• Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along: Part 6, Making and Attaching Binding

    This is it, y'all... the final installment of the Bloomerie Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along! The only things left to do are squaring up the quilt (again) and making & attaching the binding. (And then, of course, snuggle under the newest quilt on the block!)


    So let's start by squaring up the quilt one last time. We're going to be using the same basic principles we used to square up in Part 4. To sum up, fold the quilt in half, use your rulers to determine your cut line, and trim the edges. (Always check and double-check before you cut.)

    Once we've done that, we'll need to figure out how much binding we'll need for our quilt. To do this, measure the outside perimeter of the quilt and then add 10" - 15" for good measure. Here's the math for my quilt:

    • Quilt size = 42" x 56"
    • Perimeter = 42 + 56 x 2 = 196"
    • Binding needed = 196 + 12 = 208"

    So now I know I need 208" of binding to do this quilt. And since we're using a few of our leftover jelly roll strips, we now need to determine how many strips are needed to get 208". So here goes a little more math:

    • Jelly Roll Strip Length = 42" (each strip is a little different, so I'm taking the length of my shortest jelly roll strip minus 1" for the selvages, which we'll trim off)
    • How many strips do I need = 208 ÷ 42 = 4.95... (208 is the binding needed from above, 42 is my jelly roll strip length)
    • Round up that number = 5

    So now we know we need 5 jelly roll strips for this 42 x 56" quilt. Let's start making the binding.


    Grab your 5 jelly roll strips and trim off all the selvage edges, like shown above.


    Grab 2 of your jelly roll strips and place them right sides together as shown above. All your edges should line up. With your ruler, mark a line from corner to corner. Pin or clip your strips if necessary to keep them in place. Using your sewing machine, stitch along that line.


    When you're done, you'll end up with a piece like this that is joined on the bias (front side is on left, back side is on right). See that triangle on the right side? We'll be trimming that off in the next step.

    With your ruler, line the 1/4" ruler mark with your stitch line. With your rotary cutter, trim off the excess. And you'll be left with that cute little triangle -- and a perfect 1/4" seam allowance.

    Repeat these steps for all strips until you end up with 1 long piece. 


    Take your 1 long binding strip over to the ironing board and press all those bias seams open. Then, fold the strip in half and press along the entire length, wrong sides together. The picture on the bottom shows the piece after it's been pressed. Just wanted to show you the crease. Keep yours folded together.


    Now, grab your quilt binding and let's clip or pin the binding to the entire perimeter of the top of the quilt. Align the raw edges of the quilt and the raw edges of the binding strips. 

    Next, we want to make sure none of the bias seams end up at the quilt corners... so start Wonder Clipping the binding somewhere along the middle of one of the sides or the bottom edge. I chose to start on 1 of the long sides, and the black arrow shows my starting and ending points, with the excess pulled up to show you. When you're clipping the binding to the quilt, if any of your bias seams end up within a few inches of any of the 4 corners, adjust your starting point so no seams end up near the corners. 


    To go around the corners, fold the strip up, creating a diagonal fold. Finger press (use your finger like an iron to press a crease), and keeping that diagonal fold in place, bring the strip back in line with the next quilt edge. (See my lovely illustration above.) You'll do the same thing when you're stitching the binding to the front of the quilt.


    Now, with your binding clipped/pinned to the perimeter of the quilt, power up your sewing machine and let's start attaching the binding to the front of the quilt. Start stitching about 6" from the beginning of your binding, using a 1/4" seam allowance. (You'll want to leave those 6" available so we can piece the beginning and end of the binding strip together.) 

    When you reach a corner, stop 1/4" before you reach the end and then stitch a diagonal line to the corner. (Left image shows me stopping 1/4" from the end; right images shows me stitching diagonally down to the corner.) Stitching this diagonal line with help us make the diagonal fold.

    When you reach the corner, fold the strip to create a diagonal fold. Finger press and then while keeping the diagonal fold in place, pull the strip in alignment with the next edge. (See above.) Continue stitching 1/4" seam allowance on the new edge. Repeat this all around the quilt, until you get to within 10-15" of where you started stitching. Stop stitching when you get that close because we'll need to join the loose ends of our binding strips. Backstitch at the end and remove the quilt from the sewing machine.

    Starting with the first binding strip (where we started stitching it to the quilt), lay it in place along the quilt's edge. Do the same for the other binding strip tail, but lay it on top of the first strip. (See left image above.) By finger pressing, crease the second binding tail where it meets the first tail's end. From that crease, measure 2 1/2" (which is the width of our jelly roll binding strip) and mark it with a disappearing marker.

