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Top 10 Tips for New Quilters – Quick Piecing Techniques

Posted on: September 14th, 2014 by Lorna McMahon

Welcome to this week’s installment of the Top 10 Tips for new quilters.  Today’s topic is Quick Piecing Techniques.  For the complete line up of weekly tips, please see this page.


Chain Piecing Technique

Chain Piecing is one of the most basic time saving methods.  This method involves lining up your sets and sewing without cutting the threads between units.

Line up your pairs of pieces beside your machine.  In this case, my pieces are equilateral triangles.

Feed your pieces under the presser foot, keeping the units close together.

Keep feeding the pieces into your machine until you have a chain of pieces behind your machine.  Cut the thread between the last two units, leaving one sewn piece under the back of the presser foot.

The chain piecing method makes it easy to transport your sewn units to the ironing board without messing up the order of your sets.

Not only does chain piecing save time – it also saves thread. Clip the thread between units prior to pressing.

Interested in making your own equilateral triangle quilt?
  Check out these cutting and piecing tutorials!

Strip Piecing Technique

Strip Piecing is another great way to save time and achieve accuracy.

Using width of fabric (WOF) strips, cut along the crosswise grain, sew them together along the entire length.  For this sample, my strips were 2″ wide.

Press the seams.  For more on pressing seams, please see this page.

Remove the selvage end and cut the strip into 2″ wide units.

This method can be used for blocks such as this simple 4 patch block.

Using pairs of the units cut from your strip piecing, chain piece the pairs together.

Remove the chain of sewn units and transport them to your ironing board.

Cut the units apart and press the seams.

And here is your humble 4 patch block.

Which can lead to the making of this precious “County Lanes” quilt.  This quilt is made using your 4 patches and some strip pieced cross units.

Strip piecing can also be used for 9 patch blocks.  This time use three WOF strips in blue/white/blue and three WOF strips in white/blue/white.  Cut the strip pieced lengths into 2″ widths and arrange as shown.

For this sample, I pressed the seams to the dark side.

Pressing seams to the dark side will help your seams to “nest” when you sew your units together.

The completed 9 patch block.

Once you have tried the strip piecing method, this opens the door to so many other wondrous options such as:  St. Louis 16 Patch, Irish Chain, Checkerboard, Scrappy Trip Around the World, Easy-Peasy Log Cabin, Rail Fence, Granny Square, Lone Star

Did I miss any?  I am sure you can think of others!!!  Let me know in the comments!

SUPER TIP:  Looking for another way to save time?  Try this No Waste Flying Geese tutorial today!

Hope you enjoyed this week’s tips on quick piecing techniques.
Do you have any tips to share?  Leave a comment!

Keep On Quilting On!

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14 Responses

  1. Vicki says:

    Wow, do I ever agree with chain piecing. I always feel like I'm getting away with something when I chain piecing.

  2. margaret says:

    such useful tips here and you share them so clearly even i can understand, many many thanks for these blogs you are doing for us learners/beginners

  3. Kay says:

    Thanks for sharing, the photos are especially useful to get an idea of how things are done.

  4. Kaja says:

    This is a great series – even if you're not a beginner it's easy to forget stuff. I should chain piece when I can, but definitely needed the reminder!

  5. Vicki in MN says:

    I would do just like you are doing, great pic's Lorna.

  6. Lara B. says:

    You did a wonderful job explaining all this Lorna. All great time savers and tips!

  7. Martha says:

    Great series Lorna. I don't do chain piecing as often as I should. I keep forgetting 🙂 but yesterday I gave it a go and it is such a time saver. Thank you for reminding us.

  8. Unknown says:

    A tip for strip piecing, if you have a pattern that calls for one row to be light then dark and then the next row to be dark then light and you are using a directional print, when you make your strips sew some with the directional print on the right and some of the strips with the directional print on the left. That way when you lay out our quilt you'll have blocks of both light/dark, dark/light and with the directional print pointing the correct way.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am in love with quilting, so many beautiful things, I am new on this, thanks for the great tutorial.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I love your blog.

  11. I'm always sad if I can't find a way to chain piece! It makes everything go so much faster:) A great tip!

  12. Jo Ferguson says:

    I always say that I learn something from every quilter I meet. You are teaching me A LOT!!!! Thank you.

  13. Linda says:

    I love to chain piece whenever I can !!! I did when making my elephants!