Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Trying something new: Quilt As You Go tutorial

There are a few things for which I'm a sucker. Crafts. Quilts. Learning something new. Challenges. OK, there's more, but for the purpose of today's post, we'll stick with those four. Here's my story.

I absolutely love making quilts. One of these days, I'll make one for myself. Right now, I make them for my kids, for gifts and for folks who order them through my home business, Carlia Creations. Recently, I've been doing a little research on the Quilt As You Go (QAYG) technique. One of the difficult things about quilting, for me, is the actual quilting part. I don't have a free arm machine, so my machine quilting is either stitch in the ditch or basic (and I mean basic) free hand machine quilting. The QAYG method allows for more detailed machine quilting using a standard machine because you're only quilting a small portion of the quilt at a time. There are a couple of different ways to QAYG, too. I thought I'd try the strip method to make some festive holiday decorations. One of the great parts to strip QAYG is that you create the decorative top at the same time you quilt so it saves time! For better or worse, I documented it in photos to share on my blog. If it worked, it was going to be a great pictoral tutorial. If it didn't work, at least I would know what NOT to do the next time. Fortunately, it worked and turned out great.

My inspiration came from a magazine. I saw a cute idea to use bandanas to create a flag placemat. It was a little rough, though. It had unfinished edges and glued to an existing placemat. The idea was great, but the execution made me decide to give it a go and make it better. I'm going to explain the process using "bandana" and "flag" but you can use any strips to make a placemat, table runner or quilt.

Supplies you need:
1 red bandana or fat quarter
1 blue bandana or fat quarter
1 white bandana or fat quarter
quilter's batting
1/2 yard of cotton fabric for backing
1 package quilt binding in coordinating color

Rotary cutter
Acrylic ruler
 I bought red and blue bandanas (they didn't have white) and used a white on white printed cotton fabric I had at home.

I cut the fabric in 2.5" strips.

I wound my bobbin using thread that matched the bottom fabric I was going to use. In this case it was a light blue.
I cut a piece of cotton fabric a little wider than the width of my bandana (about 16") and the length of my finished flag (about 15"). It's always better to have a little extra you can cut off than to not have enough. I cut some quilter's batting the same size. I used what I had at home, so it was a blue cotton fabric and a polyester batting. Be sure to square up one corner exactly. Line up the cotton fabric right side down then the batting and then the first strip of your bandana.
Pin and sew 1/4" seam along the bottom edge. All seams will be 1/4" seams.

Take your next strip (white) and place it right side down (right sides touching) matching the bottom edge of the new strip along the top side of the first strip. Pin through all the layers. 

Sew 1/4" seam along edge of strip sewing through all layers.

Open seam and press flat.

If you turn the project over, you can see the first quilting lines sewn!

Line the bottom of the next strip along the top of the previous strip keeping right sides together. Pin. Sew. Press.

Continue adding strips in this fashion. For the blue part of the flag, take one red strip and one blue strip, line them up right sides together and sew the short end. Press seam open.
When you line up the red/blue strip onto the flag, eyeball (aka guess) where the blue portion should be. You can make fractions and measure it out, but trust your instinct and line it up about 1/3 of the way across. Pin and sew like the other strips. Repeat for 1 blue/white strip and one more blue/red strip.

Finish by sewing the top edge of the top strip through all the layers of your project.
Notice all the nice quilting on the back side!
Using your rotary cutter and acrylic ruler, trim the edges of your flag removing excess fabric and batting. Be sure to keep it squared!
Finish the edges by sewing a binding around the sides. I had wide red quilt binding that worked great for this project.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on the Quilt As You Go strip technique. This is my first major tutorial and my first sewing tutorial, so if you have any comments or feedback for me, please don't hesitate to comment below. I'm not used to this many steps and pictures, so if you're trying to replicate and have questions, please ask and if I missed something, please let me know so I can add it.

Happy Sewing!!


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