Strip Piecing Tutorial

Today I'm going to show you how to strip piece a 16 patch block using 2" strips.

1. Cut up 2" strips. Lots of them. The more the merrier.

2. Find 4 strips that are more or less a similar length.

picture of two inch strips of fabric used in tutorial on quilting: a green and blue striped two inch strip, blue and pink floral two inch strip of fabric, pink with heart two inch strip of fabric, and a solid blue two inch strip of fabric. All on a sewing machine
 

3. Sew them together to make strips of 4. If they are the same length, that is fine, but if they aren't, you can choose to sew a bunch of short ones on to a longer strip..  Do this over and over til you have a lot of strip sets sewn together.

picture of two inch fabric sewn together on top of sewing machine: 7 different pieces of two inch fabric ranging from solid burgandy to dark blue floral-like patterns
You can use any method you wish to sew them together - in this case after I get about 3 strips on, I tend to use a long strip and sew it like this to the shorter ones.

You can use any method you wish to sew them together - in this case after I get about 3 strips on, I tend to use a long strip and sew it like this to the shorter ones.

 

4. Press. Press seams all one direction.  (My "wild" ironing board cover makes it hard to see.)

Before

Before

After - I had quite a collection so it was a little daunting.

After - I had quite a collection so it was a little daunting.

5. Take these pressed strips of 4 to your cutting area and cut off 2" segments.  

Overview

Overview

Let me say that I now notice that the bottom one isn't very straight. Yeah, it bugs me too, but I'm going to leave it here since I actually did leave it in real life. You'll see that less-than-perfect line all through these pics. Sorry about that.  I'll be more careful next time.

Line up several on top of each other, staggering so that the actual seam lines aren't right on top of each other. Make for easier cutting that way.

Line up several on top of each other, staggering so that the actual seam lines aren't right on top of each other. Make for easier cutting that way.

Trim the left edge straight. I tend to prefer my 60 mm cutter for this 'big cutting' stuff.

Trim the left edge straight. I tend to prefer my 60 mm cutter for this 'big cutting' stuff.

Using my 6.5" ruler, I go over 6" (a 6" ruler would be perfect but my lines are getting a little faded on it) I cut at 6".

Using my 6.5" ruler, I go over 6" (a 6" ruler would be perfect but my lines are getting a little faded on it) I cut at 6".

Cut at 6" closeup

Cut at 6" closeup

Slide my ruler back to the left and cut at 4"

Slide my ruler back to the left and cut at 4"

Slide my ruler back to the left one more time and cut at 2".  By holding my ruler there, it keeps the pieces in position better. (If you have one of the June Taylor rulers with slots - that works well also at keeping things in place while you cut).

Slide my ruler back to the left one more time and cut at 2".  By holding my ruler there, it keeps the pieces in position better.

(If you have one of the June Taylor rulers with slots - that works well also at keeping things in place while you cut).

 

6. They will look like this.

photo of three new two inche fabric pieces on top of green measuring pad, scrap fabric to the right of the photo
Place them in an empty plastic container!  You have started!

Place them in an empty plastic container!  You have started!

After cutting some more

After cutting some more

Just to show you the variety of sizes i had.

Just to show you the variety of sizes i had.

When I had finished cutting all the strips I had made into strip sets of 4 they pretty much fill this plastic shoe box.

When I had finished cutting all the strips I had made into strip sets of 4 they pretty much fill this plastic shoe box.

7. Back to your sewing area. Choose 2 that aren't identical, while nesting seams. Repeat. I like to make sure that identical squares don't touch.

photo of example two inch fabric on top of white sewing machine
photo of example two inch fabric on top of white sewing machine

8. Sew that set of two together to make a 16 patch.

One done...now you can make a lot more from your strips of 4!

One done...now you can make a lot more from your strips of 4!

This is strip piecing!

This is much faster than sewing individual squares together. If you already have the squares cut or for some reason, just don't want to strip piece a block, I understand, but this makes making a simple 16 piece block much faster.

If you need to make a 25 patch, then use sets of 5 strips instead of 4. If making a 9 patch, use strip sets of only 3 sewn together, etc.

 

Becky Petersen2 Comments