I’ve been busy sewing lots of triangles together to bring you the second installment in the Triangle Quiltalong series. In the last post I covered Cutting & Planning, this post I’ll be showing you how I pieced the quilt top together.
Sometimes people confuse patchwork with quilting and use the terms interchangeably, but they are actually different stages of making a quilt. Patchwork is when you join all the pieces of fabric together to make a quilt top, that’s what I’ll show you in this post. Quilting is the technique of stitching the top, batting and backing layers together, I’ll be showing you that in the next post of the series.
Read on for full instructions…
The key to having patchwork that pieces together with nice matching corners and joins comes down to two things.
1. Accurate cutting
2. Consistent seam allowance when sewing together.
I’ve used a 1/4″ seam allowance (which is sort of standard) but you can choose to use whatever you are comfortable with as long as you keep it consistent. Just remember the wider the seam allowance the smaller the patchwork piece/quilt top will end up (unless you’ve factored the larger allowance in of course. Clever you!).
Conveniently my machine came with a 1/4″ hemming foot which has a special guide on the side making sure the seam widths are perfectly accurate.
The easiest way to join everything together is to work in rows. Join all the triangles in each row together and then join the long rows to each other.
To keep your pattern in order, stack each row up in a neat little pile in the order that you will piece together.
With the right sides of each triangle facing each other, and ensuring the edges are matched as accurately as possible, sew along dotted line.
It’s a good idea to press (iron) after each seam. Press the seams to the side rather than open (it puts less pressure on the seam).
Tips on pressing:
-If the fabric is all the same weight it’s best to press all the seams in one row in one direction and the next row in the opposite direction.
-Exceptions are if one of the fabrics is very transparent, press away from that piece, or if you have a very heavy fabric (in my case denim and velvet) it’s best to keep that piece flat and press seams outwards.
Because I’ve used quite a mix of fabric weights, the back of my top looks a little all over the place in regards to seam direction.
You can see in the picture above how the size of the top shrinks once you start sewing the seams.
Once you’ve sewn all the triangles into rows, you can start sewing them together. This is the tricky bit and will show if you’ve done a good job in the steps until now.
Working from the center rows out, carefully match (right sides facing) the points of the triangles and edges together, don’t be tempted to stretch the fabric to fit as you will get puckering.
Ideally you want the seam to intersect perfectly with the other two side seams (see arrow). When you open and press the points of the triangles should be touching.
I found the seams a little hard to press at this stage because six pieces of fabric meeting in one spot can get a little bulky, so some seams I pressed to the side but others I pressed open. Would love some advice about what to do in this situation.
Don’t stress too much if all your points aren’t perfect, it’s really a skill that takes lots of practice. Most of mine matched up ok, some better than others!
Here’s the back, it looks so pretty with the light shining through like a stained glass window.
So we are half way there, now I’m off to buy some batting to prepare for the next stage – Quilting.
Do you feel like joining in? I’d love you to leave a comment with links to any pictures of your progress, or just hashtag #TriangleQuiltalong on Instagram.
The next installment (due in a couple of weeks to give you all time to get started) is all about quilting. Till then, I’ll be in my sewing room.