    Cut a straight line along your marked line. (You can very faintly see my crease mark above. Look between the red and white striped scarf and the red sweater. Just to reiterate, I measured 2 1/2" from that crease mark to make my cutting line. You can see that the 2 binding strip tails overlap. This is what we want. Check and double-check before you do any cutting.)


    Open up the binding strip tails and place them with right sides together. Pin or clip these strips together, and using your ruler and disappearing marker, draw a diagonal line as shown above. (Mine is a faint white line.)



    Before we stitch over this diagonal line, let's make sure our binding isn't twisted. Fold the strip back in half and make sure it lines up with the quilt's edge without any twisted fabric. If it's right, head on over to the sewing machine and stitch on top of your diagonal line.

    Remove the quilt from your sewing machine. Now it's time to trim that triangle off, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. Use the same technique that we did in the beginning of this tutorial (line your 1/4" ruler mark on your stitch line).

    Use your fingers to press open the seams. (You can also press with a warm iron if needed.) Fold the binding closed and return to your sewing machine to finish stitching the binding onto the quilt top. 


    Alright, we've made it to the final step: attaching the quilt binding to the back. Pull out those handy Wonder Clips and fold the binding over to the back side of the quilt (left image above). You can also pin it or press it with an iron to help keep the shape as you hand stitch. Start with needle and thread in hand and use a thread length that's comfortable for you to work with. (I usually work with a yard at a time.)

    Put a knot at the end of your thread. Now let's hide that knot in our quilt sandwich under the binding -- so it's completely hidden. 

    Next, we're going to ladder stitch all the way around, taking stitches that are 1/8" - 1/4" long. Nothing bigger than that. Pull the needle through the folded part of the binding (middle image), then take a stitch in the quilt sandwich -- just through the batting and backing layers and not the quilt top (right image). 

    When you're stitching through the quilt sandwich layer, make sure it's just to the outside of the stitch line created by attaching the binding to the front. (You can see my stitch line under the binding in the right image.) 

    By using a ladder stitch, we're able to hide our threads completely. I've drawn a little picture of a ladder stitch above so you can see how this is going to work.

    And gosh, look at that! We're all done! Can't wait to throw mine in the washing machine... I love that crinkly look quilts get after being washed. 

    I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial! If you have any questions about any of the steps, leave a comment for us and we'll reply.


    Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along: Part 6
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  • Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along: Part 5, Quilting

    We are sooo close to being done with this jelly roll strip quilt! Are you excited?! I sure am!

    And with our quilt sandwich all made, today we're going to start quilting. Straight line quilting is a great place to start when quilting for the first time. Though the technique is simple (and by technique I really mean just stitching along in a straight line), the results can be quite eye-catching and very modern! 


    To start, let's go back to our quilt sandwich and gently roll or fold it toward center from both edges (image above). We're doing this so we can easily move it to the sewing machine without messing up our quilt sandwich efforts. Also, I find it helpful to have the quilt rolled up like this while quilting the first few lines on to the quilt. (After the first few lines, I find it easier to work with a looser quilt.)

    Now a few things to keep in mind while quilting:

    1. Make sure your sewing machine is on a large table with plenty of open space. We do this so our quilt doesn't hang over the edge of the table and distort the stitches and straight lines. (Quilts can be pretty heavy -- and if they hang off the table, your quilt will have a hard time moving through the machine. In fact, I'm guessing it won't move very much!)
    2. Look through your sewing machine feet, find your walking foot and use this one for straight line quilting -- or if you have built-in dual feed, select the proper foot and engage the dual feed for quilting. (I have built-in dual feed, so if you notice my foot doesn't look your typical walking foot in the pictures shown in this tutorial, that's why.) Your walking foot or dual-feed, along with your machine's feed dogs, will help feed your top and bottom fabrics evenly.
    3. Let's nose through your sewing machine accessories again, this time looking for a seam guide (see image below). You can also check your sewing machine manual to see if it's included. If you have one, go ahead and install it. We'll use this to keep our lines straight as we quilt.
    4. If you've never quilted before, make a small quilt sandwich out of some leftover fabric scraps (not the left-over jelly roll strips, though!) and batting and do a trial run. You can also do this to determine if you want to change up your stitch length or choose a decorative stitch.
    5. Get something to drink and put some of your favorite music on.


