam lines.
Sometimes it's easy to see the seam lines and figure out what patchwork units you have to make. You want to avoid all the set-in or Y seams you can.
And you want to avoid things like this...
So you begin with easy blocks and most people figure it out pretty quickly.
But some blocks are trickier than others. This one is not really a Nine-Patch; it's what I called a Nine-X.
I've had students (ages 8 to whatever) who randomly piece things together, winding up with something like the above. So I often make a block diagram with an exploded block.
Here's a similar block with a simple diagram. I do these exploded blocks with BlockBase. I manipulate the BlockBase picture in my photo program.
First I make a file under My Pictures. You always start picture projects by creating a file so you know where you've saved everything.
I created a file under the name AuntElizasStar. I find the picture in BlockBase using the Wildcard search (I look for Eliza) and save it as a BMP file.
Here's the button in the new edition---a little ninepatch means save as a BMP file.
I've selected the block and then I click on the BMP (bitmap) button.
In the older edition there's a camera icon up there on the top that means the same thing.
I save the block to my AuntElizasStar file.
Then I use my photo program. I use Photoshop but most photo programs can do this. I open my block picture in the photo program.
I make a new empty picture file that's larger than my star block. Here the empty file is 8x10 inches. The block is 5-1/2" inches. The hardest part is learning to select just parts of the block with a mouse. In Photoshop there is a selection tool called the Polygonal Lasso Tool that allows me to select a part of the block and then drop it into the new file. Above I've selected a part of the star block---the patchwork unit.
Here's how I'd piece the block.
I made the background darker so you could see the block parts.
I flattened the images by removing all the layers and saved it in the AuntElizasStar file as a new JPG named How-To.
And then I added a type layer.
"Make 4 of these"
You could add lots of type layers, like "Connect piece A to piece B. Repeat 4 times."
But patchwork is so visual. I think this explains it better than a lot of words.
Here's a block that could probably use a diagram. Another Nine-X seam line.
This is under Miscellaneous. It's really supposed to be a border block.
It definitely would need an exploded block for the novice piecer.