Quilt as you go machine sewn only is the answer if you feel that the hand sewing of a qayg project can take forever.  Do you sometimes leave the hand sewing on a 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 to make a quilt as you go project, machine stitched only.

Preparing the blocks

Quilt panels

Quilt panels

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

Peel back the wadding and backing fabric

Peel back the wadding and backing fabric


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.

Join the wadding and backing


Trim the excess wadding

Trim the excess wadding

The two edges of wadding should just meet

The two edges of wadding should just meet

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 backing

Fold down one side of the backing

Turn under a hem

Turn under a hem


Lay 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.

Quilt as you go machine sewn

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.  However if you sew from the back then you can match 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

Don’t sew the entire seam


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 machine sewn 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 machine sewn project 

Measure 1" from the corner

Measure 1″ from the corner

Trim the corner

Trim the corner

In order to stick with the quilt as you go machine sewn only challenge, I decided to use the backing for binding (self binding).  Cut 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 edge of the backing to the quilt edge

Fold the edge of the backing to the quilt edge

Fold again to cover the quilt edge

Fold again to cover the quilt edge


Turn 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.



Fold the corner

Fold the corner

Create a mitred corner

Create a mitred corner

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:


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  1. Marjorie Schoenlein says:

    I want to thank you for putting this out here for us novices who are still finding this years after you created it. I have made 4 pieced quilt tops (one for each of my grandchildren) and wish I found this before I joined all my squares because now I am intimidated by trying to quilt them all. This would have been a wonderful alternative. Now I will have to make another just to try this method.

    • Hi Marjorie. I am so pleased that you think that this article is helpful. Machine quilting is something that worries most beginner quilters.

  2. Thanks, Rose. I am making a quilt as you go baby quilt, which calls for hand sewing the second side of all the joining strips. I just did not want to do all that hand sewing! Your method makes sense and is no simple to understand. I have bookmarked your website for future reference.

    • Hi JoAnn. I’m glad you found this article helpful. Many people try to avoid hand sewing, although I have to admit that I find it quite relaxing.

  3. Mignol Gregory says:

    Hi Rose receive your reply really grateful can stop pulling my hair out now am new to quilting so every little info is really helpful thank you

  4. Mignol Gregory says:

    Hi Rose really like your quilts and am trying to make the tumbling block but I would like too ask you a question how much yard of extra wide backing material would I need to do 86×108 I would be most grateful will be looking out for your next block your explanation is really great

  5. I was wondering if I made my quilt blocks 1 inch larger on each layer if that would work for putting them together. Say my block was 10 inches, batting was 11 inches and backing 12 inches. Would this work with sewing them together?

    • Hi Wanda. I personally prefer to use backing and wadding the same size as each other. I suggest that you try the way you want and see if it works.

      • What were the size of your squares, batting and backing. I want to try this on a Quilt as you go project that I am working on. Did you make them each of them a certain size?

        • I read the beginning of your tutorial again and it looks like you made the batting and backing 2 inches larger than you quilt block. Is that correct?

          • Hi Wanda. You need to add at least 2″ to the wadding and backing – more if you are planning sashing or a border.

        • Hi Wanda. The quilt blocks were 20.1/2″square. For this project I made the wadding and backing 21.1\2″ square as I knew that I wasn’t adding sashing.

  6. Jan Wilson says:

    Thank you Rose for the great tutorial. I have been trying to find out how to “quilt as you go” for ages and nothing made sense – so now I’m about to start on a quilt for a granddaughter’s 21st and will I hope be able to quilt it much more easily than previous ones.

    • Hi Jan. I’m glad you’ve found the quilt as you go tutorial helpful. It definitely makes the quilting easier when you can do each block individually. Good luck with the quilt.

  7. Hi Rose, you are the only one to teach the wonderful way to join the blocks. I am doing a huge quilt. 25 blocks 17 inches each square. Can you image how big it is? It is my first quilt, I discovered your site and I felt more security by finishing it. Thank you so much once more!
    Hugs, Tania

    • Hi Tania. I’m so pleased that you found the quilt as you tutorial helpful. Your quilt sounds enormous – certainly one that should be made using quilt as you go. Happy New Year.

  8. Love the video and instructions! Thanks So much!! Have tried looking at a few that could help me understand the quilt as you go along with the connecting the blocks, your explanation was wonderful, easy explanation to this beginning quilter! I have book marked it!

  9. Thanks Rose. I enjoyed your calm, quiet tutorial (and voice). Very enjoyable and inspirational. I will be visiting your site often and will also be sharing it with my friends. As a beginning quilter, I can see that you have so much to offer in my future. Thanks again for the tutorial. Mary

  10. Just what I have been looking for–first real quilt is in the planning stage and trying to get my ducks in a row. LOVE this tutorial–simple and to the point–however, I would like to look at more of your tutorials, but could not hear the website—perhaps you could share that link here? Thank You for the wonderful tutorial! Cheers from NH, USA

  11. Clairequilty says:

    Thanks for finally answering the question as how to add more blocks below the first row. Been waiting for that answer for a while.

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