Quilt As You Go In Sections

Quilt as you go in sections

Quilt as you go in sections

I made a quilt as you go in sections quilt just before Christmas.  I was in a hurry – because obviously I wasn’t organised enough to begin the quilt in October as I should have done.  The quilt design itself was really simple – squares of curtain fabric with a 1/4″ royal blue sashing between them.  The problem was that it was going to be too big to quilt easily on my domestic sewing machine, but I didn’t want to use quilt as you go for individual blocks because of all the hand sewing that would be involved.  I know it’s possible to machine sew the joins between the blocks, but I find that I get neater results if I handsew those seams.

Quilt top sewn in three sections

Quilt top sewn in three sections

Why quilt as you go in sections?

I could have made rows of blocks and then layered and quilted them, but I decided to try going one step beyond that.  I made the blocks up in several rows at a time so that I had three sections.  Each section was small enough to quilt easily and I would only have two long seams between the sections to handsew.

I need to add here that I had also planned a 10″ border, bigger than I normally use.  The individual blocks were cut 12″ squares, giving me 11.1/2″ square blocks.  So my first section was the top border and the first two rows of the quilt.  There are six rows altogether in the quilt.  I made the second section with the two middle rows of the quilt.  The third section consisted of the last two rows plus the bottom sashing.

Extra wadding and backing on the sides

Extra wadding and backing on the sides

Sew the top first

I layered each section with backing fabric and wadding extending out 11″ further than the blocks on each side, but just the normal inch or two above and below the sections.  That way I could add the side borders on later even though the top and bottom borders were already on.  Using normal quilt as you go, I machine sewed the three sections of the quilt together, but on the top only.  I wanted to add the side borders first before I sewed any seams on the wadding and back of quilt.

I sewed the sashing to the side borders

I sewed the sashing to the side borders

Finish the wadding and backing

At this stage I added sashing to the side borders and sewed them to the main section of the quilt.  Now I was ready to turn over and sort out the back of the quilt.

There were two long seams to hand sew in both the wadding and the backing, but that was it!  The quilt was almost complete.  I basted the entire outer edge of the quilt, trimmed the layers and added the binding.  This really was a super speedy way of finishing a large quilt.  I had managed to quilt manageable sized sections of the quilt but hadn’t had to hand sew great lengths of seam.  I would recommend this to anyone planning a large quilt.  I even gained enough time so that I could make a cushion to match the quilt.

Here’s the video:

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  1. Carol Tambourine says:

    Have just done a quilt in 3 sections. No side borders. Very happy to try your idea for the next one I make. Thsnks for sharing.

  2. Fiona O'Neill says:

    Hi Rose,
    I used a similar technique to quilt a 6ft x 6ft Carpenter’s Star on my domestic machine, it worked great. I kept the backing as one piece & rolled it up to keep it out of the way while quilting. I quilted the middle section, then attached a side, basted it to the backing & quilted that. As I was working along the sides & my quilting design was fairly simple, it was easy to reach where I needed. I then repeated to attach & quilt the last section.
    I love this quilt, I have a lot of curtain fabric that belonged to my late aunt, I knew I wanted to make something with it but no idea what…… this would be great 🙂

    • Hi Fiona. That’s an interesting technique – it must have made the quilting much more manageable. I found this pattern ideal for the curtain fabric because it allowed me to show off the fabrics. Cutting the fabrics up would have been a terrible waste of them.

  3. This is such a pretty quilt – the fabrics are gorgeous and love the matching cushion.

  4. gentleenuff says:

    HI Rose, I have often thought about quilting in sections, but wasn’t sure I knew how to go about it. I always send my quilts out because it’s just too heavy for my old arms anymore.
    Now I’m wondering if this is something I should try, I don’t want to end up with a mess that’s not fit to send out or waste my time and precious fabric. How much work is it? Or a better question, how heavy are your sections to lift and turn about to get them quilted?
    As always, I appreciate your comments and glean what I can from others as well.
    You are amazing for sure. I can’t do much but I can still sew, proof that God loves me!
    Pretty hard to believe, I know.

    • Hi Gentleenuff. Thanks for your comments. My apologies for the video link not working – I have talked to it nicely and I hope it should be working okay now. Quilt as you go is a wonderful way to complete the quilting when the sections are still small. You can choose how big or small to make the sections to suit yourself. You may be interested in this link showing quilt as you go block by block: https://ludlowquiltandsew.co.uk/articles-newsletters/quilt-as-you-go-with-sashing/. You might find it helpful to try a small project (maybe just four blocks) using quilt as you go just to find out if it’s a technique that suits you.
      I’m glad you can still sew – it is such an enjoyable hobby – and yes He does still love you!