Snowball Corners In Quilting – AKA Flippy Corners – Tips & Tricks

Snowball corners or flippy corners are the same things in quilting. It’s one of those regional or maybe generational differences in quilting. On the surface, snowball quilt blocks appear to be a no-brainer thing to do but like a lot of quilting techniques, there are some tricks to getting them to come out right. Have no fear though I’ve got you covered with all the tips and tricks to make your flippy corners come out just perfect.

Learn how to successfully snowball corners on a quilt block.

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Snowball Corners in Quilting

I said that snowball corners and flippy corners are the same things but for simplicity from now on I’m going to refer to them as snowball corners. Just so I don’t confuse myself. lol. Some patterns may just use snowball quilt blocks to make the whole design.

How To Make A Snowball Quilt Block

All patterns that need snowballed corners are going to be pretty straightforward, draw a diagonal line on the squares you are using to snowball the other square or rectangle. You put the square on and sew on the line you drew and that’s where everything goes wrong. Your new block should be the exact same size as the original block but it’s not. Things are just a little off and you’ve already trimmed the excess off the back so you have to start over. And the cycle continues, you are wasting fabric, you’re frustrated, and you probably have a few choice words for the designer of the pattern, yourself, and the world itself.

What Happened?!?!?!?!?!

What happened is the designer made the assumption that you knew the tricks to make a snowball corner. I’m guilty as charged. I sometimes forget the fact that what I take for granted others haven’t been shown and if you haven’t been shown you don’t know what we really mean. Paul reminded me of this when he was testing a pattern for me and things weren’t coming out the right size. He said, “Not everyone has been quilting since they could walk and they didn’t have a mom, two grandmas, an aunt, and an uncle that showed them every trick in the quilting handbook.” YIKES! He was right and I knew I needed to start explaining those little tricks here so others knew them as well. Just think of me as your Auntie Mel in quilting.

How do I fix the mistakes?

If you have already trimmed the excess fabric off there’s really no good way to fix the mistake. In all likelihood your quilt block is off just a tiny bit so you could just roll with it, sliver trimming anything that gets attached to your snowball block, and go on. In the future use the tips below to keep from having mistakes, to begin with.

Tricks For Making Snowball Quilt Blocks

With these tricks and tips in your back pocket your snowball quilt blocks will be perfect every time!!

Draw Thin Lines

If I need to mark on my fabric and those marks aren’t going to be in a seam or cut off I use Crayola Washable Markers otherwise I use InkJoy Gel Pens or a Bohin Pencil. Normally, it’s the pen because I have them laying everywhere and my “good” quilting pencil is in the drawer so I don’t lose it. A good thin line makes sure your stitching is in the right spot.

There are a few different ways to create diagonal lines on fabric- using a washable marker, gel pen, or fabric pencil. Thin lines are key to making snowball corners in quilting.

Sew Next To The Line

I know the pattern said to sew on the line. I know because that’s how I write it in my patterns. It saves space on the pattern page and like I said earlier we assume you know what we mean. What really needs to happen is to sew on the outside of the line you drew. The line is where we want to fold the fabric and if you sew on it we can’t fold the fabric on it. Sewing beside the line gives you that little bit of space you need for the thread and the fold.

Stitch next to line not on the line for the perfect snowball corner, always check coverage before trimming extra fabric off.

Iron Before Cutting

Again, I know, I know the pattern says trim 1/4″ away from the line you drew. Once you trim the excess off you have bias edges to deal with. It won’t be easy to fix any mistakes. If you iron first and make sure everything lines up before cutting you can still fix any mistakes you might have. You have the ability to rip out the seam and start over again. If it does cover fold it flat and trim. Your pressing won’t go away.

Press the square back before cutting off excess fabric to make sure your snowball is lined up correctly.

Patterns That Use Snowball Quilt Blocks

There are so many quilt patterns that use this technique though. Economy or square in a square (another one of those depends on where you are what you call it) can use the snowball technique. Flying geese are another basic quilt unit that can use this method, though flying geese typically are called flippy corners and not snowballed. Sometimes they are used instead of making half-square triangles to cut down on the number of seams in a block.

Make A Snowball Corner

So I know seeing it done sometimes helps more than reading about it so I’ve done a video on the snowball corner.

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Watch this video demonstration on how to make perfect snowball corners for your next quilt project. Learn tips and tricks from expert quilter, Mel, that will help you achieve professional results in no time!

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