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!