It’s time for Block 3 in the BlockBase+ Sew Along! Thanks again to everyone who shared their blocks on Friday. If you haven’t added your second block to the link up yet, you can do so at any time in the Block 2 Link Up post.

Don’t have the BlockBase+ software yet? It’s not too late to join in! Here on the blog, click Categories > Sew Alongs > BlockBase+ Sew Along 2021 to find all the posts and catch up. Find the BlockBase+ software here >

In this post, we’ll take a look at the Search features available in BlockBase+. Then we’ll go through the steps of printing the Foundation Pattern. Let’s get started!

  1. Double-click the BlockBase+ icon to open the software.
  2. If you see the Getting Started window, click the Close button. (If you’d like to turn off the tour, check the box next to “Don’t show again” and then click Close.)

For the first two sew along blocks, we used the Navigation Panel to find the Category & Subcategory of the block. This time we’ll use the Search features of BB+ to find our block. There are four ways to search for blocks in BB+. Because we are searching for a specific block for this sew along (which I know the Brackman ID number for ;-) ), the quickest way to find the block is to use the Brackman ID Number search. Let’s explore the other three options first.

  1. Click the Search button at the top of the Navigation Panel.
  2. Click the Published Name button. You can search for a block by name or keyword using this search option.
  3. The block we’re sewing this time has the word “treasure” in one of the published names. Type treasure in the box and click the Search button.
  4. In the Block Viewer, you’ll see all the blocks that include the word “treasure” in one of the Published Names. (But I’m not telling you which one we’re actually sewing yet!)
  5. In the Search panel on the left, click the Category button. There are many categories and subcategories to choose from here. The more categories you choose, the narrower your search results become (and the fewer blocks you’ll see).

    BlockBase+ will search for blocks that match ALL the categories you’ve checked. You could check the boxes for Beginner, Rotary Cutting Friendly, and Chains and find blocks that fit all of that criteria. However, if you checked Beginner and Advanced, you will receive a “No search results” message because it’s not possible for a block to be both Beginner and Advanced.
  6. Click Design Categories to see the list of options available.
  7. Check the box for Nine Patch Stars. You may need to use the vertical scrollbar to the right of the list to see this option.
  8. Click the Search button.
  9. In the Block Viewer, you’ll see all the blocks that have been marked for the Nine Patch Stars category. At the top of the viewer, you’ll see that there are 63 blocks in this search. Remember that you can use the vertical scrollbar to the right of the viewer to see more blocks.
  10. Click the Source button. A block’s source is the earliest known source for the pattern name associated with it. All of the sources are listed in the panel.
  11. Scroll through the list in the panel and click on a source name to see the search results, just to see how this feature works.

Now that’ we’ve tried the other search options, let’s use the Brackman ID search to find the block we’re sewing this time. What’s a Brackman ID number? All the blocks in BlockBase+ come from Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns book. As she was cataloging blocks for her book, she found that the same block can be known by many different names. Barbara choose to assign ID numbers to each block, rather simply picking one of the names a block was published under. If you have the Encyclopedia and are looking for a block that you’ve found in the book, the quickest way to find the block in BB+ is to search by the Brackman ID.

  1. Click the Brackman ID button.
  2. Type 1638 in the box and click Search.
  3. We could go ahead and print from this search view. But let’s take a look at where this block lives in the Categories and Subcategories. Above the Block Toolbar, click the View in Library tab.
  4. The screen will switch to the Library view, with the 09 Equal Nine Patch > 03 Like Ohio Star category selected in the Navigation Panel. And the 1638 block is selected in the Block Viewer.
  5. Now we can print our pattern and get to sewing! In the Block Toolbar, click Print > Foundation Pattern.
  6. In the Print Foundation window, you’ll see there are more options than the other two printouts we’ve used so far. There are four tabs in this window. On Windows computers (which is what I’m using for these illustrations), the tabs are on the left side of the window. On Mac computers, the tabs are along the top of the window. We’re starting on the Print Options tab.
  7. I’ll be using the Default block size (the default size for this blocks is 9″). If you want to change the size, click Custom block size and type a new size.

