Quilter extraordinaire Linda J. Hahn offers her most helpful, time-tested tips and tricks in quilting for beginners.
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The chain is the method for building blocks in quilting for beginners and experts. It’s quick, clean, efficient, and a great way to bust out your stash of fabric scraps!
Start a quilt
- Pro tip #1 : Keep two pieces of fabric to use as cap and ender, AKA starter and stopper, AKA starter and finisher. These will be used for chain stitching, or to sew the seams of all your block pieces without breaking your thread.
First lay out your quilt block. Use a marking tool to draw your seam lines on your block pieces, or press to make creases where the seams will be.
- Pro tip #2 : Use spray starch if you go to press your fabric as a time-saving alternative to pressing iron.
- Pro tip #3 : If possible, engage the needle function on your sewing machine to keep the needle down every time you stop sewing and keep your fabric in place.
Starting with the head, run the machine and place the starting point of the first block piece right against the end of the head piece. Sew along the mark or curve you made to indicate the seam line. Place the starting point of the next block piece right against the first.
Continue in this fashion for as many pieces as you need without cutting the thread. You’ll be surprised how much piecing you can do in a short amount of time with this technique!
Finally run the ender or finisher through the machine to conclude the piecing chain. In your next chain of pieces, that ender will become the boss.
Now cut to separate all the pieces you sewed to continue assembling your block.
- Pro tip #4 : Trim your block pieces to prevent uneven fabric thickness in your final quilt.
Place your block once to be sure to stitch the pieces together in the right orientation.
- Pro tip #5 : Connector squares are such a popular method of building blocks because they allow room for error.
Complete the piecing of your block and trim to square it up.
Finish a quilt
Once your quilt blocks are complete, you can join them, add some bastion and support, and get to quilting your layers together. Many people choose to send their quilt tops to a long arm quilter for this step.