The 54-40 or Fight quilt block is one of my favorites and I have created a variety of calculators for quilts, potholders, coasters and mug rugs. Each of the calculators will give you many variations of finished block size, number or blocks and even methods of making the 54-40 or Fight block, but here is a quick reference…
|Unit Method||Special Ruler|
|Strip Width by Finished Block Size|
|Peaky & Spike||Spike||4||2½||3½||4½||5½||6½|
The most challenging part of making the 54-40 or Fight block is making the Peaky and Spike units (a name coined by Doreen Speckmann). My preference is to use templates and cut the pieces from strips that blunt the triangle points, but you can use special rulers or cut the spike triangles from rectangles or whatever method you choose.
After the pieces are cut, aligning them to sew can also be tricky with those odd angles. Many years ago, I learned a tip that applies to almost any template piecing. Cut out the templates you’ll be using and draw the ¼ inch seam allowance on all sides. Next take the pieces and match them up together as if to sew them and being sure to match points and edges (a light box or bright window will help see through). Usually there are pieces of the template which can be trimmed to the edge of the other template, so cut that sliver off on template, then on cut fabric pieces and you will have a marker to match up fabric pieces to sew. This will save you from either eyeballing and having things not line up well or marking each individual fabric piece.
Learning the template trimming method, totally changed my opinion about using templates in cutting fabric pieces. I also have become more willing to do more complicated blocks. I have not, however, learned to embrace foundation paper piecing, but never say never.