Welcome to the revolution! Instead of creating a fabric collection of prized 2 1/2” strip sets in these perfectly contained jelly rolls, we are creating a revolution! Untie those bundles, iron your strips, and use them! You fell in love with all the colors wound together, wouldn’t it be great to see them in a quilt?

These strips are meant to be used and meant to save you time.  Think about it! 2 1/2” precut strips are already cut for you. Such a timesaver! Your prep work is already completed!

Use these precut strips to create a variety of quilts and create them fast!  Traditional to modern, simple to complex - these strips can have a large variety of designs.  Once you understand the proper techniques of sewing these strips together, you can create quilts to your hearts content. No longer will these rolls stay on the shelf. Turn that fabric into a quilt!

No need for a fancy pattern.  Use basic quilt math to create quilt tops with ease.  We will show you how!

**These tips are considering you are working with a 2 1/2” x WOF(42”) strip.**

Have you ever sewn multiple strips together and noticed a curve in the strip set?  There’s a reason. Consider how your sewing machine works.  The bottom layer of fabric is pulled along by the feed dogs underneath while the presser foot rests on the top layer of fabric. Some slight shifting occurs. After several seams the shifting exaggerates into a noticeable curve in your strip set.

There is a simple technique to avoid the curve. Simply alternate your sewing direction for each added strip.  You will balance out the shift and your strip set will lay flat!Strip Sewing Directions

We recommend pressing the seam before added the next strip. Don’t worry about remembering the direction of each seam.  Before taking your strips to the ironing board, place a little pin at the finish end of the seam.  The pin is your marker to start the next seam from that strip end!

This sewing technique applies to all forms of quilt top sewing, not just strips.  Did sew your wonderful quilt blocks into several rows? Use the same process to sew the rows together! You have more seams to line up to help prevent a ‘curve’ from happening, but you should still alternate starting direction for each seam.

Quilt Block Row Sewing Directions

 

Here is where strip piecing can save you so much time!

Here is a simple Rail Fence quilt. It is a 36” baby quilt, with 6” blocks.

Rail Fence sampler

To make a simple Rail Fence quilt with 6” blocks, would you rather cut 108 rectangles or 36 blocks? Which sounds easier and faster? The 36 blocks of course! 

Don’t follow the pattern instructions to cut 108 pink or purple 2 ½” x 6 ½” rectangles. Sew three 2 1/2” x WOF strips together in a pink – purple - pink pattern. Make six strip sets. Then sub-cut those strip sets into 6 1/2” blocks. Careful cutting yields 6 blocks from each strip set. This same process works for other strip sets, too. 

3 strips = 6 1/2” block

4 strips = 8 1/2” block

5 strips = 10 1/2” block

Now what about a Nine Patch Quilt? You’ve seen quilt patterns that require cutting more than 500 itty bitty 2 1/2” squares. Are they crazy? Like us, you want an easier way. So, apply the strip piecing technique to this pattern, too. It’s a great time saver. 

Here’s how. Create two strip sets of alternating colors and sew them together with our (no curve) strip technique. Choose one color and press all seams toward that color.

nine patch strips

Then sub-cut into new 2 1/2” strips.  See the pattern emerging? 

nine_patch_strip_singles

Arrange the segments into a nine-patch block. Match the seam allowances and stitch the segments together. Make more patches in less time!

NinePatch_Blocks

If you love this idea and want more direction, check out this book: Strip-Smart Quilts II by Kathy Brown.  Her instructions utilize strip piecing and has 16 designs to work with.  Imagine these quilts in your favorite jelly rolls!

Strip Smart Quilts



We hope this Strip Piecing process inspires you and saves you time!



Author: Ellen Ault   Sewing Directions by Karen Grof