Cut one 2 1/2" x width of fabric (42" or more) strip of a cream, white, tone-on-tone or low-volume fabric and one 2 1/2" x width of fabric (42" or more) strip of black. Sew together the longest sides using a 1/4" seam. Press toward the black fabric. this means your seam should be laying underneath the black fabric. Measure to make sure the width is 4 1/2". If it is larger, adjust your seam allowance to be larger. If it is less than 4 1/2", adjust your seam allowance to be smaller (a scant 1/4"). Cut the cream/black strip in half.
Again, sew together the longer sides with black touching cream. Keep the selvage or jagged ends on the same end so fabric lost is minimized.
Cut the end even by lining up the horizontal lines of the ruler with the center seam, rather than the top or bottom raw edge. Crosscut at 6". Pull the larger portion of the fabric aside. Slide the ruler without moving the fabric you are cutting, and cut at 5", 4", 3", 2" and 1". Repeat this process two more times. Then cut three more 1" strips. You should have 21 strips total.
Take 16 of the strips and sew them together in pairs by joining the shorter sides, black to cream, with 1/4" seam (unless you needed to adjust). Press toward the black fabric. You should now have 8 strips.
Again, sew the strips together in pairs by joining the shorter sides, black to cream, with 1/4" seam. Press toward the black fabric. You should now have 4 strips.
Take four more of the 8 1/2" original strips. Add one to each of your longer strips, being careful to adjoin cream to black with a 1/4" seam.
Locate your remaining original strip.
Use a seam ripper to remove the stitching.
Add one 2 1/2" x 1" rectangle to each of your long strips. Attach the 1" side to the 1" end of the strip with right sides together using a 1/4" seam. Make sure black is adjoined to cream and cream is adjoined to black.
You should have four strips that measure 42 1/2" long at this point.
Cut 8 2 1/2" x width of fabric strips of black. Sew the long side of these strips to the top and bottom of the skinny 1" strip you created.