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Strip Piecing

Strip Piecing was invented for the frugal quilter!  It is a great way to use up bits and pieces of fabric that you have left over from other projects.

One of the fun things about strip piecing is that you get to throw all the rules out the window!  No more worrying about the perfect 1/4 inch seam, or the grain of the fabric.

When you strip piece, you sew pieces of fabric to a foundation fabric like muslin.  This stabilizes the fabric.  You have complete freedom to use the fabric in any direction you like.

There are many ways to make Strip Quilts.  You can make the strips any size you like, have a planned color scheme, or cut them up after they are made to triangles and other shapes for blocks.

The following is how to make the pictured square at the top.

To begin decide the size of the squares you want to make.  If you want to make a 4-inch square, cut a 4-inch square for your foundation from muslin or any fabric that won't show through when the strips are attached.

Next you will need strips.  Go through your scraps (or use new fabric), and cut your strips.  Make them a few inches longer than your block.

Place your first strip on the muslin, diagonally, down the center of the block.  Pin it in place.

Now, put a strip on one side, right sides together, matching the edges.  Sew the seam approximately 1/4 inch from the seam line.  Then flip the strip you have just sew over so that the right side is showing, and press.

Do the same thing to the center strip, but on the other side.


Continue adding strips in this manner, until your block is full. 


                               Full Strip from Front    Full Strip from Back


                The Back after Trimming     The Finished Square

Turn your strip upside down, and using your foundations piece as a guide, cut off the excess.

You can also make your piece oversized, and then cut it down.  This is helpful is you want to be able to trim from the front where you can see the fabrics and adjust the template.

As far as fabric choice, every quilt needs a personality.  If you are going to use lots of fabrics, vary the colors and sizes.  In a charm quilt, the more the better.

In the square at the top of the page, there isn't a lot of contrast in value, as you can see from the picture to the left.  It is meant to be a soft design.

When you square are done, sew them together, being sure to nest the seams.  (See the 4-Patch)  These squares make a charming, old fashioned quilt, and often look best without borders.


Have fun disregarding the rules!

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