3 ways to use strip piecing in a quilt

Yesterday on QUILTsocial I talked about 5 ways to use rail fence blocks in your quilts and introduced WonderFil’s Konfetti thread which we used to piece the Valentine’s Day runner top which is now ready to embellish using WonderFil’s Eleganza threads.

A yummy assortment of WonderFil’s Konfetti Thread, the light green was used to piece the Valentine’s Day table runner top

Two of the Eleganza threads all ready for stitching down the wool applique shapes

But before we start with the embellishments, I wanted to talk more about strip piecing and how there are 3 different ways to use strip piecing in a quilt. When piecing the following strips, I used WonderFil’s DecoBob thread for precision piecing, read on for its full description.

What is strip piecing?

In case you missed Monday’s post, strip-piecing usually consists of sewing long strips of fabric together, usually width-of-fabric strips, and then rotary cutting across the strips to create smaller, uniform units that are already pieced. In my August of 2015 QUILTsocial post I gave tips for perfect strip piecing and I invite you to check out the information in that post.

1. Using strip sets to make quilt blocks

Yesterday we used our strip set to cut blocks across the width of the set. There are many different patterns that use this type of piecing to create quilt blocks. Martingale has a whole list of books dedicated to the subject and Jennifer Houlden’s November 2014 QUILTsocial post talks about it too!

The finished table runner top

2. Using a die cutting machine to cut shapes from strip sets

I’ve always wanted to try doing something like this with my Accuquilt Studio cutter! For this technique, you assemble your strip sets the same as we did on Monday. My one triangle die just happens to be 6½” tall, so I took three of the strips that were leftover from my jelly roll and sewed them together to make a strip set. I positioned the strip set on top of the die and ran it through the cutter. My one strip set was able to make nine triangles. I think this would be awesome for hexagons too!

The strip set is cut using the die cutting machine and a triangle die

These die cut shapes can then be sewn together in an assortment of arrangements. I think it will look awesome sewn into hexagon shapes. I’ll post pictures of my finished project at a later date – uh oh – another project in the UFO pile.

One way to arrange the die cut triangles

Precision piecing with DecoBob

For these strip sets I decided to use WonderFil’s DecoBob thread which is an 80wt 2-ply cottonized polyester thread. It has a textured matte finish that has been treated to behave more like cotton and eliminate stretch. It’s incredibly strong but extremely lightweight thread resulting in seams which are less bulky. This makes your piecing even more precise – especially if you are doing any curved piecing! DecoBob also comes in pre-wound bobbins – how convenient is that???

WonderFil’s DecoBob thread in an assortment of colors

2 bobbins to compare a regular mercerized cotton thread (white) and DecoBob cottonized polyester thread (taupe). WonderFil’s DecoBob thread is far more cleaner and lustrous.

3. Using the strip sets to make applique shapes

Back in my November QUILTsocial post, I talked about different ways to applique circles onto a quilt. Another awesome way to use strip sets is to cut shapes from them and then applique them onto your quilt. I decided to use the interfacing method to applique heart shapes made from a strip set using the remainder of the rose-colored strips from my jelly roll. I sewed the strip set together and pressed and then used a piece of freezer paper to cut a heart shape. I then traced this shape onto the paper side of the fusible interfacing.

A freezer paper heart is used as a template for drawing on the fusible interfacing

The interfacing hearts are pinned to the right side of the strip set and then they’re sewn together using a ⅛” seam. I then trimmed them along the drawn line and clipped the curves. The center of the interfacing was then cut away and the hearts were turned right side out and pressed using a pressing sheet.

The interfacing hearts are sewn to the right side of the strip set using a ⅛” seam then they’re trimmed along the edge and the center of the interfacing is cut away.

I decided to applique these hearts onto a black wool background to make a wool door banner. I cut two pieces of black wool 11″ x 27″ – one for the background and one for the backing.

I found two spools of WonderFil’s Fruitti thread that matched my hearts perfectly, so I decided to machine applique them to the wool background using my sewing machine’s blanket stitch.

The hearts will be appliqued to a black wool background using Fruitti thread from WonderFil

The hearts are machine appliqued to the black wool using WonderFil’s Fruitti thread.

Wow – I really love the look of the appliqued hearts on the wool background and I can’t wait to sew the rest of my jelly roll strips together to die cut into those triangles!! So many projects…so little time!! But tomorrow we FINALLY get to do some hand stitching with the Eleganza threads and I can’t wait. These threads glide so beautifully through the fabrics that they make hand stitching an absolute DREAM!!

I’m going to do some more embellishments on this wool banner at at later time, but tomorrow, we’re going to do some wool applique on the table runner AND I’ve got a cute Valentine’s pillow to share with you too!! I do love doing handwork but it has been fun today figuring out 3 great ways to use strip piecing in a quilt – I hope you enjoyed it too.

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2:  5 ways to use rail fence blocks

Go to part 4: Eleganza thread adds sheen to wool appliqued table runner

Related posts

Why DecoBob isn’t your average bobbin thread

Use Silco thread to add more punch to your applique edges

When your quilting calls for threads to be invisible, use InvisaFil