Tuesday, June 12, 2012

(Zig Zag Quilt Along): Piecing Your Quilt Top

Hey Everyone! How did cutting your fabric for the quilt along go last week? Are you ready to start piecing your quilt top?? I hope everyone is excited and enjoying the process so far!

To start, you will need your quilt top laid out how you would like and then your fabric stacked and ready to started sewing. I am sure most of you did this last week in the sneak peek I gave at the end of the post. If you have not already done these steps, refer to last week's post on how to do so.

For the ENTIRE quilt, I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Make sure that you use the same seam allowance throughout your quilt as well.

Step 1: Take the two triangles off the top of the stack that need to be sewn together. Put the triangles right sides together and pin in place. 

Step 2: One thing that you will need to keep in mind is that you need to keep your squares in order of how you had them laid out. I sewed my pieces together by chain piecing. Which means I sewed the first set of triangles and then instead of clipping the strings, I just pulled it through a bit and started sewing my next set of triangles. It is a lot faster, saves on thread (since you aren't wasting thread by cutting off each tail of thread), and it keeps your squares in the correct order. When you are done sewing a row, cut the thread and lay that row aside before starting your next row. (You will have 6 rows with 7 squares to a row)

Here is my stack of chain pieced rows. They look like cute little pendant banners when you hold them out since the strings are holding the triangles together! :) You don't need to do it this way, but for me, this was the easiest way to keep them in order and also breeze through the sewing quickly.

Step 3: Now that all of your rows are sewn, trim your threads and stack your squares in the correct order.

Step 4: Use your iron to press your seams for each square. If you are sewing with a light and a dark fabric, press the seams toward the dark fabric. If the seams are not going to be able to be seen through the fabric, press them open.

Step 5: Use your straight edge, rotary cutter, and mat to trim off the edges to make the square "square". Be sure to be keeping the squares stacked in the correct order throughout all of these steps!

Step 6: Once your squares are pressed and trimmed, lay them back out in the zig zag pattern and check to make sure you kept everything in the correct order. (If you are 100% positive that everything is in the correct order- you can skip this step).

Step 7: Now you can begin sewing your squares together. Start by putting a straight pin in the top square to mark it so you make sure you are sewing the squares in the right direction. Put the 1st and 2nd square right sides together, pin, and then sew along the pinned edge. Be sure you are sewing on the right edge so that your zig zag is facing the correct direction.
Keep adding squares until your entire row is sewn. Lay aside and do step 7 for each of the 6 rows.

Step 8: Once all of the rows are pieced together, press open the seams with your iron.

Step 9: Lay your rows out and make sure the zig zags are all going in the correct direction, that the fabrics are in the correct position, etc. If everything looks good- you are ready to move on.

Step 10: Next you will be sewing the rows together. Start by taking row # 1 and row # 2 and pin them right sides together. The most important thing is making sure that all of the squares line up perfectly so that your zig zags come together correctly. (now if you are like me, a few of my seams were a little off- I just pinned the seams so that they lined up correctly and on a couple I had to stretch the fabric so that it worked- again- totally breaking the quilting rules, but I am a bit of a rule breaker so I just went with it.)

Step 11: Repeat Step 10 to add rows 3-6.

Step 12: Press open all of your seams once each of the rows have been added.

Step 13: Once your zig zag quilt top is pressed. Lay it out on the floor. Now it is time to add the sashing, or the borders. Start by taking two of the 2 inch strips that you have cut for the small sashing and put them right side together and sew on one of the ends. Press the seam open. Take two more strips and do the same. Now you should have two very long strips (approx 2x84 inches)... line them up right sides together on top of the long edges of the quilt- one on each side. You will want to have one side with the excess hanging off the top end, and the other side with the excess hanging off the bottom edge. (This will make it so you won't have matching seams running perfectly across the quilt- I like them to be random so they blend in more). Pin and then trim the excess off each end. Now you are ready to sew.

Step 14: Once they are sewn along the side of the quilt, press the seams open and lay flat on the floor again.

Step 15: Take the excess ends that you cut off and sew them to the other 2 strips of 2 inch fabric. Lay these right sides together on the top and bottom of the quilt and pin. (make sure to do the same trick of having the excess go opposite directions.) Pin, trim off the excess, and then sew.

Step 16: Press open the seams and lay flat on the floor again.

Step 17: Repeat steps 13-16 but with the large sashing fabric strips.

That's it! Your quilt top is pieced and ready for quilting next week!! We are half way there?? Are you feeling good about the progress you are making?!?

I hope that all of the steps were easy to understand and follow. Feel free to ask any questions in the comment area but be sure to add your email so I can answer the questions you may have- OR- just email me directly: mommybydaycrafterbynight {at} gmail {dot} com! 
Good luck!

And of course a very special thank you to our sponsor for the quilt along: The Ribbon Retreat!! Be sure to check them out and give them some love!!


  1. I'm so excited! Can't wait to get started bright and early in the morning.

  2. Laid mine out last week and it looked so cute already! Can't wait to get started on this step! GREAT tutorial and explanation of the steps! Thanks so much for all the work you have put into this to teach us non-quilters! =)

    Jill @ Create.Craft.Love.

  3. Reading through this on my lunch break at work, and can't wait to get sewing tonight! My husband even reminded me that the next step of the quilt along started today! :) Thanks!

  4. Thank you so much for the great tutorial!!! I really appreciate the time you put into this series:)

  5. I'm so enjoying this series! I ran out of thread today after finishing four rows, and I need to go pick up some more tomorrow. I hope you don't mind I'll be blogging about this QAL on my blog. I'm having so much fun!

  6. Aww Man! I ran out of fabric on the very last step! 8in on each end of the quilt top. I don't know how I did that! Oh well, nothing another fabric order won't fix :)

  7. Just the sashing to go and I'll have finished the quilt top... yay!!!! I'm really pleased with how it's turned out so far. Thanks for the easy to follow instructions, Ashley!

  8. Thank you so much for the great tutorial!!! I really appreciate the time you put into this series. I'm really pleased with how it's turned out so far.

  9. Ok so I have what may be a silly question. :) I see it looks like you had to sew your sashing together to get the correct length is there any particular way you do this? Thank you I am having so much fun making my first quilt with this tutorial, I am a bit behind cause I didn't get to start til last week and now I am out of town but I am still gonna get it done.

  10. I just found your Quilt Along through Cherished Bliss's link (via ScissorsandSpatula.com's link) and would love to make a smaller version of this using smaller squares for a baby gift. Would you recommend using 5x5 or 7x7 inch squares? Any advice? I will be using my own stash, not a Layer Cake, so I can go with either, but haven't made this type of quilt before so don't know if the 1/4" seam allowance would still work if I change the square size. Thank you for the great tutorial and inspiration! I love your blog!

    1. Hey Diana... I have made this exact quilt (minus borders) as a quilt for my daughters dolly. I used 5 inch squares and it turned out darling. I think 7 inch squares would be way cute too- would be less rows so less sewing and might be easier, but it's totally up to you! Be sure to send me a picture when you finish!! Can't wait to see it! Let me know if you have any questions along the way and I ill do my best to help you out! Thanks for stopping by! Glad you found me! xoxo, Ashley

  11. Hi. I did this. And my zig zags are not pointy. What did I do wrong? Help.

    1. Have you sewn everything together and they are not pointed? They won't be pointed until you sew everything together because the seam allowance is on the edge. Can you email me a picture of what it looks like so I can understand better?

    2. I did sew everything together. I will email you a photo tonight.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I honestly love reading every single one! If you have a question you would like answered- be sure to include your email so that I can get back to you!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great day!
xoxo, Ashley