    Load the quilt on to your sewing machine. We're going to start quilting in the center of the quilt. (That's why we folded the edges toward the center when we rolled up our quilt sandwich -- leaving a nice open space in the middle of the quilt for us to begin.) 

    You'll need to use your hands to gently support the quilt throughout this entire process. Don't pull the quilt top with your hands, though; your sewing machine will feed the fabric through. Your hands should rest comfortably to the left and right of your the foot/needle on the bed of your sewing machine.

    When you take your first few stitches, make sure you backstitch to lock your stitch. You'll do this at the beginning and end of every new quilted line. Some sewing machines allow you to program an automatic backstitch, but if you don't have that, fear not... there's a special button for that (image above). You just need to take about 2-3 backstitches to lock it in. Easy.

    Now, feed the quilt through in straight lines, using both of your hands to help guide the quilt. Make sure you don't let the quilt hang off the table edges.

    You can space your lines any way you want. Mine are random, with lines 1/4" - 2" apart. You can use the right or left edge of your foot lined up against a jelly roll strip to help keep your lines straight (image 1). Alternatively, if you have a seam guide, you can move it to the left or right and line it up on a previous line or a jelly roll strip edge (image 2).

    Quilt to your heart's content. Be sure to take breaks -- or do the quilting over the course of a couple of days. This is not typically something that can be done in a single setting. Quilting takes time!

    I'll be back on Friday with our final installment of the Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along. We'll be making and attaching the binding!



    Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along: Part 5 (you are here) 



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    1. Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along: Part 4


      We are moving right along with our Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along! Today, with our quilt top and back all pieced, we'll focus our efforts on making the quilt sandwich. 


      Before we assemble the quilt sandwich, though, we're going to square up our quilt top. Just the quilt top. If you look at all your jelly roll strips, you'll notice the selvages are still there on both sides. One of the selvages is usually white while the other selvage edge is typically the same color and print as the fabric (see image above). We'll need to trim both sides during the squaring up process. 


      To square up, we'll need to determine how much needs to come off both sides and make straight cuts from there. How do we determine this? As you can see from image 1 above, some selvages are wider than others. The red strip in image 1 has a slightly wider selvage than the rest and is the one that we'll use to determine how much to cut off. Do this for both sides.

      For squaring up, we'll need our 6" x 24" ruler (or 12" x 12" square ruler if you have one), rotary cutter and cutting mat. Start by folding the quilt top in half lengthwise (your top and bottom jelly roll strips will end up being back to back this way). Since we kept our 1/4" seams nice and neat while piecing those strips, the edges match up well and are straight. :-) We won't have to trim the top or bottom -- just the selvage sides. 

      With the quilt top still folded, place it on your cutting mat (image 2) and line your ruler up for a straight cut on the fabric (image 3). You can achieve this by lining up the bottom of the ruler on the folded edge and the long side of your ruler on the selvage edge. See image 3 above.


      Once it's lined up and straight (check and double-check here -- you can't undo a cut!), go ahead and trim the selvage edges (image 1). Do the same for the other selvage edge and you'll end up with a squared up quilt top (image 2). Looks great!

      Now on to the quilt sandwich!



      The quilt sandwich is made up of 3 parts: the quilt top, the batting, and the quilt back. To make the quilt sandwich, we're going to need a bit of open space -- either on a hard/carpeted floor or a wall. We're also going to need some masking tape or other heavier duty tape. (Scotch tape will not do.) 

      One more note: the quilt back should be the largest of the 3 sandwich pieces, followed by the batting and the quilt top (which is the smallest). When creating the quilt sandwich, you'll want to center each layer on top of the previous layer. This is extremely useful for the quilting process, when some minor shifting and shrinking from the actual quilting will occur. 

      To make the quilt sandwich, start by laying the quilt backing out on the floor (or taped to the wall) with the right side down and the wrong side facing up. Use your hand to smooth out any wrinkles; you want this to be completely flat so you don't have any puckers or tucks when you start quilting. Take your time here.

      Once you've done that, grab some tape and tape the backing to the floor (or wall). When I tape, I find it helpful to start with a short end and then tape the opposite end, pulling things taut. Don't pull so tight that you distort the fabric. We're just trying to remove all wrinkles and get the backing flat and straight. Then tape the long side in a few spots and again, tape the opposite side. Continue pulling the fabric taut to remove wrinkles. I do the 4 corners last, again working with opposites. Tape those, too. Then give it a final check and make sure it's wrinkle-free.

