"Quilt-a-long Series" - Baby Quilt: Assignment 2

Hopefully everyone has their supplies ready to go! I can't wait to see what fabrics/colors you chose!!

* This weeks assignment:
Use your 5" fabric squares to create the center part of your baby quilt.

 Don't know how to get started with it? Here's how I did it.

Step 1: 
Decide on a layout that you like. My combined 3 charm packs for the center of my quilt (choosing only the brown based colors that I liked from each of the 3 packs) so I have a couple duplicate prints but not enough to really have a "pattern" to my squares. I laid them out on my cutting mat and fiddled with them until I got a look that I liked. You will want your layout to be 6 squares by 5 squares (for a total of 30 squares).

Step 2:
Time to start stitching your squares together. On a big quilt this can be time consuming, but since we are working with such a small area it really goes quickly! I start by taking one row of squares and stacking them (right sides together) on to the top of the next row of squares.

Then I take and sort of collate those pairs of squares being sure to keep them in order. {This becomes more crucial is you have a pattern to your square layout.} Then I take the stack over to my sewing machine. You will want to have a 1/4" seam allowance. This is where having a quilting foot for your machine is a big plus! This is what my quilting foot looks like. It has a guide on the edge to line up the edge of my fabric with. It helps to guarantee that my seams are all 1/4".

When I sew my pieces together, I like to chain piece them when possible. Chain piecing simply means that you don't cut your threads between each set of squares that you sew. Instead, you just leave a little space between them and just keep sewing. It makes the sewing go a lot faster and you waste less thread -- two very big advantages!

After you have chain pieced that row of squares together (it will look like a string of bunting) take it to your ironing board. Press the seams open so that your pieces lay nice and flat. Then you can cut the little pieces of thread holding your chain together and place them back on your quilt layout. I like to keep my pieces down on the floor until they are all joined together so that I can be sure to put my pieces back in the same order I had them.

Step 3:
Repeat. Grab the squares from the third row and stack them onto the fourth row. Sew them and iron them open using the same method.  You will then have one two sets of rows that are sewn together and an extra row of squares that are not sewn. Stack the sixth (last) row of squares onto the fifth row of squares (that have already been sewn to the fourth row).

Then stack your rows and repeat the chain stitching and ironing to create a set of 3 squares sewn together.

Now all you need to do is join your sets of three squares with your sets of two squares to create completed rows. Stack your pieces together again, chain piece them together, iron them, and set them back down.

Here is how your finished rows should look. Now take and stack the rows onto each other and use the same sewing and ironing method to join your rows together. This can be the only tricky part. You may want to pin where your seams match up so that they will stay lined up as you sew. This creates perfectly straight lines. Your fabric will have a little give to it so that if you need to stretch one piece just slightly to get your seams to line up you can. As long as your squares were all the same size and your seam allowance was 1/4" you should be just fine!

Step 4:
Once all your rows are attached it's time for a final ironing of your quilt center. When I make quilts I like to use a little spray starch. I find that it really helps to smooth out my quilt top and keep everything nice and crisp for my next quilting steps.

Your quilt center is now done! Ta-da!!!

Time to get sewing!!! It took me about an hour and a half to put this center portion of my quilt together. So either find a chunk of time to get it done, or make sure you have some space where you can keep your fabric squares out for the week while you work on it. If you don't have the space to leave it out, take a picture of your layout with your phone or camera and print it out. That way when you have time to come back and work on sewing it together again you will be able to remember what it looked like.


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