At our Tuesday Sewing Association meeting this week, we spent the day stripping—minus the body scanners and wands.
When we arrived at Jo-Anne’s house, she had neatly tied bundles of 2½” strips (the equivalent of a jelly roll) ready and waiting on her dining room table. Each of us chose a bundle and listened as Jo-Anne explained the first step. I was a bit nervous about keeping up with the others, being a pokey sewer who loves pins—and marking tools when they’re called for.
Today, however, this sort of accuracy-meticulousness-OCD nonsense was forbidden; the instructions were clear: down and dirty, no pinning, no marking, no clipping threads—pedal to the metal, git’er done! It was charity quilt making day where quantity takes precedence over quality, and my brain was struggling to process the no-pinning, no-marking mandates for creating 30-plus 45-degree seams.
Many of us had to rip out our very first bias seam because we sewed it in the wrong direction, but after that, the hum of eight sewing machines filled the kitchen and living room. It’s a wonder we didn’t burn down Jo-Anne’s house with all the sewing machines running and half a dozen irons going all day long.
We first made a looooong ribbon of pieced strips, sewn together with 45-degree angled seams, which were pressed to one side—unless you picked a flannel bundle, in which case the seams were pressed open.
Next, we cut 18″ from the first strip in the bundle. Doing this staggers the 45-degree seams at random intervals across the top.
The next step was to bring the end of the first strip (the part not cut from the ribbon) to the end of the last strip you added to the ribbon,
put right sides together, aligning raw edges, and sew all the way down the edge using a ¼” seam allowance. When close to the end, cut along the fold and sew off the edge. Press the seam. You will have created the first two rows which measure half the length of your original ribbon.
Repeat this process four more times.
The result is a quilt top which roughly measures 50″ x 60″, photos of which follow.
Once we found our rhythm, the piecing went pretty quickly. Jo-Anne has the hard part of quilting all of them on her long arm and binding.
All the quilts will be donated to a non-profit organization called Imagine!, which assists people with developmental, cognitive and physical disabilities.
It was a fun day.