Saturday, March 24, 2012

Advice Needed

I have been MIA here...

But there have been several reasons... You'll know all of them in due course of time...

Right now, I need your advice, or rather, your opinion...

I have got an order of a commissioned quilt. The size is a HUGE 100" x 110". Not wanting to complicate things, I decided to KISS (keep is super simple). I decided to piece together 440 squares (22 rows of 20 squares each) of 5.5".

I have finally dug into my huge stash of modern FQs from the Urbanista bundle.

I had never known that it would actually be difficult to cut up fabric! (Shhh... I tried to use up my least favorite pieces, though... Dont tell my client...)

Now here's my dilemma.

How do I put them together? Do I sew together rows of 20 squares at a time and them sew those 22 rows together? Or do I sew them into pairs and sew pairs together to make 4 patch blocks which in turn, I'll sew together into 16 patch ones and so on?

I want my seams to match as neatly as possible. Which option would you recommend. Also consider the amount of work involved as there are 440 squares!

I am thinking of quilting them using this method by Elizabeth Hartman. I think the design would be perfect for using this quilting pattern!


  1. Have you seen the tutorial for the bingo squares? (
    That involves leaving the threads on so that you are left with a web of threads to help keep your seams straight. If you did that with groups of the blocks and then sewed these groups together it might go quicker and be easier.
    I am looking forward to seeing it finished. Good luck and I hope that you find a system that works for you.

  2. I have made several quilts similar to the completed size and using charms and smaller. Easiest method for me is to make big squares - 6x6 or whatever and then sew them together - much easier on the shoulder muscles this way

  3. It might make a difference if you are trying to make a pattern with the squares. Is it easier to keep track of the colors one way over the other?

  4. For mental sanity, I do 4 blocks together - seems to go faster for me - and mini-instant-results - which always help me when doing something that large ... you see the progress faster :)
    Can't wait to see the finished quilt - and looks like those fabrics will be soooo pretty together!!

  5. I like to do pairs, then put those together into 4-patch blocks, then 16, etc (or something along those lines) makes it easier for me to keep seams lined up and keeps everything flat and square. I'm thinking about doing a little charm square patchwork too...they're so simple but so pretty! I can't wait to see your finished quilt!

  6. I like to do four patch blocks and then put those into rows, however, the biggest quilt I have made that way was probably 1/4 of the size you're thinking of.

  7. Long rows can be a bit unwieldy. They do allow you to press all of the seams in one direction.
    If you press each row in an alternate direction then when you nest and pin, you won't find any unpleasant surprises with seams not nesting up.
    If you label each row then you can sew rows in pairs similar to chain piecing, and then sew all of the paired rows together. I have used this method for large (king) tops and it does fairly well.
    Good luck! I am sure no matter how you choose to do it, it will turn out beautiful.

  8. I prefer doing rows and then sewing the rows together. You can press the seams in one direction and it seems easier to get the points to meet. Sewing one row to another does require lots of pinning, because you're doing a big chunk at a time, but then it sews up lickety-split and the quilt comes together quickly. I usually sew sets of two rows and then join these to each other. And if any points don't match and you want to redo them, you can just unpick over the one seam and resew.

  9. I love making quilts using 6" white square with a 5" fan pattern sew on the 6" square. You leave the edge of the fan to ravel. It's super easy. Then you sew a 6 1/2" border in white with a large rick rack sewn on the border. You can find the pattern by Bonnie Olaveson in the Feb/March Quilt magazine. I just love this pattern. I have made several quilts with this pattern.

  10. Sewing groups of squares 4x4 or 6x6 will definitely help you keep more of your seams perfectly matched. If you find some don't match as well as you want, you have a smaller area to unpick too. Shorter 'lengths' of seams also mean you are less likely to skew the seam lines to one side. With seam allowances, I like the method where you "fan out" the centre of the joining seams and if they all go in, say, clockwise direction, each group of blocks will abut nicely.

  11. Oh! Trust me on this - I hope you haven't cut your fabric yet! Cut strips, then sew the strips together, then subcut them into the blocks... does that make sense? It goes much faster this way. Then I'd do 4 patch, then 16 etc. Group big patches then sew them together that way. It also seems to be easier to get a good color balance this way. :) Good luck, can't wait to see it finished!


Thank you for your comments... I try to reply to all of them personally, but sometimes life is just too fast to do that... But I love hearing from you...