      With the quilt backing laid out, it's time to layer the quilt batting on top of it. Just like with the backing, use your hand to smooth out wrinkles and creases. I like to work from the middle out. Make sure it's centered on the quilt back. Next, we're going to spray baste the batting to the quilt back.* To do so, fold the top half of the batting down. Spray a light layer of a temporary adhesive spray like Sulky KK2000 (or 505 or whatever you have) on to the batting. Gently roll the batting back down, smoothing it out on to the quilt backing as you go. Repeat those steps for the bottom half of the batting.

      Now it's time to put on the final layer of the quilt sandwich: the squared up quilt top. We'll do this just like we did the batting: lay it out centered on the batting, fold back the top half of the quilt top, lightly spray the adhesive onto the batting, and smooth the quilt top back down onto the batting. Do the same for the bottom half. 

      When you're all done, give it all a final check to make sure all fabric is pulled taut and there are no wrinkles or creases on any of the layers. Now you're ready to move on to quilting in Part 5! Check back on Monday for that tutorial!

      And if you have any questions, leave them in the comments section!


      *For the adhesive spray, choose a temporary adhesive spray like Sulky KK2000. It's never gummed up my sewing machine, is non-toxic and non-flammable. Also, since it's temporary, you can reposition the quilt top should you need to. (Please read the instructions on your can before using.)


      Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along: Part 4 (you are here)



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    2. Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along: Part 3


      Thursday's here and as promised, we've got part 3 of our Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along. We just finished piecing the quilt top and now it's time to focus on the quilt back. If you're just joining us, check out part 1 and part 2 to see what we've done so far.


      Before we move along to the quilt back, let's do 1 more thing to the quilt top: press those seams. Typically, I like to press my seams open because it reduces bulk for quilting and gives a cleaner line. However, because our quilt top is just straight strips, I personally feel like pressing the seams open gives the strips a little too much give -- leaving them more vulnerable to stretching and ripping. 

      So on this strip quilt, we're going to be pressing our seams in 1 direction (images 2 and 3). Use a hot iron to press all those seams. When you're done with that, give the quilt top a good press on the front, too (image 4), making sure you keep all those seams pressed down to one side.

      Let's turn our attention to the quilt back. The graphic you see above is the design I came up with for my quilt back. Feel free to follow it to a T or come up with your own design. This is a great place to try out something new. If you're going to come up with your own design, just keep in mind that your quilt back needs to be a few inches larger all around than your quilt top. I suggest a minimum of 44" x 60" for this quilt. (These extra inches are your insurance policy that your backing will be large enough to compensate for any shifting and shrinking that will happen during the machine-quilting process.)

      Personally, I'm a big fan of white (and off-white, winter white, cream, ivory...) -- so that's what I'm using for the majority of my quilt back, along with 4 jelly roll strips that were unused from my quilt top.

      Here's what you'll need to cut:

      • 2 pieces, each 26 1/4" x 44/45" - Moda Bella Solid in Off-White
      • 4 jelly roll strips: 2 strips cut to 37 1/4" long and 2 strips cut to 34 1/4" long
      • 2 pieces, each 2 1/2" x 7 1/4" - Moda Bella Solid in Off-White
      • 2 pieces, each 2 1/2" x 10 1/4" - Moda Bella Solid in Off-White

      The measurements listed above do include the 1/4" seam allowance.


      Once we've got these pieces cut, lay them out as shown in the diagram so you know what needs to be pieced together. You're going to be sewing a 1/4" seam along the short 2 1/2" sides. To do so, take 1 of your 37 1/4" jelly roll strips and place a 7 1/4" solid strip on top, both pieces with right sides together. Pin or clip if needed and stitch using a 1/4" seam on your sewing machine (image 1). Repeat this process for the remaining strips (pairing the 34 1/4" with the 10 1/4" strip and the 37 1/4" with the 7 1/4" strip) and you'll end up with 4 pieced strips (image 2), each 44" long.

      Place them in the order you want for your quilt back because the next step is to piece these 4 strips together. Wonder Clip or pin in place, with right sides together. Use 1/4" seams and stitch along the long sides. When you're done piecing them together, it's time to press your seams in 1 direction (image 3). Then, flip it over and give the front a good press (image 4).

      Now it's time to piece the jelly roll strips to the top and bottom parts of the quilt back. Place the pieced jelly roll strips and 1 of the 26 1/4" x 44" pieces right sides together (image 1). Wonder Clip or pin them in place (image 2). Piece together on your sewing machine using a 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat the process to attach the bottom 26 1/4" x 44" piece. Press the seams down (image 3). Flip it over and press the quilt back (image 4).

