The simplest and most popular quilting project to do with strips of fabric is called a "strip quilt." This type of blanket or wall hanging is an excellent use of leftover fabric pieces. The strip quilt is considered one of the simplest quilts to make and is a good project for beginning quilters.
Fabric Strip Selection
Fabric strips for the strip quilt project can come from a variety of sources, such as leftover fabric from previous projects, large pieces from a garage sale, or recycled clothing. Any cotton, non-stretching fabric will work well. Before the sewing can begin, fabric needs to be cut into strips a minimum of one inch thick. Basic quilting rules dictate that contrasting patterns not be set next to each other, although the rules can be broken according to individual taste and what selection is available. To make sure that there are enough fabric strips to complete your quilting project, lay the strips out on a flat surface in roughly the configuration they will be on the finished quilt. Plan on a 1/4 inch seam allowance for each strip.
Design Ideas and Tips
The design for a strip quilt is entirely up to the quilter, and bound only by the materials available. Some strip quilting projects are a series of straight lines set horizontally with only minor variation in their size. Others may use strips that are more long triangles than rectangles, tapering down in thickness from one end to the other, with the next strip following the opposite pattern. The simplicity of the layout is key to the strip quilting project, as it allows beginners to avoid all of the complex measurement and symmetry concerns.
Aside from the collection of fabric strips, which will comprise the top layer of the quilt, backing material and quilt batting are also required to complete the strip quilt project. The backing material and batting should be single pieces, slightly larger than the finished fabric strip top. Backing material is a solid piece of cotton, in a coordinating or contrasting color to the strips layer. Batting is cushioning that goes between the two cotton layers. Batting comes in varying thicknesses and is a matter or personal preference and desired texture and warmth. To finish this strip quilting project, lay all three layers flat, with the batting in the center and the top layer facing up. A sewing machine and set of large safety pins are also useful for completing the strip quilt.
Fabric cutting, sewing, and quilting can be done using a variety of techniques and tricks. Fabric strips can be cut using a straight edge and scissors, or a sharp rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat. For strips of uniform size, a rotary cutter is a good choice as it can cut many strips at once. To sew strips together, place right sides of the long edges together and stitch them on a sewing machine, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Keep a hot iron ready and press each seam open as a seam is completed. Continue to attach strips and press them open until the pattern is complete. The quilting portion of the project comes when the three layers are sew together using a variety of techniques of hand stitching or a sewing machine. One simple method is to sew all three layers together along the seams that connect the strips. Set a slightly longer stitch than normal on a sewing machine and create your own design.
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