Do you sometimes leave the hand sewing ona quilt, thinking that you’ll come back to it when you have time? I love hand sewing – I find it very relaxing to curl up with my unfinished quilt, the radio and a glass of wine, but somehow there are never enough hours in the day for me to complete the quilt. Recently I was asked about a completely machine stitched quilt by a quilter who has problems with her wrists and finds hand stitching difficult. I challenged myself tomake a quilt as you go project, machine stitched only.
Preparing the quilt as you go blocks
In order to concentrate on the quilt as you go instructions rather than the patchwork, I used 17.1/2″ panels for the blocks. I backed each panel with 22″ squares of wadding and backing fabric, giving me just over 2″ extra all the way round.
For quilt as you go projects, the quilting must not go closer than about 1.1/2″ to the edge of the quilt block so I just meander quilted in the framework around the central part of the quilt blocks.
Joining the quilt as you go blocks
To join the quilt blocks, place two blocks with right sides together and peel back the wadding and backing fabric to expose the two tops of the quilt blocks. Pin and then sew these together using a 1/4″ seam. Press the seam.
Place these two blocks with right sides down so that you can work on the wadding and backing. Peel back the quilt backing and trim the wadding so that the two sides just butt up to each other over the seam. it’s quite important to have the join above the seam.
Fold down one side of the quilt backing over the wadding and smooth gently. Fold the other side down and turn under a hem. You should be able to feel where the two pieces of wadding join so that you can line the fold of the hem directly above the join of the wadding. Pin in place.
This hem needs to be machine stitched in place and this can be done either from the back or the front of the quilt blocks. A lot depends on how accurately you have been able to line up the fold in the backing. If you sew from the front then you can stitch in the ditch along the seam line but the stitching may not exactly match the fold line in the backing. If you sew from the back then you can mathc the line of the fold exactly, but the stitching may not exactly match the seam line on the front.
One solution might be to run a line of stitching about 1/2″ to each side of the first row of stitches. That might make the seam line look more like part of a pattern. It also helps secure the wadding either side of the seam line.
Don’t sew the entire seam. The bottom and top of the quilt block need to be free for when you join the rows to each other. In the photo the tops of the quilt blocks are sewn together all the way but the quilt backing is only sewn from where my finger is pointing and the seam stops at the equivalent point at the bottom of the quilt block.
My quilt as you go project was made of nine quilt blocks in three rows of three blocks. I joined the blocks together in rows of three and then joined the three rows together. The method for combining the rows using quilt as you go is the same as for combining individual blocks, but the seam can be sewn completely from end to end.
Self binding the quilt as you go project
In order to stick with the quilt as you go machine sewn only challenge, I decided to use the backing for binding (self binding). Trim the backing around the edge of the quilt to 1.1/2″ from the quilt edge. Trim the wadding level with the quilt edge.
At each corner measure 1″ from the corner in both directions and cut a triangle between these points. This is to reduce bulk in the corner binding.
Fold the edges of the quilt backing in to the edge of the quilt and then bring the fold over so that it covers the quilt top by about 1/4″. Pin in place.
For the quilt corners, fold the binding on the edge leading up to the corner (the bottom edge in the left hand photo) then fold the corner in to the quilt corner to form a diagonal across the corner. Now fold and fold again the next edge to be bound (going up the right). This gives a neat mitred corner.
Sew the binding in place, machine stitching as near to the inside edge of the binding as possible. You really do need to use a walking foot for this. I tried a short distance without one and the fabric began to bunch fairly quickly.
So, I achieved my challenge of a quilt as you go project without any hand sewing at all. It was certainly very quick to make.
Here’s the video: