How to Chain Piece

How to Chain Piece Quilting Tutorial via

One of the most revolutionary things I learned early on in my pursuit of quilting was chain piecing. I believe it is generally regarded as an invention of Eleanor Burns of Quilt in a Day. The story goes that she was driving along near the garment district in her hometown and saw this chains of pockets hanging out of a dumpster. As soon as she saw the pockets all strung together with the thread holding them together like a bunting, she had an instant epiphany and went straight home to try quilting her patchwork the same way. Voilà, chain piecing was born!

Most people think of chain piecing as being faster, which it is. But it also helps avoid that pesky problem of edges (especially corners) getting stuck in the machine. So you can do your patchwork faster AND cleaner. What’s not to love? Here’s how it works:

Step 1

Imagine you have a whole bunch of single patches that need to be sewn together in pairs. (For example like on my Leaders & Enders Madness quilt.) You start by putting your first set through the machine as usual, using your standard 1/4” seam allowance.

How to Chain Piece Quilting Tutorial via

Step 2

Sew as normal until you get almost to the end of that seam.

How to Chain Piece Quilting Tutorial via

Step 3

Get your next set ready to go, pushing it right up to the edge of the set that’s already in the sewing machine.

How to Chain Piece Quilting Tutorial via

Step 4

Here’s where the magic happens! Just keep going! Sew right across the gap and onto the next item. Then continue on, repeating the steps until you’ve reached the end of your sewing session (or run out of things to run through on the chain).

How to Chain Piece Quilting Tutorial via

Afterward, your pieces will be all chained together with the thread in between, just like a bunting. They’re a little bit pretty, actually!

To use, just clip the threads between each set and press and continue as normal.

How to Chain Piece Quilting Tutorial via

That’s it! Chain piecing? Piece of cake.

Do you chain piece? When did you learn? What do you like best about it?

Much love,

Love, Angela



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