Confession time: for a long time I saw this term thrown around “snowball corners” but did not know what it was. A snowball corner is when you take a small square, place it on a larger square (or rectangle), then sew a perpendicular seam (from corner to corner), then cut 1/4″ from the stitch line and press.
Chances are you have done this lots of times! That’s because snowballing is more of a technique than a specific block, so rarely is it called that in a pattern. Instead you get the instructions for snowballing according to the pattern.
We use the snowball technique in lots of quilting “building” blocks such as flying geese, square in a square, economy blocks, etc. It’s probably one of the most common sewing techniques in quilting – you’ll definitely use it in a few of my patterns!
The snag to snowball corners is that they can be time consuming. Before you can sit down at your sewing machine, you’ll need to mark each of the smaller squares used in the corners. If you were making my Joyful Stars pattern, that would mean marking 128 squares. That’s a lot of squares, and I don’t know about you but ain’t nobody got time for that! haha
Thankfully, there is a shortcut you can use to speed up the whole sewing process – The Diagonal Tape Method.
Quick disclaimer: This post and video are meant to show you this shortcut and I’m stitching as called for in my Joyful Stars pattern, but keep in mind that if you are making a different pattern (another of mine or by another designer) you will need to place the snowball square and stitch in the direction your pattern tells you to do so.
The Diagonal Tape Method
Instead of drawing a diagonal line on the wrong side of your smaller squares, reach for your washi or masking tape.
Place a piece of washi or masking tape and place the long edge of the tape centered with your needle. I like to use a ruler to ensure my tape is nice and straight.
Place your small square on the corner of your larger square (or rectangle) as required by the pattern. Make sure your smaller square is flush with the edges of the larger square.
Line up the two diagonal points on your square with the edge of the tape.
Slowly feed your fabric through, making sure the bottom point of the square is following the edge of the tape as you feed it through.
Trim 1/4″ away from the sewn line. Press seam.
If you want to see this method in action, check out the video below. I include my favorite trick for trimming multiple snowball corners at once at the end!