As a fairly recent quilter I always feel I have so much to share and and even more to learn. Today, I want to talk about something called Quilt-As-You-Go.
The quilt-as-you-go-technique (QAYG) simplifies quilting for beginners because it is an easy way to join quilted pieces by machine. Instead of handling bulky quilts, you will be able to quilt your project as you piece it.The first thing to know is QAYG is ideal for machine appliquéd projects. If you’ve ever tried machine quilting over a fused appliqué design you will understand why this method works better. The fusible web product creates too much bulk for machine quilting on a domestic machine and you end up with a ton of skipped stitches and the occasional broken needle.
Another reason to love QAYG is it how ideal it is for those of you with limited space to sew. Instead of having to wrangle a huge quilt around a small area, you are now quilting each block individually before attaching it to the rest of your quilt.
For my QAYG project I chose to make a quilt using my Tea Time Appliqué Set in order to demonstrate how appliqué and piecing work together with this method.
I started by cutting out 20 squares that were 3.5″ x 3.5″ that I then pieced together to make five 4-square blocks. I then trimmed each block down to 6.5″ x 6.5″. My fabric is from a collection called Ardently Austen by Riley Blake. (Check Fat Quarter Shop for availability.)
Then I attached two of the 6.5″ x 6.5″ blocks together. I did this twice. From my background fabric I cut three blocks 12.5″ x 6.5″ and set them aside. Then I cut five 6.5″ x 6.5″ blocks from the rest of the background fabric. After everything was either pieced or cut I then started arranging my blocks on a design board.
I used tone-on-tone fabrics from Moda’s Modern Background Paper collection for my background fabrics. I knew my appliqué fabrics would supply all of the drama necessary for the designs to stand out. This is true with most quilt appliqué – solids or very simple background fabrics will make your designs really pop.Once I knew my layout, I was ready to start quilting. I started with my larger pieced blocks. I cut a piece of 100% cotton batting that was slightly larger than the block and placed the block on top.
I quilted 1/4″ on either side of the seam which made a nice quilted grid.For the solid blocks I had to draw a grid onto the fabric using a water soluble pen. I quilted along these lines and set all of them aside. Of course, you could get really creative with each of your blocks and use different free motion quilting designs or other grid designs. I kept it simple because I was going to add appliqué designs which would also increase the amount of quilting on each square.
After all of the blocks were quilted, I trimmed away the excess batting and made sure each block was squared. I also removed any markings.
That’s one of the best parts about QAYG; everything is now quilted and squared. Technically, if all I was doing was creating patchwork blocks, I could put my quilt together. However, I still want to add some appliqué.I want to show you an easy way to create your appliqué designs for the quilt. When I was creating the Tea Time Appliqué Set I knew I wanted to make things simple and easy for those of you who have limited sewing time. That’s why I created designs that could be printed right onto a fusible adhesive product.
For this quilt I used Heat’n Bond EZ Print Featherlight fusible adhesive. This product is a lot lighter than some of the other ones on the market. It will keep your quilt soft and pliable.
Just stick a sheet in your printer tray and print out the designs. Cut around the designs leaving a 1/4″ margin and apply to the back of your fabric. Trim the designs and then iron them onto your quilt squares. It’s that easy! (affiliate)
There are several other accessories in the appliqué set that you can use to embellish your quilt. I’ve used a few like the scallop, teabag, and bird. If I were using a very plain fabric I might add one of the Teapot Bands to my teapot.
Here, you can see that I’m now attaching a teapot to one of my QAYG blocks. I used a contrasting black thread to make the teapot design really stand out. At this point, I just let my imagination run wild. I decided to add lettering to the larger blocks. I chose a simple font in my word processing program and blew it up to fit the square. I had thought about adding more teacups around the lettering or even a second bird, but you know what they say: “A little bird goes a long way.” This project is ideal for some fun fussy cutting which I did with the teabag, below. Since the design set is called Ardently Austen and has a Jane Austen theme, I felt like her head should be on a teabag. If you’re wondering where I got my teabag string….well, I just took one off of a teabag I had in my pantry. Once all of the embellishing was finished it was time to attach my blocks. This is just like all other piecing and I used a 1/4″ seam allowance to attach my blocks.
There are other methods for attaching sashing using the QAYG method, but for now I’m keeping it very simple.I found that pressing the seams open makes the quilt lay better when I go to attach my backing. It is essential that you use 100% cotton batting because you will be using a hot iron with steam to press open the seams. This will help flatten the additional bulk from attaching the blocks. Notice how everything’s all nice and quilty. Attach all of your blocks together. Be sure to match your corners. At this point on most quilts you would create a quilt back and then sandwich the quilt top between some batting. That’s not the case here because the batting is already attached. Instead, all you need to do is layer your QAYG top onto the backing and pin-baste to hold everything in place.
You will still need to do some minimal quilting to attach the backing to the top. What I did was stitch in the ditch along all of my seam lines. This will hold everything together nicely. If I were using larger blocks I would machine stitch 1/4″ on either side of the seams.Now that the quilt top and backing are attached all that’s left is squaring up and adding binding.
The beauty of this method is how square the quilt is already. Since everything was squared several steps ago, all that really needs doing is just squaring up the backing and any edges that may have gotten a little wonky in the final quilting.
You can see from this image below how there is very little squaring that needs to be done. For most quilts I make binding out of a piece of the fabric. I like the binding to stand out a bit and help frame smaller quilts. With this quilt I went in an entirely different direction.
I found this crochet edge bias tape on Etsy and thought that it would be perfect for this quilt. You can buy it by the yard and I think it would be awesome on mug rugs and pillowcases, too. And that’s all there is to it. My quilt is about 24″ x 24″ which makes a nice wall hanging or could be a centerpiece on a table.
This post is meant to introduce you to QAYG and offer you some simple ideas to get you started. If you are intrigued and want more instruction on this technique I suggest you try one of these Craftsy Classes (affiliate).
I know I’ve barely touched on the basics of appliqué in this post. If you have never tried appliqué, I have written an ebook call Appliqué Made Easy for absolute beginners. I also have several tutorials on how to appliqué throughout my blog.
If you create your own QAYG project, we’d love to see it. Please share it on our Facebook group, Simple Sewing with The Seasoned Homemaker.