How To: Sew a Diagonal Strip Quilt

January 18th, 2014

quilt_full_theprojectgirl

Strip quilting with the Quilt As You Go method is pretty much the only way I can quilt these days. It’s such a quick and easy way to make a simple quilt, and be done with it in a matter of hours. I call it my 2-nap quilt, as I really can only quilt when my boys are napping, and a strip quilt takes about 2 nap times to get done start to finish. And lets be honest… I haven’t had much time to practice extensive quilting techniques, so this is pretty much as good as it gets for me right now.

Here’s a quick tutorial on my diagonal strip quilt, it’s a little bit more tricky than a standard strip quilt. First step is super easy – I cut 5″ strips out of all of my fabrics – You can do this with any size strip – a jelly roll would save you time on the cutting, but take more time on the sewing. I like the 5″ because I can cut all the left-over strips in half and use the 2.5″ for binding strips.

All the fabric is from my new line with Riley Blake Fabric - Lost & Found 2.
quilt_patterns_theprojectgirl

I laid them out in an order that I liked, and then moved onto the batting and backing. You want to cut your backing to your final quilt size (give or take for squaring up). For this quilt, I used the whole width of the fabric – so like 44″ and for the length I went about 64″ Then I cut the batting to match. I use a 100% cotton backing because it has a nice tack to it and sticks with the cotton fabric without any shifting. I iron the backing to the fabric with a hot iron to make the two pieces stick better to each other, and to remove any wrinkles. And I’m laughing as I look at this really wrinkly picture! I must have ironed it after this!

I wanted to make a diagonal strip quilt (never done this before), and thought it would be cool if I started at one corner, and then reversed the diagonal. So first step was to make a base-line to end my first set of strips.

quilt_layout1_theprojectgirl

I used my fussy cutter, to get a good straight edge from my fabric. I used my long ruler to follow that line and draw directly on the batting.

quilt_layout2_theprojectgirl

Okay so I don’t have a photo of the next step, but basically I laid out all my strips FACE-UP on the batting, starting on the baseline I just drew, and trimmed the ends about an inch longer than the end of the quilt.

Then all you do is start sewing. I rolled up the majority of the quilt so it would fit in my machine arm, laid down my first strip and sewed it down right-side-up. I just use a standard sewing foot and keep my feet in a normal position.

quilt_sew1_theprojectgirl

I took my second strip, and placed it right-side to right-side – matching up the seams, and sewed down. quilt_sew2_theprojectgirl

Flip the strip over – exposing the right-side. I recommend pressing this down to keep all your seams nice and flat. Then you take the next strip and again place it right-side to right-side – match up the seams, and sew.

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This is what the quilt starts looking like as you sew and flip, press, and repeat.

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And here is the whole set-up with my rolled-up batting and backing. I unroll it as I add more strips.

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You can see the backing and batting is all being quilted together in one step.

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Once all the strips are sewed on, the quilt looks something like this. You can see the selvage edge going diagonal across the middle of the quilt. 
quilt_layout4_theprojectgirl

I used my long ruler again to mark a diagonal line on the top of the fabric. You need to make sure that you’re not sewing on a weird angle from this point, and also to make sure that your selvage edge all gets covered by your next strip. quilt_line_theprojectgirl

I laid out all my strips in the order I wanted to sew them on. For the longer ones, I had to sew extra to make the strips longer. I decided to sew a different fabric on the end, but using the same fabric would give a more seamless look for your strips.

quilt_layout5_theprojectgirl

Once I was happy with the layout, I pinned the first strip right-side to right-side along the line I just drew, rolled up the excess, and sewed down the seam.

quilt_sew7_theprojectgirl

Then I followed the same process as above and sewed all the rest of the strips down. Then I simply squared it up to prepare it for binding.

quilt_cut_theprojectgirl

You can see the quilting lines on the back here:

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For the binding, I cut any remaining strips in half long ways, and sewed a long line of scrap binding. Then I just machine bound it (because I have no patience for hand binding!) really quickly using this machine binding method.

