Part 3 in a 5-part Quilting for Beginners series. This Piecing and Finishing Your Quilt Top section will walk you through piecing together your quilt top and sewing a perfect quarter inch seam. Make your own DIY sewing quilt with this step-by-step tutorial!
Piecing and Finishing Your Quilt Top – Quilting for Beginners Part 3
It’s time for the main event! Piecing your quilt!
You should already have purchased, washed, and cut your fabric. If you haven’t, check out these guides and then come back!
- Choosing, Calculating, and Buying Fabric
- Washing and Cutting Quilt Blocks
If you’re all caught up and ready to go, let’s get going.
Piecing Your Quilt Top
1. Lay your blocks out in your desired pattern on your floor or table. Re-stack them so that they stay in the correct order according to row for sewing.
2. Before you sew we’re going to iron again. Just to make sure everything will line up properly. You can iron everything at once. Or just a row at a time, which is what I do. With 3 kids running around the house, I never know how much I’ll actually get done!
3. We’re ready to sew! Let’s talk about the quarter-inch seam.
The Quarter-Inch Seam
The quarter-inch seam is exactly what it sounds like: a seam that is a quarter of an inch. It is the standard quilting seam. This seam needs to be very precise so that your quilt blocks will line up properly once sewn.
There are a couple ways to ensure your seam is accurate.
Some machines come with this foot. Otherwise, you can easily purchase it at a craft store or online. Even with this presser foot, you will still want to test it for accuracy in measurements.
2. An adhesive.
You can make your own with painter’s tape or moleskin. Or you can buy a commercial adhesive guide such as Dritz Quilting Machine Seam Gauge and Adhesive Guide.
To make your own, raise the presser foot and lower the feed dogs so that your measuring device will lay flat. Measure a quarter inch from where your needle will hit. Mark it with the adhesive along that line. Now when you’re sewing, you can just line your fabric up with the adhesive, and you’ll have a straight even quarter inch seam.
***Note: If you’re using painter’s tape, use 3 or 4 pieces on top of each other to create a ridge. Doing this will give you a better physical guide while you’re sewing.
Finishing Your Quilt Top
Now all that’s left is the actual sewing.
Sew your blocks together in rows, one block at a time using the quarter-inch. Depending on the size of your blocks, you may want to add a few pins.
When the rows are all done, you need to iron again. Iron the backs of your rows so that you’re pressing down the seams. I’ve seen two different ways to do this.
- You can iron down the middle of the seam. This will split the two quarter inch pieces of fabric apart. One lays flat to the left. One lays flat to the right.
- Or you can iron one way, but alternate rows. So the first row, you iron all the seams pointing right. The next row you iron all the seams pointing left, etc. That’s what I did in the picture below.
Ready to sew again! You should absolutely pin during this part. You need to account for any errors you may have made, so go through and make sure that all of your seams line up. Then pin them so they stay that way.
This is the final bit for your quilt top! Repeat the pinning and sewing process for the rest of your rows and you’ll be done in no time!
Next: Read Part 4- Basting and Quilt
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