Chain Piecing: How I Stay Organized

Sewn Quilt Patterns Tutorials

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Do you chain piece your quilts? I didn't before I started the Playroom Quilt. I have now made this quilt three times and every time I have chain pieced it.


It feels like an easier way to keep everything in order. It definitely takes some organization. I use these clips to keep the columns in order! I have two of each color.


Step One:

Lay your quilt out on your design wall, on the floor or on the table. Check the layout with your quilt pattern so you know you have everything in the right place. 

 Want to try this Playroom Quilt Pattern? Buy it here!


Step Two:

Place your clips along the top in whatever order you want along the top. I clip mine along the top of my design wall. Then, attach a clip along the top block of each column. 




Step Three:

Go down each column and pair up your pieces. Starting in the top right corner, place your pieces right sides together and pin them together along the right side. Continue down the column matching up your pieces. Remember as you make your pile of pairs - keep the first pair on top. Each new pair you add to the stack make sure you are adding it under the one before. (This way you will be sewing down the column and keep them in the right order.)

You have the option to stop here and just sew down the first column. I go across the whole quilt and pair up each column until I run out of pairs. 



Step Four:

Once you reach the last pair in your column, cut your thread and place that pile on the ironing board. If you made all your pairs you can sew the next column together, then move it to the ironing board. 

Press these rows open. Later it will be easier to match up your seams if you press them open. You can also alternate every other direction to make your seams nest when you go to sew your rows together later. 

Once I get a column pressed open I take it back to the design wall under the matching color clip to make sure everything is still in order. 

(You will also notice that I left my straight pins in. To me this is easier when I take these to the floor to pair up because the pins are right there ready to go. It also ensures that I pin the right edges together incase anything gets twisted.)



Step Five:

Pair up your columns again. I actually find this easier to pin on the floor. I lay the first column out on the floor. Then I lay the second column next to it and flip it over on top (like closing a book) and pin the right sides together. Once I get to the bottom pair on the column I stack it up starting the bottom. You can fold it accordion style so that the top pair ends up on top and ready to run through the machine. 

Again, I kept my clips along the top so that I could ensure that they all stayed in the right order. 


Once you have done this and all your columns are attached to one another you basically have all the rows ready to go. The great news is they are all connected so they will stay in the right order. 


Try your new chain piecing skills with the Playroom Quilt Pattern. Buy it here!


I find it easier to start with the last row. Flip the bottom row on top of the second to last row so that right sides are together. Sew along that seam and then do the same for the next row. You can continue up the length of the quilt and wait to press any of the seams until the end. 


After you have sewn all your rows together press all the rows open, trim where you need trimming and you're ready to baste! I'm hooked on this method. 


I hope this was helpful for you! Happy sewing!!


Next you might also enjoy these blog posts:

Making Half-Square Triangles

Sewing Triangles

Chain Piece Sewing



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  • susan on

    What a beautiful choice of colors you’ve chosen for this blog’s chain piecing explanation, using your Playroom Quilt Pattern! It’s intriguing how much faster quilt making can go using your method. I haven’t tried chain piecing an entire quilt top; I chain piece rows and/or columns only one at a time, returning the rows/columns to my design board after pressing each one. I figure the extra steps count toward my 10000 steps/day goal :). Also, because quilt squares don’t always stick to my vertically-hung flannel design board for as long as I need them to stick, once I’ve done everything you instruct in Step 1, I grab my phone and take a PHOTO to refer to in case confusion grips me in the midst of my back-and-forth trips to the board and my machine.
    Love your blog, love your quilts!!

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