Matching grid lines on your quilts

Living on the quilting grid

There’s nothing faster and easier than taking square or rectangular pieces of fabric and sewing them together side by side to make rows; then take those rows and sew them together to make a quick and easy quilt top.

Now, as much as I’m a fan of easy and quick, I also like to add some interest to such quilts. So, after seeing a quilt my friend Lucien made, I was inspired to try different ideas using grid lines. They’re a bit more work but can add so much visual interest to your quilts.

Some of you may be asking what the difference is between a quilt using a lattice or a quilt using a grid. For me, the difference lies in the narrower width (normally only 1½” or less) of the grid fabric as compared to lattice fabric width, which may be wider.

City Sweets, pattern taken from the book City Quilts by Cherri House, is a good example of how grid lines can add interest to a quilt.

Before I start I would like to thank Northcott for the fabrics from the A Little Birdie Told Me line that they supplied for this project.

When I want to make a quilt using grid line I construct the quilt in the same fashion as I would a quilt with lattice; that is, I construct it in rows of pre-sewn blocks. The grid height will be the same height as the block and as wide or as narrow as you wish.

Rows of blocks before sewing

Once you have sewn your grid fabric and your squares or blocks into rows press your seams open or to one side, as you prefer.

It’s at this point in construction that I gather up all the fabric strips that will separate the rows so I can mark them. Why do I mark? I know that if I simply sew the grid strips to the rows without marking, I am pretty much guaranteeing that the grid lines going up and down will not match. When grid lines don’t match it will be very obvious when you are looking at the quilt, you will not be happy with the results.  In the past, I’ve marked my fabrics on the right or the wrong side of the fabric depending on the fabric’s “busyness” and/or on the color of the marking tools.  Long story short: better safe than sorry, I mark my grid fabric strips before sewing.

The squares and strips that I’m using are respectively 5½ʺ x 1” when sewn. The strips separating each row must be marked on both long edges. Only the first mark will be at the 5¾” mark, then the 1” mark* followed by 5½ʺ, 1” and so on. Following the final 1” mark there should be 5¾” to the edge. (I used pen to mark the fabric in the example below in order to better illustrate my marks. Normally, I use an appropriate marking tool to mark my fabrics.)

Example of placement of lines on fabrics

*When marking, you must consider the width of the mark and the width of the lines on the ruler and compensate for them when measuring and marking. To do this, when I mark, I typically put the ruler line to the left of the mark on the fabric.

When marking the a strip you may need to compensate the marking width by moving the ruler slightly to the left of the previous marking.

As you align the marking of the strips I suggest that you not be afraid to use pins.

Pinned grid fabric

Once your strips are sewn to the rows you can sew on the borders.

Grid and block layout

Before sewing the borders on I add little corner squares to the other border. Once they’re added you’re ready to sew on the border. Once completed you have a great baby quilt. This quilt should measure about 40½ʺ x 40½ʺ.

Completed quilt using simple squares and a 1″ (finished) grid line

The material list for this blog’s quilt is as follows:

36 (6″ x 6″ squares)

30 (1½ʺ x 6” grid lines)

4 (1½ʺ x 1½ʺ squares for outer corners)

9 (1½ʺ x 38” (4 for grid lines and 4 for the borders*)

*Should you prefer not to put little corners squares as I have you’ll need 2 of the border pieces to be 41” instead of 38”.

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2:  The easiest way to sew up a fabric book cover

Go to part 4: Turn your orphan block into a quilted shopping bag

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Lincoln Papillion August 22, 2016 - 7:10 am
Place the raw edges of this seam just up to the first horizontal grid line. The grid line should be just visible.
Lori Morton August 17, 2016 - 3:57 pm
Thank you for sharing this info & Tutorial!! I too, have trouble with sashings... You make it so doable!!
Cathie Scanlon August 11, 2016 - 2:33 am
Great info. Wish I'd know this before I did the quilt for my granddaughter!!
Paul Leger August 11, 2016 - 11:07 am
Now that you know maybe you could make her another. Just an idea :-)
Paul Leger August 15, 2016 - 12:15 pm
make several, never a bad idea to have spares
Linda Cartwright August 8, 2016 - 9:53 am
I have never thought of doing this. I will try it next time.
Judi Duncan August 6, 2016 - 1:03 pm
oh wow! thank you
Paul Leger August 6, 2016 - 3:14 pm
you are most welcomw
Cindy August 6, 2016 - 1:01 pm
Love this! Perfect for using up leftover jelly roll pieces!
Paul Leger August 6, 2016 - 3:14 pm
A great idea, thanks
Susan Moseley August 6, 2016 - 3:04 am
Thank you for the lesson. :)
Paul Leger August 6, 2016 - 3:19 pm
you are welcome
Julie August 6, 2016 - 1:38 am
Thanks for simple, clear instructions. This is something that challenges any quilter at some point in their experience. Having good instructions to refer to can make the difference between struggling, having so-so results and confidently completing a project with impressive results!
Paul Leger August 6, 2016 - 3:21 pm
enjoying trying this. you may need to make small adjustments depending on the marking tool you use
Shelley August 5, 2016 - 12:40 pm
Thanks for the tips. I am starting a simple quilt with embroidered blocks so this tutorial will be MOST helpful!
Paul Leger August 5, 2016 - 12:54 pm
Glad you will be able to put this tip to good use.
Margaret Schindler August 5, 2016 - 11:52 am
I am bookmarking this page. I always have a problem lining up those sashings.
Paul Leger August 5, 2016 - 12:55 pm
may take one or two small tries but it works great
Paul Leger August 5, 2016 - 1:04 pm
I am ok with the large sashings, but when it came to the narrow ones i also had problems
Jessi August 5, 2016 - 8:25 am
I'm trying this one next. Mine are always crooked, wish me luck
Paul Leger August 5, 2016 - 12:58 pm
mine were also, no more
Paul Leger August 5, 2016 - 1:05 pm
it works well for me it will for you also
Nancy Hilderbrand August 5, 2016 - 4:33 am
I was surprised at how easy the lines go together with your instructions. Thank you for the help..
Paul Leger August 5, 2016 - 1:05 pm
thank you
carol n August 4, 2016 - 7:50 am
Thanks for the help.
anna Brown August 3, 2016 - 9:05 pm
Ty for this tutorial this is a stressful thing for me but i like the way you lined them up tytyty......
Paul Leger August 3, 2016 - 9:26 pm
After many time of hoping that things would line up i decided it was time to start marking. with the marking I learned these little adjustments are great to make sure all is lined up.
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