How to do strip piecing to speed up your patchwork
Turn offcuts into fabulous new fabrics and super-boost your patchwork speed with our guide to how to do strip piecing
Finding quick ways to create patchwork projects is a goal of most busy quilters today, and strip piecing is one of the most important techniques to achieve this. Using the speed piecing technique of strip piecing is a great way to create blocks – fast!
When you can’t find the right fabric – or the fabrics you do have aren’t quite right for the project you’re working on – try strip piecing. This is a nifty technique where you join two or more fabric strips together in batches to make a stripy fabric. It’s a speedy way to transform plain fabrics into brightly-patterned patchwork and a great use for offcuts in your stash.
Strip piecing is the name given to a technique where strips of fabric are sewn together in parallel rows. Once sewn together, you can then cut up the strip-pieced unit or “set” into sections or “segments”, which can then be used to create patchwork blocks. We’ll show you some examples below of how strip piecing can make beautiful, striking patchwork from a very simple method.
To start, gather a few fabric strips. Longer ones are best as once you’ve sewn them together the aim is to cut a batch of stripy blocks or ‘units’ from them. You could cut stripy squares, triangles, diamonds… any shape that takes your fancy! You then join up your units to create larger units until you’ve quickly pieced up a quilt top or cushion. The strips can all be the same width or different. Various effects can be achieved in strip piecing, depending on whether the segments are cut straight or at an angle.
You Will Need
- Quilting ruler
- Rotary cutter
- Sewing machine
Cut a few long strips of fabrics. Don’t worry if your strips aren’t all the same length as you’ll trim the ends later.
Using straight seams and a ¼in seam allowance, pin and then sew the strips together in the order you want them to be.
Press the seams to one side or open, then trim the short ends if these are uneven. Congratulations! You now have your first strip-pieced unit, ready to be cut up and used in your project.
Cut shapes from the strip-pieced fabric for quick stripy effects. Or try piecing two strips of different coloured fabrics together, cut into pairs of squares and sew together to make a Four Patch block.
Try cutting strips of blocks to sew together into larger shapes to make strip pieced quilt patterns. Julie Taylor used this method for issue 48 of Today’s Quilter magazine to strip piece strips like this…
…into this beautiful Radiating Sparkles lone star quilt.