A strip quilt is a quick, easy and time-saving way to whip up a quilt and is the ultimate quilt for beginner quilters.
I made this strip quilt as a gift for a baby shower. With less than two weeks to complete the quilt, that meant piecing it and quilting it, I had to found a quilt pattern that I could sew quickly. At my local quilt shop, a strip-pieced quilt was on display and I immediately realize it was the answer.
This quilt pattern can be used to make a quilt for a nursery, toddler, tween, teen, or adult just by varying the fabric choice. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make a strip quilt.
New to quilting? Check out our Beginner Quilting Series.
Learn more about how to make this strip-pieced quilt by watching our video or keep reading this post for a photo tutorial with step-by-step instructions.
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How to sew a strip quilt
This quilt lends itself well to a variety of fabric options. Choose a favorite feature or panel print and then choose three complementary fabrics that look good together for the front of the quilt and one fabric for the back of the quilt.
Since I was making a quilt for a girl, as the main feature fabric I choose a Disney Princess fabric. Below are the fabrics I choose.
- Feature or Panel Print - 1 1/2 yards (Disney Princess)
- Fabric #2 - 1/2 yard (Striped)
- Fabric #3 - 1/3 yard (Hot Pink)
- Fabric # 4 Strips and Binding - 1 yard (Purple)
- Fabric #5 Backing - To Be Determined
Note: My fabric choices are in parenthesis.
OTHER SUPPLIES NEEDED:
STRIP QUILT STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 1: Fabric Preparation
For the best result, you should prewash/preshrink the fabric. If you want to prevent fraying when you wash the fabric, check out our tutorial.
Once the fabric is washed, iron the fabric to remove wrinkles.
STEP 2: About the Pattern
This quilt is easy to make. Before I began the quilt, I drafted the quilt pattern which is below. The strip quilt pattern shows the finished measurements and placement of the fabric strips.
STEP 3: Cutting Fabric
The easiest way to cut the fabric is to use a rotary cutter and mat because you can get a nice straight cut. But scissors will work. The cutting measurements include 1/4" seam allowances.
Begin by cutting the feature fabric. The feature fabric width may have to be adjusted slightly depending on the design. In my case, I had to adjust the widths because I want the whole Disney princess block displayed. I didn't want to cut in the middle of the faces of the princess.
After preparing the feature fabric, remove the selvages and measure the length of the fabric from edge to edge. This measurement will be used when cutting the other fabric strips.
From Feature Print, cut:
2 pcs. 4" x WOF (Width of Fabric)
1 pc. - 24" x WOF
Cut off the selvages and measure the length of the feature fabric from edge to edge.
From Fabric #2, cut:
2 pcs. 6 1/2" x feature fabric length (FFL)
From Fabric #3, cut:
4 pcs. 2" x FFL
From Fabric #4, cut
4 pcs. 3" x FFL
STEP 4: Assembling Quilt Top
To piece the strips together, it is easier if you sew the top section and bottom section separately and then attach these sections to the middle feature fabric. On a work surface, organize the top section of strips. Grab the strips in the order to be sewn together and take them to the sewing machine.
At the sewing machine attach the quarter-inch piecing presser foot. Take the first strip and second strip, align the raw edges with the right sides together. Position the raw edges of the fabrics under the presser foot and begin sewing a 1/4" seam from edge to edge without backstitching.
It is not necessary to backstitch at the end of the seam either since the quilt will have a binding and the edges will be concealed in the binding.
A quarter-inch presser foot is an essential tool for quilters. Interested in purchasing a quarter-inch presser foot, Amazon has many at reasonable prices just be sure to purchase one that fits your sewing machine.
When normally sewing a quilt you press the seams after sewing them. But since no seams will be intersecting, all the seams can be pressed after the quilt top is completely sewn together.
Repeat by laying the next strip on the previously sewn strips with pretty sides together. Sew from edge to edge with a 1/4" seam.
