Quilt-As-You-Go Quilt

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Introduction: Quilt-As-You-Go Quilt

About: My name's Abby, and I make things. Lots of things. Sewing is my favorite activity, and any project that involves fabric is like a drug to me. I make lots of pretty things, you should check out my online shop! …

Quilting is something that I absolutely enjoy.I’m a beginner yet, so it’s constantly challenging and fun and creative all at once. The one problem I have, however, with every quilt I make, is the fact that it is awful hard to machine quilt on just your regular, run of the mill sewing machine. It’s a giant workout, constantly pushing, pulling, and trying to keep track of a big rolled up hunk of quilt shoved into a regular sized sewing machine. As much as I would do just about anything for one of those giant, crazy awesome long-armed sewing machines specifically meant for quilting, I’m not really thinking that is going to happen any time soon. (I mean, really, what’s with these kids needing to eat all of the time? They are totally killing my sewing machine dreams!)

So as I was searching for a better solution to my quilting dilemma, I came across the idea of quilting as you go. The basic idea is to quilt all of your layers together, as you are piecing your quilt, so that you are working with smaller, more manageable pieces. There are many different ways you can do this, but the basic idea is all pretty much the same: you stack your pieced block, with batting and backing cut to the same size, sandwich them together and quilt them first, and then actually join blocks together.

Step 1: Make a Plan

The first step is to make a plan. Decide on the size and design that you would like your finished project to be, and figure out the yardage you would need for that size. This would go pretty similarly to your regular quilt project, the only difference would be is that your backing will all be pieced, so it won’t be necessary to have straight yardage for your backing. (That means you can use scraps!! Woohoo!)

Step 2: Sizing Your Blocks, Batting and Back

For my project, I decided to make a baby sized quilt, approximately 36” x 45”. My design used 4 blocks across, and 5 rows, all of which were 9” finished size. I will use this as an example, but you can certainly use different sizes/patterns to work within your project.

Once I pieced my top blocks, I trimmed them to be 9” PLUS seam allowance. I would really recommend using at least half of an inch around each side of each block. (I only used ¼”, and drove me totally bonkers and didn’t work out as well as I would have liked.)

When you have your top blocks trimmed, you will need to trim backing squares to be the exact same size as the top.

Once you have your top and backing cut, cut your batting to size. This part is a bit different… you want your batting to not have any seam allowance at all. If batting is running into your seam, you’ll have far too much bulk in your seams. For example, in my quilt, my batting squares were each 9” even.

Step 3: Make a Sammich.

(Not the eating kind, unfortunately.)

Once you have all of your blocks pieced and trimmed to size, you need to stack your sandwiches.

To stack them, you will need to start by laying your backing fabric, wrong side up, on your work surface.

On top of this, place your batting square. Make sure to place it in the center, with an even seam allowance around each side.

Once you have your batting placed, place your top block over it, right side up. Be sure to line it up carefully with your backing square below.

When you have all of your layers positioned, you need to baste them. You can just pin them, as I have done, or spray baste… whatever gets the job done. Usually I hate using straight pins to baste a quilt, but these small blocks require so little that it’s not a big deal to me.

Step 4: Quilt!

Once you have your layers basted, you will need to quilt your blocks.

How you quilt your blocks is entirely up to you. You can use straight lines or free-form quilt it… basically do whatever you are most comfortable with. The most important thing to remember is to not sew into your seam allowance. I did this in a few places, and it was a big pain in the rear end in later steps. It may not be a bad idea to take a marking pencil that is easily removed and mark around the edges so that you know where to stop.

Step 5: Join Your Blocks

Once you have a big ol’ stack of quilted blocks, you actually get to start joining them together!

To join squares, place two blocks, right sides together. Carefully pin JUST the top layers together. You do NOT want to sew through your backing fabric. I found it easiest to either pin or press the backing out of the way while I stitched the tops together.

Step 6: Press Your Seam

Once you get the two blocks joined just at the top layer, press your seam. Then smooth the backing fabric back over the back of the seam, folding over one edge and pinning.

Step 7: Finish Your Back Seams

When you have your row all joined together, you need to go back and finish your back seams. You could, carefully, line up and pin your backing a machine stitch it all down. I chose to stitch this by hand, just because I didn’t want the fuss of hiding seams and lining things up perfectly. (I know, lazy, right?) I stitched as neatly and as invisibly as I could, and for me, it was easier.
I would definitely suggest that as you stitch your back, make sure not to leave your seams open on the top and bottom, so that when you join your rows together, you will be able to open your layers straight across.

Step 8: Join Your Rows!

When you have all of your rows stitched, you can sew them together using the same techniques that you used to join your blocks into rows. And, just as you finished the back of each row, finish the seams that you use to join the rows together.

Step 9: Finish It!

And that’s the basic idea! Once you have your quilt assembled, you bind it just as you would a regular quilt.

