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Learn How to Make a String Quilt


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How to Make a String Quilt Block
string piecing, quilting

Left: first string right side up; Right: second string right side down

© Janet Wickell

Foundations for String Piecing

I like to use muslin as a foundation for my string quilt blocks, but you can use any pre-washed cotton fabric you have on hand as long as it will not show through your strings after they are sewn. Some quilters save worn out sheets to make their foundations. You can also use interfacing or another similar material that will remain in the quilt.

Threads for String Quilts

Medium gray or beige cotton thread blends well with nearly any fabric. Give one of those colors a try when you make a string quilt.

Cut Oversized Foundations

Choose a finished size and add 1" to it's length and width -- that's 1/2" more than the would be used for a traditional quilting seam allowance. String quilt blocks often become distorted a bit during assembly, so making them slightly larger than necessary gives you the opportunity to square the blocks up to the perfect size after assembly.

  1. Cut a 9" x 9" fabric square.
  2. Choose a string that's long enough to cover the foundation when positioned diagonally, from one corner to another. Place it slightly off-center along the diagonal, right side up.
  3. Secure the string with a straight pin or simply hold it in place. Place another string on top of it, right side down and aligning one of its edges with either edge of the first string. The ends of the second string must stretch past the edges of your block, because when it's sewn and flipped right side up it will "lose" a bit of length on each end.

    If you're working with long strings, you can cut them to an approximate size now, or wait until after they are sewn and flipped into place.

  4. Sew the strings together along the aligned edge.
  5. Flip string 2 right side up and press. Turn the block over and trim long tails close to the foundation (you can wait to trim, but I find it helps to judge where the foundation ends).

You have a little extra block size to play with, so don't panic if the second string is slightly short of the edge when flipped into place.


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