1. Home
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

Janet Wickell



Follow me on:

Strip Piecing Troubleshooting Advice

Monday April 21, 2014

I recently had a comment on my quilting Facebook page about an error in a pattern, but the pattern is correct. Let's talk about the problem the quilter encountered, because I suspect it happens to many beginners.

The pattern asks quilters to sew five 2" wide strips of fabric side by side and press. After that, one end of the strip set (the long patchwork unit that was just created) is squared up. Starting from the squared up end, the instructions say to cut as many 8-inch segments from the strip set as possible to create 8" squares.

Strip Quilting InstructionsThe quilter was unhappy with the 8" length, stating that it was a waste of fabric because the segments should be 7-1/2" long. Let's examine why 8" is indeed the correct length.

  • Each of the inner three 2" strips has a quarter inch seam along both sides, making those strips each 1-1/2" wide in the completed strip set.
  • Each of the two outer strips has a seam along only an inner edge, making those strips 1-3/4" wide.
  • 1-1/2" x 3 = 4-1/2" in width, and 1-3/4" x 2 = 3-1/2" in width (the slight differences in width are visible in the photo above, although the strip sets are from a different pattern).
  • Add 4-1/2" to 3-1/2" and you'll get 8", the length to cut a segment -- and the width of the strip set.

Why did the quilter's segments only measure 7-1/2" across? A few possibilities:

  • Seams may have been wider than 1/4", 'eating' some of the strip width.
  • Pressing may not have been adequate.
  • Strips might have been slightly narrower than 2".
  • A combination of errors could have occurred.

Even small discrepancies are compounded when several seams are present in a piece of patchwork.  It's very important to set up your sewing machine to sew an accurate 1/4" seam allowance, to press carefully but thoroughly, and to take care when cutting strips of fabric. Measure as you go to make sure that your patchwork's dimensions are correct, and always make sample blocks before cutting all of the fabric for a quilt, because all pattern designers (including me) do make mistakes sometimes.

Tudor Rose Quilt Block Pattern

Sunday April 20, 2014

Tudor Rose Quilt Block PatternTudor Rose finishes at 14-inches square, a bit larger than some quilt blocks. My layout doesn't use the contrast typically seen for Tudor Rose, because I wanted the darker parts of the quilt block to blend somewhat where they meet. I repeated the fabric used for corner triangles in the small squares, hoping to make the darker areas appear to float above the light, and included cutting instructions for another method that will increase the float.

As always, change the colors and values to suit your own style.

Tudor Rose Quilt Block Pattern

How to Make Interlocking Chains Quilt Blocks

Thursday April 17, 2014

Interlocking Chains Quilt Block PatternInterlocking Chains can be customized in any way you wish, and each block is sewn with just three contrasting fabrics. My blocks have chains against a light background, but bright quilting fabrics against black would be stunning. A pure white background would give the design a very contemporary feel.

Interlocking Chains is quick pieced -- I've altered its traditional dimensions just a bit to allow easy rotary cutting. Not a template in sight!

Interlocking Chains Quilt Block Pattern ->

Contrary Wife Quilt Block Pattern

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Contrary Wife Quilt Block PatternContrary Wife is a nine patch quilt block that finishes at 12" x 12". It's easy to make, and you can experiment with color and color value to create a block that's either vibrant or subdued. My quilt block definitely falls into the 'subdued' category -- I was experimenting with a border stripe fabric. Choose completely different fabrics to customize your own quilt blocks.

Contrary Wife Quilt Block Pattern

Red Light Green Light, an Easy Quilt Pattern

Monday April 14, 2014

Red Light Green Light QuiltLike other quilts, Red Light Green Light can be personalized in so many ways. I love florals, and can see it as a 'watercolor' style quilt, where the florals melt into each other. And batiks would be perfect, too. Simply change the fabrics to customize the pattern.

Elaine made the quilt for her grandson, and added a set of toy automobiles. The quilt's 'roads' are perfect pathways for the little cars. A portion of Elaine's quilt is shown here, and a corner is folded over to show a bit of the embroidery work she added to the backing.

The quilt finishes at about 59" x 79", and straight grain pieces of fabric help make it easy to assemble, since there are no stretchy bias edges.

Red Light Green Light Quilt Pattern

New quilters might want to read a few important tutorials before working on the quilt:

Sew a Batch of Scrappy Basket Quilt Blocks

Friday April 11, 2014

may basket quilt block These scrappy basket quilt blocks are filled with brightly colored 'flowers' created with half square triangle units. Choose brown for your basket bases and cream or tan for the background, just to keep those elements a bit neutral, and then use colorful bits of fabric to sew the flowers.

Scrap Basket Quilt Block Pattern

Basket block made by Terri55

What Do You Sew Most During the Summer Months?

Friday April 11, 2014

What types of quilting projects are of most interest during the summer? I'd sure appreciate your input as I plan upcoming patterns. I'm sure interested in patterns for totes, and quilted patterns suitable for electronics, but are you? Do leave a comment if you are looking for other types of quilting projects.

Create an Easy Arbor Windows Quilt

Friday April 11, 2014

Quilt PatternsArbor Windows is a quilt that's sewn by alternating two different versions of the same patchwork quilt block within its 35-block layout. The quilt finishes at about 77" x 95" as shown, but it's easy to alter its dimensions by sewing more or fewer quilt blocks, or by adjusting either the width or number of borders.

At first glance, it appears as if the quilt includes quarter square triangle units, but it does not -- that patchwork is formed at block corners when blocks are sewn together.

Change the colors in any way you wish, because Arbor Windows will work with any theme.

Create an Easy Arbor Windows Quilt ->

Dawn's Light Baby Quilt Pattern

Thursday April 10, 2014

Baby Quilt Patterns

Dawn's Light is sewn with two variations of two different quilt blocks -- framed four patches and mirror image pinwheels. The pinwheel blocks aren't made with half square triangle units. Instead, the method you'll use creates automatic setting triangles around the spin.

This photo shows a portion of the Dawn's Light baby quilt -- a pic of the entire quilt would look a bit squished in a small space.

Dawn's Light Baby Quilt Pattern

Capital T Quilt Block Pattern

Wednesday April 9, 2014

capital t quiltI love how a mixture of paisley fabrics looks when placed against a neutral background, and think their lovely swirls are a natural for this version of the Capital T quilt block pattern. But the layout works with any theme, orderly or scrappy, so choose fabrics and colors you love.

Another option is to make a reverse Capital T quilt block by swapping light fabrics for darks and dark fabrics for lights.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.