Have you ever wanted to piece a quilt block with many pieces that needed to go in a specific order? Until I started to make a pixelated quilt, I had mostly been able to remember where pieces went and sew them together. Not as easy when your block is comprised of all 2 1/2” squares! Now that I’ve made quite a few of these blocks, I wanted to share one way to chain piece these blocks while keeping them in order.
First, it is crucial to check your 1/4” seam allowance before you start piecing and anytime you have to come back to the project. Since I need to adjust my needle position to achieve a consistent seam allowance, I have written down my specific settings on a tiny piece of paper taped to my machine so I don’t forget.
Layout your pieces according to the pattern. Please take care to check your layout a couple of times. It’s the same principle as measure twice, cut once.
I take my block and set it next to my sewing machine. Initially, I put the block on top of a white project board (as seen below) to keep the block together but it got a bit bulky. Now I use my rotating rotary cutter.
Sew together the two left side pairs by placing the top left square right sides together with the second column square and sewing them together. Without cutting your threads, sew the second fabric in the first column to the second fabric in the second column. Don’t cut your threads between the rows. Continue sewing the entire column and cut your thread at the very end of the column.
Repeat with the third and fourth column pair to create the center column. (I’m starting my center column in the picture with my sewing machine.) I also don’t press between steps. I make all of the columns and then iron after they are done.
Repeat with the fifth and sixth column pair to create the third right column. Each new column should consist of a pair of squares together. By keeping the threads together, you know what order the squares should stay in. You should have three columns.
Now you are going to sew the columns together. Take the first newly made column and place it right sides together with the second column. Sew together. Again, do not cut the threads in between the squares. The thread is holding together the squares so you know what order they should stay in.
Sew the newly formed column (made up of four squares) to the third column (made up of two squares).
I now press my columns. To illustrate the thread holding together the columns, I took this picture on top of my ironing board. You could press your seams to alternating sides to help piece them together without bulk.
Sew together the newly made rows together like the columns in steps 3-7. Start with the top row right sides together with the second row to make a new row consisting of the top two rows. I also pin together where the seams meet. It’s a matter of personal preference but it helps me keep the pieces together as I’m sewing.
Continue making three rows and then sewing together until all of the rows are sewn together. Make sure to not cut the thread in between each row. You should have a finished block and in the correct order!
I hope you enjoy this tip for chain piecing your quilt blocks! If you would like to see the other fantastic tips in the series, here is the lineup:
Day 1 – August 15 – Sam Hunter: How to spray baste a BIG quilt – www.huntersdesignstudio.com
Day 2 – August 16 – Mandy Leins: Thread Dread: removing stray bits after quilting – www.mandalei.com
Day 3 – August 17 – Nancy Stovall: The Sweet Creamy Filling – www.justquiltingpdx.com
Day 4 – August 18 – Ebony Love: 7 Indispensible feet for your sewing machine – www.LoveBugStudios.com
Day 5 – August 19 – Michelle Freedman: Machine throat plates – www.designcamppdx.blogspot.com
Day 6 – August 20 – Teresa Coates: Edge/Under/Top stitching – www.crinkledreams.com
Day 7 – August 21 – Kelly Cole: Ten ways to regain your sew-jo – www.vintagefabricstudio.com
Day 8 – August 22 – Megan Dougherty: Choose to Fuse: tips for working with fusibles for applique – www.thebitchystitcher.com
Day 9 – August 23 – Kim Lapacek: Tricks to being productive while hauling your kids around – www.persimondreams.blogspot.com
Day 10 – August 24 – Yvonne Fuchs: Circuitboard quilting on Domestic and Longarm Machines – www.quiltingjetgirl.com
Day 11 – August 25 – Sandi Hazlewood: Chain Piecing Quilt Blocks Tips – www.craftyplanner.com
Day 12 – August 26 – Juliet van der Heijden: Paper-piecing with children – www.thetartankiwi.com
Day 13 – August 27 – Maddie Kertay: Fabric folding for any storage solution – www.badassquilterssociety.com
Day 14 – August 28 – Cath Hall: Working with Lawn fabric – www.wombatquilts.com
Day 15 – August 29 – Tracy Mooney: Tips for the perfect seam – www.sewmuchcosplay.com
Day 16 – August 30 – Teri Lucas: How to bury thread – www.terificreations.com
Day 17 – August 31 – Debby Brown: Securing machine quilting knots – www. higheredhands.blogspot.com
Day 18 – September 1 – Flaun Cline: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 1) – www.ipleadquilty.com
Day 19 – September 2 – Jessica Darling: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 2) – www.jessicakdarling.com
Day 20 – September 3 – Trish Frankland: A bigger blade really IS better?! – www.persimondreams.blogspot.com
Day 21 – September 4 – Lynn Krawczyk: Build a simple design with hand stitching – www.smudgeddesignstudio.com
Day 22 – September 5 – Jane Davidson: How to make scrappy HSTs – www.quiltjane.com
Day 23 – September 6 – Linda Pearl: Low cost tips for organizing your sewing room – www.onequiltingcircle.com
Day 24 – September 7 – Christa Watson – Top 10 tips for quilting on a domestic machine – www.christaquilts.com
Day 25 – September 8 – Sarah Nunes: To Starch or Not to Starch – www.berrybarndesigns.com
Day 26 – September 9 – Suzy Webster: Testing fabric for bleeding – www.websterquilt.blogspot.com
Day 27 – September 10 – Sarah Goer: Machine bind your quilts like a pro – www.sarahgoerquilts.com
Day 28 – September 11 – Vanda Chittenden: Beginner paper-piecing tips – www.chittenden.co.za
Day 29 – September 12 – Cheryl Sleboda: Needle threading tips – www.muppin.com
Day 30 – September 13 – Kim Niedzwiecki – Different thread weights and when to use them – www.gogokim.com
Day 31 – September 14 – Sandra Healy: Conquer Your Fear of Machine Appliqué – www.sandrahealydesigns.com
Day 32 – September 15 – Sandra Starley: The Basics of Antique Quilt Collecting – www.utahquiltappraiser.blogspot.com