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Learn How to Make a String Quilt

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What Is a String Quilt?
String Quilting

An assortment of strings ready to be sewn. Some, like the red strip in the foreground, have been cut at an angle.

© Janet Wickell

What Is a String Quilt?

It's easy to learn how to make string quilts, which are assembled using a simple type of foundation piecing. The technique is also called string piecing and string quilting. If a quit pattern or description includes the word strings, it usually refers to this method.

String quilting gets its name from the long strips of fabric that are used to make a quilt... the strings. Fabric strings are sewn (often very randomly) to a permanent foundation, such as muslin. You can use another fabric for the foundation if you like, or a thinner material, even prints, but choose something that won't show through the strings after the blocks are assembled.

String quilts likely originated as a make do technique created by budget conscious quilters, because the method is a perfect way to use leftover scraps of fabric. The technique is still a great way to use quilting scraps, but today's quilters often purchase fabrics just so they can cut them into strings.

String Piecing Tips

  • Strings needn't be straight strips of fabric; cut some with angled edges to create variety.
  • Don't worry about fabric grain placement, because the strings are permanently stabilized when sewn to the foundation.
  • Forget about trying to match fabrics; string quilts are charming when assembled from a wide assortment of colors and fabric styles.
  • Choose quilting fabrics in many color values.
  • Strings can be any width, and for the most interesting results their widths should differ. I typically cut strips that are 1-1/4" to 2-1/2" wide for 8" or larger blocks; narrower widths for smaller blocks and miniatures.

String piecing is a free-form quilt making method, so you do not need to mark a pattern onto foundations. Instead, you'll simply position strips, sew a seam, flip the strip right side up, and then add another. It's super simple, but there are so many ways to string piece that the results are never boring.

Examples of String Quilts

Related Video
String a Christmas Popcorn Garland
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