Hi everyone! I’m writing today on a very cold, blizzardy (is that a word? LOL!) day in north Iowa. So, I thought it would be fun to talk about strip piecing tips and techniques and how strip sets are used to make some easy quilt blocks that can make a stunning scrap quilt. The following tips are how to stitch strips together without distorting them.
Strip Set Tips:
Tip #1: Making strip sets is the first step in strip quilting. Strip sets are made from joining two or more long strips on their lengthwise sides. You can use width of fabric strips (40-44″ long) but I prefer to cut those in half to 20-22″ long. It’s easier for your strip sets to distort if you are using longer strips.
Lay your strips right sides together and pin in a few places:
Tip #2: When stitching the strips, do not pull on them or push them as you are joining them with the 1/4″ seam.
Tip #3: Now, press open the strip set. This is where my Pressing Vs Ironing video, found in this blog post, comes in handy. It is important not to distort the seam of the joined strips. If you iron along the seam instead of pressing, you run the risk of stretching the fabric or the seam or both.
Tip #4: To add to the strips set above, the next tip is to start the next strip on the end where you stopped stitching the first two together. So you are basically beginning your stitching on opposite ends for each strip you add to the strip set. If you join all the strips starting at the same end, that can lead to strip set distortion.
To be safe, after adding each additional strip to a strip set, finger press open and measure to be sure your seams are accurate and the size of the strip set measures correctly.
Blocks You Can Make!
Now, what can you make with strips set? There are so many possibilities! I will show a few of the blocks I make with strips sets. You can make an entire block or you can use strip sets to make units within a particular block design.
First, from the strip set you will cut segments the size required for your block or unit you are making. Here’s an example below of segmenting a strip set:
So now, what kind of units or blocks can you make from strips sets? Here is the simplest: the Four-Patch block:
This block is made from segments of 2 strips joined together:
Next block is the Nine-Patch:
For this block you will need two strip sets. Then you’ll have 2 segments cut from one of the sets and 1 segment cut from the other. Here are the steps in a diagram:
Here are some other blocks that can be made from strips sets:
Many, many other things can be done with strip sets! You can make borders with strip sets, like a piano key border or a checkerboard border.
Google quilt blocks and quilts you can make with strip sets. The possibilities are endless! Here’s a pattern of mine where I used strip sets: Country Dance
The setting blocks used with the Churn Dash blocks to make this quilt top are created using strip sets!
So, share with me your experiences with strip sets or any questions you may have and I will enter you into a drawing to win the Country Dance pattern! **We have a winner! Congrats, Barb Mapes!***
Dort Werner says
Thanks Deanne! I’m always learning something new from you.
Lori Gross says
Always such well-written tips. Thanks for sharing!
Barb Mapes says
I just finished making 9 patches using strip sets. I like your idea of cutting the strips into 2 pieces for better accuracy. Thanks for your helpful tips!
Robin McGuire says
I love using strip sets! I would use them to sew one of the units in the churn dash block, especially if making more than one block in the same fabrics. Great tips!
Just finished a piano key border and used strip sets to make it. Wish I knew pressing them open was the best way. I did do it on some but, did try the other way on some. I ended up with some distortion 🙁 on the ones I didn’t press open. Every quilt is a learning experience! Thank you for the tips!
LEWCRESE SHIELDS says
I have started finger pressing the strips as I sew and then when you press the entire strip set with the iron, the seams are already going in the direction you want, the seam is totally open so no extra folds. Also as you lay it out on your ironing board, make sure it is straight before you begin pressing. You can actually press a curve in the strip set where there is no curve when you press. Love that you are sharing your tips, because when I was learning people were not that free with their tips for success.
I’m getting ready to start a quilt called Sew Many Strips. It’s the perfect timing to read your blog. I definitely prefer cutting my 42″ steps in half before sewing strips together. There are so many great quilts to make from strips. Thanks for your timely blog!