Following on from my piece the other day about making a quilt for Olive and preparing the fabric for sewing, I thought I would show how I sew the strips of patchwork together, as I explained previously, hand sewing the patchwork is a little bit different from sewing patchwork on a sewing machine so I’m afraid this is a bit of a picture heavy post. Once again you can use this as a very simple tutorial in hand sewing patchwork.
This is a small part of the patchwork that needs to be sewed together, and which I showed you how to sew in the previous post.
Looking at the back of the patchwork, you can see that you don’t sew the seam right from the top of the fabric to the bottom, but you leave a small 1/4 inch space. It’s this gap which allows you to nudge over the seam allowance before pressing it so your patchwork lays really flat.
The two strips of patchwork need to be laid on top of each other, right sides together, and then you need to match up the seams.
I’ve used quilting pins as they are a little thinner (but also it shows the point where 4 pieces of fabric intersect), the seams are exactly matched front and back, and then I have pinned along the rest of the length of the patchwork. Put a pin in the corners first before pinning in the centre. You may need to stretch your fabric a little but the pins in the corners keeps the fabric secure.
And this is the reverse where you can see the pins are matched up to the pencil lines on the back as well. This will keep everything in place as you sew the patchwork. Check your pins are like this, if they aren’t you will need to re-pin your work.
It may seem a bit fussy but it is easy for the fabric to slip a little as you are sewing and then your patchwork won’t look so nice. Accurate pinning really does make such a difference with your final piece of patchwork.
Back stitch a couple of times at the start of your sewing, and then sew a small running stitch along the pencil line until you reach the first quilting pin, insert the needle in at this point….
so it comes out exactly at the corner of the fabric behind it…
….then push the needle into the next piece of fabric, again at the same point…
And then once the needle and thread have been pulled through, you need to re-insert the needle back into the fabric (in this example it is the lilac floral fabric), pushing the needle and the thread through…
…. to come up exactly at the corner point of the red fabric (which is next to the pink fabric you were sewing at the start) …. then carry on sewing using a small running stitch until you reach the next intersection of the corners. It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is.
Once you have joined two strips of patchwork squares, you can nudge the corners around so that the patchwork lays flat, you’ll be able to finger press over the seams so that they open up a little and you will see 4 tiny squares of fabric at the join.
Sewing the squares in this way will give you really neatly matched points, but at the same time, I think when you sew your patchwork by hand, the seams also look softer than when they are sewn on a machine. I know it is a lot slower but I personally think it is worth it.
Turning the patchwork over, you can see how the seams get pushed open alternately, this really helps when you are quilting, the corners become much less bulky and your quilting stitches don’t tend to get that “missed stitch” look which can happen where there is a bulky seam.
So that is 12 squares sewn for Olive…. just over 100 more to go.