Repeat this process for the remaining strips.
Then, sew the bottom section of the quilt together. Finally, sew the top, middle and bottom sections together.
Once the quilt top is sewn, place it on the ironing board and press all the seams. The seams can be pressed all in one direction, toward the darker fabric or pressed open. Flip over the quilt top and press the front side as well.
My finished quilt top
STEP 5: Quilt Sandwich
Layering the quilt is called a "quilt sandwich". The three layers of a quilt are the backing, quilt batting, and quilt top. The three layers are shown below in this photo of our Easy Four Patch Quilt. At the end of this article is a link to our free Easy Four Patch Quilt tutorial.
The backing and batting should be at least 2 - 4" larger all the way around the quilt top. So add 4 - 8" to both the width and length measurements of the quilt top.
There are a few different types of fabric you can use for the quilt backing - cotton, flannel, muslin, Minky. Cotton is overwhelming the most popular. Since this quilt top is approximately 43" across, the backing fabric needed to be pieced together.
To determine how much fabric to purchase and how to piece the quilt backing, use one of the handy backing yardage calculators on our quilting calculators page.
To make the quilt sandwich, lay the backing fabric wrong side up on a table. Layer the batting on top of the backing. Finally, place the quilt top, right side up on top of the batting.
Make sure everything is smooth and there are no wrinkles in the batting or backing layers. Click to learn more about how to Layer and Pin Baste through our beginner quilt series tutorial.
Once the layers are basted together by either pins or long stitching, then it is ready to be quilted.
STEP 6: Quilting
The quilting is what holds the three layers together. You can quilt it yourself by hand or by machine. Another way is to send it to a professional long-arm quilter.
With this quilt, I did not have the luxury of time. It was necessary for me to quilt it myself. So I decided to machine quilt it using the serpentine stitch.
Most sewing machines, today, have the serpentine stitch built into the machine. On my Bernina machine, the stitch is number 4 and looks like this.
When quilting with the serpentine stitch or when machine quilting in general, using a walking foot will give you the best result. By machine quilting with a walking foot, the fabric top, backing and batting will evenly feed through the machine and help prevent the layers from shifting as you quilt.
If you don't have a walking foot, Amazon has many walking feet at reasonable prices but be sure to purchase one that fits your sewing machine.
Another important element when quilting is determining the spacing of the quilting. Look on the batting package to find out the minimum amount of spacing between quilting and be sure you select a quilting pattern that meets the minimum. The required quilt density can be anywhere from 5" to 10" separation but this all depends on the batting selected.
A tutorial on how to quilt using the serpentine stitch is here.
Besides the serpentine stitch, some other popular methods are stitch-in-the-ditch, meandering, straight-line quilting, free-motion quilting, stitching a motif design and quilting with decorative stitches that come with your machine.
STEP 8: Binding
To finish the quilt, a binding is added around the edge. The binding covers the raw edges left on the quilt sandwich layers. Bindings can be sewn on to the quilt entirely with a sewing machine or with a sewing machine and finished by hand sewing.
But before binding the quilt, trim the excess batting and backing from each side of the quilt and square up all four corners. Scissortail Quilting has an excellent tutorial on how to do this.
The type of binding you use on a quilt is a personal preference. Some binding methods can be sewn onto the quilt completely by machine. Other methods require hand sewing.
Some different types of binding methods are Quick Binding, Double Fold Binding, Scrappy Quilt Binding, faux flange binding.
We have another tutorial that discusses binding methods by clicking the link.
For my quilt, I made a double fold binding by cutting strips 2 1/2" wide. I then joined the strips together to make one continuous strip long enough to go around the entire quilt plus 20 inches. Learn how to join binding strips by clicking the link.
Finally, I sewed the double fold binding to the front of the quilt and then hand sewed it to the back of the quilt using an invisible hem stitch.
The quilt is finished. Look below for photos of my finished quilt.
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comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.
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