Monday, October 6, 2014

Getting it all together! Sewing quilt blocks together tutorial

How to sew all of your quilt blocks together - accurately, and without using pins. 
A friend of mine, Wanda over at Exuberant Color taught me this method years ago.  She has many tutorials on her excellent blog, including one on this subject, but I thought I'd try creating a tutorial of my own.
Step 1 - Lay out all of your blocks for your quilt, either on the bed, or the floor, or on your design wall. Then, take all of the blocks in the far left vertical row and put them in a stack, with the top row block on top of the stack. Are you with me so far? (sorry forgot to take a picture of that! top photo shows blocks sewn together)

Step 2 - Here are my vertical rows, carefully pinned together.  I place the pins at the top edge of the blocks, so I remember the orientation.  And since I have to remember when is Row 1, Row 2, and so on, I just use that number of pins.  You could label them any way you wish, but just do it!

Step 3 - Sitting at your sewing machine, start sewing together the top block from Row 1, and the top block from Row 2, right sides together.  Here is Row 2 waiting patiently. Continue until you have chain-pieced all the blocks from Row 2 onto all the blocks from Row 1, top to bottom. No pressing yet.

Step 4 - Start adding the Row 3 blocks, starting with the top row. Above - the first block of Row 3 in place, as it will look in the quilt. To sew to the block at the left, flip it over to the left, like you're turning a page in a book.

Step 5 - This shows after I've flipped that first block over, and lined up the edges - ready to sew.  Lower the presser foot and the needle and take a few stitches, stopping with the needle down.  Then I grasp the other end of the blocks and hold tightly, and sew to the other edge.  This will ease in anything that needs easing! (notice, no pins!)

Step 6 - Keep adding vertical rows of blocks, top of the quilt to the bottom.  Don't cut those little chains of thread between the horizontal rows!

Can you see the thread chain between the horizontal rows?

Step 7 - After all of the vertical rows are assembled, go over to the ironing board.  Press the seams in opposing directions, as shown.  NOTE: Although I am showing you the wrong side in the photo above, I always press from the right side, for the best accuracy and appearance.
Step 8 - Sew all of the horizontal seams.  For this, you can use the same "no pinning" method, or you can pin to match the seams.  The fact that you pressed the seams in opposite directions makes it easy to match the seams and sew accurately.  Sorry I don't have  a picture of this step.  Then I press the horizontal seams either all up, or all down - so I can sew the two parts of the quilt together easily, and those seams just nestle together nicely. 

This is the first section of my zigzag quilt, assembled and pressed.  I decided to sew it in two sections, and then I will sew the two large sections together.
I hope this makes sense, and that you will try this method.  It works for small blocks, like in this quilt, or  of course for a quilt with larger blocks.  It also works with a quilt block with many pieces, like a 16-patch block.  


Brenda said...

I think this is called webbing the top. I use this method all the time. some of my friends have made fabric tags with numbers on them to pin on, or other folks cut up calendar squares to use.I like your multiple pinning method.

Rachaeldaisy said...

I'll have to try this one day, it sounds so organised and efficient.

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