create a social justice quilt block

You don’t have to be an artist or sewing expert to create a social justice quilt square to be in one of our community quilts. It’s not complicated to make -- it doesn’t matter if you piece it, use fine needlework, iron-on transfers or even hand made appliqués.

Here are a few easy steps to create a social justice quilt block:


1. design the block

We invite you to design a quilt block to convey your passion, anger, or sadness about an issue that concerns you. Your work can be either positive (encouraging and unifying), or negative (portraying anger, sadness or discouragement). Draw it on a blank piece of paper so you can determine colors and shapes you will need out of fabric! Possible themes include:

  • Immigration
  • Climate change
  • Black Lives Matter/racism
  • Sexual violence/sexual assault
  • Equal rights/equal pay for women
  • Women’s reproductive rights
  • LGBT rights/gay marriage
  • Educational Equity
  • White nationalism/supremacy
  • Income disparity
  • Freedom of religion and worship/religious discrimination
  • Gun control/gun violence

2. choose your materials


Remember that the community quilt is folded and unfolded every time it is displayed, so durability is crucial. Since glue deteriorates with time, it is best to always sew things to your block. A medium-weight, non-stretch fabric such as a cotton or poplin works best.

Your design can be vertical or horizontal, but the finished block must be no more than 15 inches by 15 inches – no more and no less! When you cut the fabric, leave an extra 2-3 inches on each side for a hem. If you can’t square it yourself, we’ll do it for you. 


3. create the block

In constructing your block you might want to use some of the following techniques:

  • Applique: Sew fabric, letters and small mementos onto the background fabric. Do not rely on glue – it won’t last.

  • Stencils: Trace your design onto the fabric with a pencil, lift the stencil, then use embroidery floss to sew the design onto your block with thread..

  • Photos: The best way to include photos or letters is to photocopy them onto fabric iron-on transfers, iron them onto 100% cotton fabric and sew that fabric to the panel. You may also put the photo in clear plastic vinyl and sew it to the panel (off-center so it avoids the fold).

  • Piecing: You can sew and construct your block entirely out of a pieced design.

Ship your block: SJSA
P.O. Box 2473, Antioch, CA 94531

It will be in our upcoming community quilt!