      You've now got a quilt top and quilt back! Woo hoo!!!! 

      Check back in on Saturday, when we'll square up and get our quilt sandwich on for Part 4! And if you have any questions, leave them in the comments.


      Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along: Part 1

      Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along: Part 2

      Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along: Part 3 (you are here)

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    3. Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along - Part 2


      Happy Monday! I hope y'all had a chance to gather up your supplies for our Jelly Roll Strip quilt quilt-along! Today, as promised, we're going to start piecing the quilt top. The finished size will be approximately 42" x 56". Let's begin...

      Typically when you're making a quilt, you start off with cutting fabric. Fortunately for us, we're using a pre-cut jelly roll -- so we'll save a lot of time and bypass this step. (Don't you feel smart?)


      Step 1: All we have to do to start this strip quilt is unroll the jelly roll and press all your strips with a hot iron. (Now seriously, pat yourself on the back for choosing to work with pre-cuts because you've just saved yourself hours!)

      Now let's back up a second to that whole 'pressing' thing. If you're confused about pressing vs. ironing, here's the low-down:  when you're ironing, you drag the iron back and forth on your fabric. With pressing, you press the iron down on the fabric and then you lift it up, moving on to the next section till the whole thing is done. I know... I know... sounds nit-picky. But pressing will keep your fabric from stretching and distorting out of shape. And in the end, you'll have a better looking quilt with straighter lines.


      Step 2: Next, it's time to layout the quilt top. Using 28 of your jelly roll strips, lay them out in the order you want. This will leave you with some extra strips, which we'll use to have a little fun on the back of the quilt and also for our quilt binding. 

      Use a large table, the floor or a design board to lay out your strips. Just use what you have to get a good visual -- and spend a little time here to get the look you want. Also, keep in mind that if you have any directional fabrics you'll want to make sure you don't lay them out upside down. :-) 


      Step 3: Once you get them ordered the way you want, it's time to pin or Wonder Clip those strips together, two at a time. 

      Starting at the top of the quilt, grab the first 2 strips (see image 1 above). Place fabric right sides together (image 2), with the first strip on top and the second strip on the bottom (image 3). (The right side of fabric is the side with the print on it -- so our printed sides should be facing each other.) Be sure to line up the edges to make sure your strips are straight. Then pin or use your Wonder Clips along the length of the strip to keep the fabric in place (image 4).


      Step 4: Now it's time to turn on the sewing machine and piece your strips together, two at a time, using a 1/4" seam. (Make sure you've got a fresh needle in for the job. You'd be amazed at how much of a difference a good needle makes in the piecing process.) 

      To make it go a little quicker, chain piece the strips (image 2). Think of chain piecing like your own mini assembly line: Feed paired strips through the machine one after the other, without cutting the threads between strips. This saves time and thread. Be sure to feed your strips in order so you don't lose your layout. And remember to remove your pins or Wonder Clips before they come in contact with the foot or needle.

      You'll end up with 14 pairs of strips -- all connected by thread. 


      Step 5: Since our strips are still connected to one another from chain piecing (image 1), it's time to snip those threads (image 2). Using a seam ripper or scissors, snip the threads in between each strip. Remember to keep them in order (image 3).


      Step 6: Taking two pairs at a time, open up the strips (image 1), place fabric right sides together and line up the top edge (image 2). Then pin or Wonder Clip the strips along the top edge to keep the strips in place. You're going to be piecing along the Wonder Clipped (or pinned) side. And again, remember to keep all your strips in order!

      Step 7: Next, we're going to chain piece these together, two pairs at a time. Just like we did the first time around. And when you're done, you'll have 7 sets of strips (7 sets x 4 across = 28 strips). Snip the threads in between all the strips. And, yes, remember to keep them in order! :-) 


      Step 8: To complete the rest of the quilt top, repeat steps 3, 4, 5 and 6 until all your strips are joined together. This means you'll be pairing, pinning and piecing sets of 4 (image 1), then sets of 8 (image 2), and finally the 2 pieces that will give you a completed quilt top! 

      Note: When pairing, pinning and piecing the sets of 4, you'll notice that you'll have 1 set that doesn't have a match. No problem! Just piece it to the bottom of your last set. The point is just to get all strip sets pieced together to create the quilt top.

      Now, step back and have a look at your completed quilt top! We're almost there! 

      Check back in on Thursday for part 3. And if you have any questions, leave them in the comments area and we'll respond as soon as possible!


      Jelly Roll Strip Quilt - Part 1 


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