Ask a quilt designer how to make a strip quilt, and you’ll likely get a different answer from each person you ask. Because when you start with strips, you can take a design in endless directions. Of course, you can keep things simple by stitching quilt strips into rows, which makes for a beautiful design in itself. But you can also stack, whack, slice, slash, stagger, shuffle, and then sew strips back together. Just imagine the variations!
Below are examples of how four designers have taken strip-quilting designs to new and innovative heights. If you know how to make basic strip quilts, you’ve already built the foundation for creating any of these fun projects. Ready to take your next strip-pieced quilt to a whole new level?
What do you think of when you hear the term “string piecing”? For many quilters, sewing skinny strips to a fabric foundation comes to mind. But in Strips and Strings, designer Evelyn Sloppy sidesteps foundations and reveals a quicker, easier way to create strippy (and wonderfully scrappy!) quilts.
Evelyn starts with straightforward string piecing:
Once you get the hang of the basics, Evelyn adds piecing twists and turns to create strippy triangles and half-square triangles.
Sew strips, cut strips—see how the designs become even more interesting, while remaining just as easy to create? Evelyn also includes tips on how to get a cohesive look—even when you’re trying to use every last scrappy strip you’ve been saving.
More projects from Strips and Strings
Save 40% on the Strips and Strings eBook this week only.
Australian quilters are known for their adventurous spirit. In Quilts on the Double, two famed Aussie quilters show how to make strip quilts with what they call “tops, tails, and sides”—triangles cut from strip-pieced units.
The steps for making these lively quilts are simple:
- Choose two groups of contrasting fabrics.
- Choose an accent fabric.
- Cut the contrasting fabrics into wide strips.
- Cut the accent fabric into narrow strips.
- Sew strips of the accent fabric to strips from the two contrasting groups.
- Cut the strip sets into triangles.
When you make one set of strip-pieced units as directed, you’ll have enough to make a second quilt that’s completely different from the first. Some examples:
“Crimson Cranes” uses a great border fabric as the starting point. The contrast between the two groups of fat eighths in these quilts is made with red prints and black prints. The accent color is light beige.
In “Bunting,” the contrast between the two groups of fat quarters is made with red prints and blue prints. Because all the blue prints have white backgrounds, they read as lighter than the red prints. The accent color is bright blue.
Create bold, unusual quilts that begin with simple strip piecing, and then incorporate one clever twist. Susan’s twist, which she calls Shattered Angles, uses accent strips to give her quilts a complex look.
In Susan’s words: “My basic technique for a Shattered Angles quilt is what I call ‘stacks of fun.’ It’s easy to work through the steps: cut fabric is stacked and slashed or cut at intervals, the stacks are shuffled so that the fabric order in each stack is changed, and then the fabrics are sewn back together with narrow strips added for contrast.”
Once you grasp Susan’s technique, you can use it in borders, quilt centers, repeat-block quilts, and more.
Got a stash of novelty fabrics collecting dust? Feature them in a bargello quilt! Susan’s instant-bargello technique makes it a cinch to show off pictorial prints. Simply sew novelty-fabric strips together, crosscut them at varying widths, and then sew them back together, staggering the layers.
Remember why you bought that novelty fabric in the first place? Use Susan’s technique to share the story or scene that came to mind.
Save 40% on the Instant Bargello eBook, this week only.
Who knew strips could be so versatile? Thanks to all of these authors for sharing their strip-piecing ideas. Remember, this week you can save 40% on all of the books featured above.
What kinds of quilts have you made with strip-piecing techniques? Share your strippy story in the comments!