    Note: The Finished Block Size is the size of the block after all the seams have been sewn (including the seams on all four sides of the block). BB+ adds the seam allowance for you in the printout.
  8. The Seam Allowance is set to the standard quarter-inch (0.25″) that most quilters use. You can type in a new width if you’d like to change the seam allowance. You also have the option to set the seam allowance to a dashed line or a solid line. Or you can turn off the seam allowance altogether.
  9. Mirroring is ON by default for foundations. Because you stitch your fabric to the opposite side of the printed pattern, you’ll want mirroring on so the block is oriented correctly when finished. Not important for this symmetrical block, but good to be aware of for future blocks.
  10. Under Printing Options, we’ll use all the default settings.
  11. Click the Sections tab. Each section is defined by a different color, so you can see that this block can be pieced in five sections.
  12. You can change the way a block is sectioned. To clear all the sections, click the Clear Sections button. All of the patches will turn white.
  13. To create new sections, click on the patches you’d like in a section and they will turn gray.
  14. When all the patches that you’d like in a section are gray, click the Group button. Or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+G (Windows) or Cmd+G (Mac). The section will turn to a color.
  15. Continue clicking on patches and grouping them until the entire block has been sectioned. If you accidentally click the wrong patch while sectioning, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click on the patch to remove it from the group.

    Note: The alternative way I sectioned the block above results in more sections than the original. So I wouldn’t actually want to piece the block this way, but we’re doing this for practice!
  16. Click the Piecing Order tab. The Piecing Order refers to the letters assigned to each section. If you’d like to change the order, click the Change Order button and then click on each section in the order you’d like the letters to appear.
  17. Click the Numbers tab. The numbers on the patches indicate the sewing order for each section.
  18. To change numbers, click the Change Numbers button.
  19. All of the numbers will turn gray. Click on a patch to start the numbering sequence. The number will turn black and the rest of the patches in that section will renumber to show the suggested numbering. In the illustration below, I clicked on the square patch to start the numbering for the D section in the center, rather than on the left triangle in the section.
  20. If you agree with the numbers appearing in gray, no further action is needed. Or, you can continue clicking on all the patches in the order you plan to sew them until all the numbers are black. If you accidentally click the wrong patch while numbering, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click on the patch to remove it from the sequence.
  21. Now that we’ve experimented with sectioning and numbering the block ourselves, let’s take a look at the printout. Click the Preview button.
  22. On the Print Preview screen, you can see how the changes we made on the Sections, Piecing Order, and Numbers tabs affect the foundation printout.
  23. If you like the way you’ve re-sectioned and re-numbered this block, you can move the sections on the pages and print. I prefer the originally sectioning for the block, so the next few steps will reset the block to the original sectioning before printing.
  24. Click the Close button in the Print Preview.
  25. Click the Close button in the Print Foundation window.
  26. With the 1638 block still selected in the Block Viewer, click Print > Foundation Pattern again.
  27. On the Print Options tab, double-check your settings. I’m making the default block size, so I can leave the settings as they are. If you’re making the block a different size, be sure to change the size again.
  28. Click the Preview button.
  29. On the Print Preview screen, you’ll see the block is back to the original five sections. Make sure there is a check in the 1″ Scale Square box.
  30. You can move and rotate sections in the print preview, just like we did with the templates for Block 2.
  31. When you have the foundations arranged the way you’d like, you can click the Print button. If you don’t want to print right now, click the Close button.
  32. After printing or closing, click the Close button in the Print Foundation window.
  33. Remember that we’re adding all of our Sew Along blocks to the Favorites view. With block 1638 still selected in the block viewer, click Add to Favorites in the Block toolbar.
  34. At the top of the Navigation panel, click the Favorites button.
  35. Now you’ll see our three Sew Along blocks in the Favorites view. If you want to come back later and print a different type of printout for this block, you can quickly find it here in the Favorites.
  36. If you’re done working in BlockBase+, you can close the program by clicking the X at the top or clicking File > Quit BlockBase+.

Notes Before You Start Sewing:

  • You can make the block any size you like.
  • You can be creative in your coloring of the block. Just keep the seams/patches in the same orientation as the BB+ block.
  • I showed you how to print the foundations for the block. But I realize that most quilters would prefer to use the rotary cutting chart for these easy-to-cut patches. The purpose of this lesson was to show you how to use the Foundation printout options. If you’d prefer to piece the block using a different technique (rotary cutting chart or templaetes), feel free to print those patterns instead. For help with other types of printouts, visit our support site.
  • There will be a new post here on the blog on Friday, May 7 where you can post a photo of your sewn block.


Let’s get to know each other in the comments! I love reading everyone’s comments (even if I can’t respond to every comment!). I hope you all enjoy getting to know each other this way too. Here’s my question for this post–

Here at EQ, we’re making plans for our fall EQ Academy classes, which has me thinking– What’s your favorite quilting class that you’ve attended (in-person, or online)? I’ll start–
If I’m at a quilt show, I’m probably working, so I don’t have the chance to attend many in-person classes. My absolute favorite online classes were all the Craftsy free motion quilting classes taught by Christina Cameli. I love her style and find watching her free motion quilt so relaxing!

Block 3 Video

The steps in the video are the same as the steps listed above. So you can follow the written steps above, or watch the video lesson for Block 3.