You can see the scrap binding here – how it’s all the different patterns. I love how this binding looks!

stripquilt_theprojectgirl

quilt_front_theprojectgirl

So that’s pretty much it! If I missed any steps, or you have any questions, just leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to reply. This quilt took about 5 hours.quilt_full_theprojectgirl

I almost forgot to show my pink/red colorway of Lost & Found 2. I made this quilt using a standard side-to-side strip quilt method. I cut varied thicknesses for my strips, and sewed several lines across each strip. This is a smaller baby-sized quilt – approx. 36×50, and took less than 2 hours to complete start to finish. stripquilt_pink_theprojectgirl

 

21 Responses to “How To: Sew a Diagonal Strip Quilt”

  1. Tiffany says:

    These are so precious! I couldn’t sew myself out of a fabric box so I’ll have to stick with my knit blankets. The fabrics you used are beautiful.

  2. Jen Allyson says:

    Thanks :) :)

  3. Great tutorial! I LOVE to sew and even owned a sewing machine before I knew you could use it to sew on paper – LOL! I have been wanting to make a simple quilt and this looks like the perfect starter for me! Marking this down as a definite project for 2014 – thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Susan says:

    Beautiful! Love how it is all sewn and quilted as you go!! Can’t wait to see more!

  5. lou says:

    omg this is just awesome. sewing and quilting in one step is such a time saver so that the quilt becomes a one-day project! wow. i’ll consider that for my next one (after i finish the one that is waiting to be finished since 2 months…) :-)

  6. Toniemarie says:

    This is so neat! Thank you for sharing! I think this would work with old blue jeans! I have 2 large totes over flowing! LOL

  7. Elizabeth A says:

    How much total fabric for the front? I want to make something like this for a friend with cancer to take to chemo.

  8. Gail says:

    How much fabric was used for the front of diagonal strip quilt

  9. [...] so I have been looking around for tutorials and ideas. I am thinking something simple like a strip quilt but I plan to freestyle it a bit (like sherry from young house love) since this will be my first [...]

  10. Jen Allyson says:

    less than 2 yards

  11. Jen Allyson says:

    less than 2 yards. It really depends on how large of a quilt you want to make. There is very little waste especially if you do a standard horizontal quilt.

  12. Another Gail says:

    I am definitely going to try this!
    By the way, you used the word ‘backing’ instead of the word ‘batting’ two times in the batting/backing portion of the instructions. You might want to change it so new quilters will not be confused.
    Thanks a bunch for the new quilt idea!

  13. Jen Allyson says:

    THanks! I’ll fix it!

  14. Laura Alvarez says:

    Thanks for this tutorial. I am a VERY new quilter and was looking for a simple quilt pattern to try. This looks perfect. I’m going to grommet some fabric tomorrow and give it a go. I may try the horizontal one first as it looks even simpler than the diagonal though I do love that diagonal design.

  15. Clare says:

    I love them both, although the yellow and blue diagonal is my favourite as those are my favourite colours. I do have one question: At the very beginning, when you sew the first strip down, do you sew both sides of it or only the one side shown in the photo?

  16. Jen Allyson says:

    Only the one side. Once it’s stitched right-side down, then you flip it over so it’s right-side-up and stitch another strip right-side-down over the top of it, and then flip that one.

  17. Laura Alvarez says:

    I just finished my version of this quilt and love how it came out. I can’t believe how quick and easy this pattern is. Thanks so much for a great tutorial. Not sure if I can add a link but if you want to see it there is a picture on Flickr. My username is laurmann. It’s a music theme and I made it for my son who loves it.

  18. Jamie says:

    I am so excited to try this quilt! I have young children and am excited to be able to accomplish something during naps. Your tutorial is so easy to follow I was wondering if you would show\tell how you bind the quilt? I am new to sewing and have no idea how to bind it all together.

  19. Jen Allyson says:

    I just follow an online tutorial every time I need to bind (because its not so often, and I forget in between!) I always machine bind because I don’t have the time to hand bind. So just do a quick search for “machine bind tutorial” and you’ll be able to find some good resources including you-tube videos that can walk you through it.

  20. Nicole says:

    This is so great! So does that mean that you don’t make bias tape? You just use the strips as they are? I just love your fabric choices!

  21. Jen Allyson says:

    Yep! I just cut strips. You can sew them together on the bias so you don’t get a big wad of fabric where all the seams meet, but you don’t need to cut the strips on the bias (though you can if you have a squarish piece of fabric it works out much better than stripping it).

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