Step 10:

This technique is so easy, and it really opens up a lot of possibilities for more complicated quilting designs on a basic model sewing machine. I could even see doing much larger projects than what I am used to, since I won’t have to worry about forcing a full sized quilt through my machine.  It is also lends to scrap quilts, which are always fun and a great way to use up fabric that you’ve had laying around for awhile.

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63 Comments

0
Sandy Twinkles
Sandy Twinkles

5 weeks ago

I so wish I had come across this quilt as you go before I started my two very large quilts that I have to complete! I wish too that I had one of those big machines that do the patterns to hold the layers together! I have just finished a babies quilt and that is no way near the size of the quilts that I have to fit in the gap of my sewing machine! This quilt as you go may be my next project after getting them done!

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cjps5501
cjps5501

7 months ago

OMG, I love these instructions. They are easy to understand. I got an e-book and I think they were trying to say what you did but the terms were so out of whack I had no idea what they were saying. You have been a tremendous help. THANK YOU!!!!

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dianee229
dianee229

7 months ago

Great tutorial. Very clear instructions. I am working on a quilt as you go with sashing but can't wait to try this on a new project.

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jerri.marie
jerri.marie

8 months ago

Honestly, for a non video tutorial, this explained a lot for me. I appreciate the work that went into making this. Thank You very much. This is exactly what I needed!

For those curious, the batting should be the size of the finished block without the seam allowance, so when finished, the edges "kiss" but don't overlap. This way there isn't any bulk.

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cnewport74
cnewport74

Question 8 months ago

Do I sew the front piece and batting together when joining blocks or just the 2 front pieces? If just the 2 front pieces that means the batting edges are not sewn - just butted up to each other- correct?

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jerri.marie
jerri.marie

Answer 8 months ago

Idealy the batting will be smaller (by the seam allowance) than the top/bottom. So that when sewn, they lie next to one another seamlessly. This will make for No Bulk between seams.

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jangreen7469
jangreen7469

11 months ago on Step 9

I am so excited about starting this project I can hardly wait to get it together. I have been wanting to try free motion quilting but with a regular size machine I could not do it even small baby quilts have been difficult. I hope this to be wonderful and fast.

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christie33549
christie33549

Question 1 year ago on Step 10

I'm too old to do a complete quilt. Years ago I made two blocked top sheets (no backing) and I'd like to attach those sheets to a backing now. How can I do that? I know I made a mistake back then but if I can make it a quilt now that would be nice. Otherwise should I just attach a sheet instead of a quilted backing? And, how do I do both (attach the quilt part, or attach the sheet)?

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jangreen7469
jangreen7469

Answer 11 months ago

Christie, please don't feel you are too old I didn't even start to learn how to quilt until I was 70. I have made 4 queen size, 4 tee shirt and 2 baby quilts and turned 72 in August. Do what you want and have fun. Jan

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DebbieS227
DebbieS227

Question 2 years ago on Step 5

Did you sew through the batting? If so won't that be a bit bulky?I've read that you don't and have to butt the seams of the batting.

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jangreen7469
jangreen7469

Answer 11 months ago

Debbie, if you hand quilt you have to sew through the batting so why not with a machine. I'm afraid if you do not sew through the batting, the batting will come apart when washing and then you will get big clunks of batting in different areas. Just a thought for you.

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Wordfiend
Wordfiend

Question 1 year ago on Introduction

I don’t understand this: “I would definitely suggest that as you stitch your back, make sure not to leave your seams open on the top and bottom, so that when you join your rows together, you will be able to open your layers straight across” in particular “leave your seams open on the top and bottom.” A picture might help me understand which seams you are talking about.

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Mamakwalt
Mamakwalt

1 year ago on Introduction

I am making a 9 patch quilt as you go with sashing. How do I include that in the batting?

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MikeG376
MikeG376

Question 2 years ago on Introduction

How about just selling the instructions instead of having to pay for a PDF viewer?

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Sewkrazy58
Sewkrazy58

2 years ago on Step 1

Thank you, your directions are the easiest I have read.

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RosalieM4
RosalieM4

Question 3 years ago

So,I can do this method with handquilted things also...right? This is one I have already done. This is my next project,,,

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smeidler
smeidler

Question 3 years ago on Step 6

I am confused how to fold over the backing so there isn't a bump in the back. Am I supposed to sew through the batting, or only the top? Could someone video how to fold over the back once two blocks are joined together?

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AnaictéG
AnaictéG

Tip 3 years ago on Step 4

I think you shouldn't sew to the edge of your batting either, after joining blocks you'll need enough room to fold your backing. If I had enough fabric left I would redo some of my blocks instead of ripping tiny stitches. Thanks for the tutorial.

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AnaictéG
AnaictéG

Question 3 years ago on Step 6

Up to this point I'm doing ok (I think), but once I joined two blocks together my seams are just a bit smaller janbthe backing, don't really get what to do next, I press it open, and then, how do I fold the backing? Help