31 Days to a Handmade Quilt: Piece Two Squares

*Please remind me not to take pictures when it’s dark outside anymore! Didn’t work out so well :)*

And now we get to real quilting: piecing our 9″ squares into large squares. This is the fun part!

You’ll probably want to write down some sort of a diagram of where you’d like your different fabrics placed in your quilt. For a reminder, here’s what mine looks like:

I started with the top left square. I needed a small square from fabrics B, C, D, and E.

I laid them out in the way I wanted them–C and D on the top, B and E on the bottom.

Then I flipped the right squares upside down onto the left squares (so the right sides of the fabrics are hidden–this is called right sides together).

Make sure they’re lined up as precisely as you can. If one piece is a little longer than the other, either trim one or center the shorter one on the longer one. (We’ll trim up all our large squares before we start sewing rows together.)

Pin the edges so they’ll stay put while you transport them to your machine.

There’s a technique called strip piecing that is very handy to use here. I’ll explain it as we go.

Sew a 1/4″ seam down the side of your squares.

When you get almost to the end of the seam, go ahead and put your other set of squares underneath the presser foot. (Don’t overlap it with your fabric that’s under the needle; just slide it right up next to it.)

Keep sewing right over the break (but not a very big break!) and onto the new set of squares.

When you get done, clip your threads at the end, and you’ll see that there’s a place between the sets where you can clip them apart.

Strip piecing saves so much time and wastes less thread from stopping and starting your machine. Love it!

Now go back to your flat surface and open up the pieces you just sewed. Crease them in the middle a little so they lie nice and flat.

Flip the top one upside down onto the bottom one (right sides together again).

Try to make sure one of the back seams is flipped to the right and the other to the left. The pieces will line up a bit better this way. (This was hard to get a photo of!)

Your goal is to have the vertical seams (that you’ve already sewn) line up perfectly on the front. (Easier said than done, by the way.) After you pin it, flip it open and see if they’re lined up. You can also try to feel the seams with your fingers can help you determine if they’re right.

Take this back to the sewing machine and sew another 1/4″ seam down the side.

You’re done with your first quilt square! Open it up and see if the seams match up…did they? (It’s kind of like eating the first cookie off of the pan–did you remember the salt? :) ) How does it look?

If they didn’t quite match up, you can decide whether it’s close enough to live with or whether you’d better take it out. I usually decide it’s close enough to live with :)

Now go do another one. :)

Tomorrow we’ll sew the whole top row–two pieced squares and one full square–together. We’ll be well on our way to a completed quilt top!

As always, please comment with any questions or problems that arise. If you’re sewing along with me, I’d love to see pictures on your blog, or send me a message and I can tell you how to forward me a photo.

(Go to Day 9)


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