Monday, February 16, 2009

Mereth found this pile of QAYG blocks that she never got round to putting together, so I thought I'd do a quick tutorial on the method I use. I know they can just be seamed together and the raw edges covered with a fabric strip, but I really like the end result with my method; it's very flat and the quilt has no bumps at the intersections of the seams. I first heard of this method from Queensland tutor Lyn Booth, but I do the cover strips a little differently than her.

I also like the fact that you don't lose any width in seams, as the blocks are just butted up against each other, and you get to add sashing as you go, which can save a dull set of blocks and liven them up.

Set out the blocks in whatever layout you prefer. I like to put together sets of four, and then join those sets together. On the wrong side of the two left-hand blocks sew a 2" strip that has been folded in half; use a 1/4" seam allowance. (Make sure you sew it on the edge that will be caught in the seam.)Butt the pairs blocks together and zigzag across both blocks. Use a 4.5 width, 3 long zigzag. (This is just to hold them together, the real strength of the seam comes from the binding strips that cover the raw edges.) Keep the edges of the block level at the start and finish.
On the wrong side, press the strip over the seam and sew it down, either with a straight stitch or a long, narrow zigzag. I use 1.5 wide, 2.5 long. Trim off the ends of the strip level with the blocks.

You can see that if I had matched the thread to the fabric this zigzag would be well nigh un-noticeable; as I wanted you to be able to see the stitches I used a different colour thread. I don't use a blind stitch, mainly because if you miss catching the edge of the strip there is a much bigger gap than if you miss one or two zig-zags. Also a lot of older machines don't have a nice blind stitch.

Now all the raw edges on the back are covered. On the front are two lines of stitching, either side of the zigzag seam.
Line a 2.5" strip up with the straight stitching seam, and sew it with a normal 1/4" seam. This line of stitching will be roughly 1/2" from the edge of the block.Fold the raw edge of the strip back to the seam, and press the whole lot over to cover the zig zag stitching. Using matching thread, applique the strip in place with a long, narrow zigzag. Now all the raw edges are covered!

Seam the two pairs of blocks together to make a larger unit, and continue making larger units and joining them until the quilt is the size you want. It's a very easy way to put a quilt together.

 I have a pattern pack of Quilt-As-You-Go techniques, with over 30 pages of photos and diagrams showing different ways to quilt blocks and attach  borders.  It's available for $9 as a pdf from Craftsy if you're interested in learning more.


Lindi 10:16 PM  

I really like your method! Thanks for the great tutorial.

pdudgeon 11:20 PM  

that's a pretty slick trick!

Donna 2:45 AM  

neat trick! thanks for sharing

sewprimitive karen 6:09 AM  

What a great tutorial. This is the first version of this idea that looks Very Nice Indeed, at least so it seems to me. Now I want to try it out.

Jenni 1:08 PM  

That's interesting to read. One of my UFOs, (well it's nearly finished) is a QAYG, but I did the sew right sides together with a binding type strip at the back to cover the seam. I'll have to try your method too.

meggie 5:08 PM  

I never cease to be delighted with blogs! I learn something new every day, & some of the things I learn are very valuable. One such lesson, is your wonderful table top basting - well I baste, but you pin, to sandwich a quilt top.
I have referred friends to your blog for this tutorial/post.
I dont know why, but I NEVER have any luck with pins. It is more time consuming to tack baste, but it serves me well.

hetty 1:11 PM  

Thank you for your tutorial. I know of several ways of putting a quilt-as-you-go quilt together, but I had never seen this one. I like it. Will definitely try it out.

Anonymous,  12:31 AM  

Thank you so much for the brilliant instructions. I am making some QAYG blocks like this right now, and I can't wait to use your method of joining. It looks very pretty.

SewDownunder 2:45 PM  

I haven't seen this before, very interesting ! Thanks

Chris H 10:19 AM  

Awesome tutorial, thanks. I have a quilt on the go right now that I am going to 'quilt as I go'.

SewDownunder 10:06 PM  

Thanks, it was very easy to follow.

Janel 6:00 AM  

This is great. I like it better than the way I "invented" :-)

Takhara 10:16 PM  

This looks great and I will try it for sure. I'd love to see this in video format -- is that something you'd consider doing?

Gladys 5:14 AM  

Thank you very much for this Tutorial! Have a nice day!

Unknown 3:09 PM  

I realise this is an old post, but I have a question. Is the strip for the front doubled like the one for the back ?

Lynne 6:23 PM  

I know it's an old post but I do have a question: Do the patterns on Craftsy show how to make QAYG blocks that join with sashing on the front only?

NapMath 12:28 AM  

Just went to Craftsy and was disappointed to see that the "book" is no longer $9. :-(

Mani Barry 6:26 AM  

Love this method and can't wait to try...thanks!

Tupper 4:57 AM  

I just read the answer that I have looked for since I started quilting.
I am a trained seamstress but a novice quilter. I am looking for your
book. Thanks so much, such a clean easy way to finish off a quilt.

Unknown 3:10 PM  

Very similar to how I do mine! i have a 3 inch strip folded in half on the front and back, sew it on with a 1/2 inch seam ,i zig zag the blocks together and then press both over and top stitch. It just feels much more secure and I feel it gives the area more strength.

Unknown 8:10 AM  

Thank you for a great idea. I will use this method.

Carolyn 11:40 AM  

I really appreciate your book and blog! I had a little confusion about the method for adding the wide strips to mimic sashing method. This looks like a wonderful idea. But what about the backing for that method? Did you already add the backing into the individual blocks or use one solid backing? Or just add a hand stitched strip on the back. Thanks for compiling all these ideas!

FreezingInDakota 7:53 AM  

Thank you so much for making this tutorial. I am now assembling my braid quilt and my nephew will be thrilled.

Unknown 9:20 AM  

I'm confused on the stitching for the back side. So the initial straight seam on the back is 1/4" outside the edge of the sashing on the front? Doesn't this mess up the look of the quilting.

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