Letha's Electric Fan, Vintage Block Quilt Along #4

Here you will find block #4 in the Vintage Block Quilt Along!

This is one of my favorite depression era blocks right up there with the Rose Dream block!
It is made from 4 arcs and 1 appliqued circle.

Block #4
Letha’s Electric Fan, Kansas City Star, circa 1938
by Charise Randell

This pattern is for a 12" finished / 12  1/2" unfinished block

F8 background fabric
4” square fabric for center circle
20 - 3” squares - different prints.  This is also a great project for scraps.  The pieces should be at least ¼” bigger that the individual wedges on Pattern Piece B - Arc.

 Other Supplies:
Card stock
Light weight copy paper or Vellum
Freezer paper
Spray Starch
Matching thread
C-thru ruler
Fabric marking pencil or pen

*Change your stitch length to 18-20 stitches per inch when paper piecing the arcs
*Make sure your test square on the pattern page measures 1”

Download the Pattern HERE
Cut 4 Arcs from lt wt copy paper or vellum
Cut 1 circle from freezer paper or card stock
Cut pattern pieces A & C from card stock

Cut the Fabric
Cut 4 Pattern Piece A Background Fabric
Cut 4 Pattern Piece C Background Fabric
Cut 1 Circle from your desired print fabric for the center circle

Mark the notches
Mark the notches on pieces A and C

 Lay out the block

1)  Arrange the arcs as the finished block.  Pick the fabrics and arrange in a layout to your liking.

 Paper piece the arcs
I paper pieced the arcs to insure accuracy and I find this is the easiest method for me.  ***If you’d rather create these from a template, photocopy an arc (B) onto card stock.  Add ¼” seam allowance to one of the wedges and cut out as your pattern piece.***

1)  Place one of your fabric squares or fabric scraps on the wrong (unprinted side) of the arc making sure to cover the first wedge.  The fabric right side will be facing you. Make sure there is at least ¼” fabric around the perimeter of the wedge.  Hold the paper arc up to the light to help positon the fabric.

Pin in place.
2) Place the next fabric square right sides together with the first and pin in place.
3) Flip the paper arc over so the printed side is facing you.  Stitch on the first line.
4) Finger press the seam.  Fold back the paper arc on the next line and trim the second square to 1/4" beyond the line.  This is your seam allowance.
5) Continue steps #2 - 5 until the arc is complete.
Repeat this process for the other three arcs.

You should have 4 arcs.  Mine are created with scraps thus the scraggly edges : )
6) Using a water soluble fabric pen or pencil, mark a 1/4" seam allowance around the arc and cut out. Repeat for the remaining three arcs.
Sew 1/4 of the Block

1) Place one of your arcs, inside curved edge, to the curved side of piece C, right sides together.  Match the notches on C to the seams on the arc.
Pin at the seams.  Notice how the convex edge, which is bias, is placed on top.  This makes it easier to stitch since you can slightly stretch the edge as your are sewing. Stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance. Press the seam toward the arc.

2) Place the  curved side of piece A to the outside curved edge of the arc, right sides together.  Pin at the seams matching the notches on A to the seams on B. Stitch with a 1/4" seam. 

Press the seam towards the arc.
Repeat for the other three sections of the block.

Stitch the Block together

1) Referring to the picture above, place the individual sections as you would like your finished block to look.

2) Place the top left to the bottom left portion, matching the seams on the arcs as the picture, right sides together.  Pin in place.  Stitch with a 1/4" stitch.

Continue around the block in the order as the picture above.

Create the Center Circle

1) Iron the freezer paper circle to the center of the back fabric circle.

2) Hand stitch a gathering stitch around the perimeter of the circle.

3) Turn the fabric circle over and pull up the gathering stitch.
Place a q-tip or small brush in the starch.  Apply the starch to the seam allowance.
Carefull iron the seam allowance over the edge of the freezer paper circle.

4) Loosen the gathering stitch and remove the freezer paper circle.  You should have a perfect circle!
Turn to the right side and press.

5) Position the circle on the center of the block using the template as a guide.
Stitch in place.

Yay!!!  You have completed Block #4 - Letha's Electric Fan

If you make this block, please add it to my Vintage Block Quilt Along Group on Flickr!


  1. What a cute fan and such a great way to demonstrate paper piecing!!

  2. congrats! what a 'sweet' block -- i really love vintage!

  3. This block is adorable -- it looks so modern, too -- I would have guessed 1950s. Thanks for the VERY clear paper-piecing tutorial, by the way!

  4. I love this block and can't wait to start. Must finish my Beggar's Block first, but nearly there. I love the fabrics you used here! And what is that darling little deer print please? Once again, thank you for generously sharing your beautiful vintage patterns :)

  5. Oh this will be fun...okay, I've printed everything out...now to select my "fan blades". Thanks for posting these, they are fun!

  6. Oh, that's a very cool block! I haven't seen that one before. It looks like it could be used in so many ways. Your appliqued circle is so circular too--hard to do!

  7. One of my all time favourite vintage blocks- once I am through a little stuff here, I will be feet first into your blocks!

  8. Lovely! What an unusual looking block. Maybe created shortly after the time towns were named "Progress?" Thanks for the fabulous instructions too! the circle looks daunting, but with your description, doable.

  9. Such a lovely block ~ I've really got to get a move on and do the all blocks. Thanks so much for the tutorial on how to make it!

  10. Love this block, Charise. I have a few things to finish and then I am going to play catch up with these blocks.

  11. Yay! I've been waiting to see what the new block would be! As soon as I finish binding my mom's quilt this week I am going to get started on these beautiful blocks! I am so excited!


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