I always ooh and aaahh at all the Pixel Heart Quilts that pop up around this time of year. I'm so happy I finally made one of my own because it was FUN! I figured out a way to chain piece it so all those little squares would stay in order without me having to think about it as I sew. Today I'm going to show you how I did it!
Pixelated Heart Mini QuiltI have to admit I sometimes get overwhelmed by the idea of making a quilt. I prefer smaller sewing projects like pouches, bags, or clothing. So many moving parts in a quilt and the time commitment make it hard to keep track of and hard for me to commit to. A few years ago I made a "pixel quilt" of the Honey Bell Tree in my backyard and I knew this heart was going to be a challenge to keep track of all those little squares getting into the right place. So, to make it more tolerable in my head I decided to try to sew the whole quilt together using chain piecing. Traditional chain piecing is when you lay out all your squares and take all the blocks in 2 lines at once over to the machine to sew together one right after another without cutting the thread in between pieces, to make a "chain".
It saves so much time walking back and forth and so much thread too. I've had a lot of practice at this but I usually cut each block apart and my sewn rows can easily get flipped around as I press the seams open. I have to spend so much extra time figuring out which end is the right one to sew to the next piece. It's easy to keep track of if you are at a color border but it's harder when you are in the middle of the red section and trying to keep the same fabrics from being right next to each other.
Chain Piecing - Sew a whole quilt top without cutting a thread!
This time I wanted to see if I could keep all those rows together so I wouldn't have to think which end belonged to the next piece. I call it Whole Quilt Chain Piecing. You may have seen my process on my "saved" Instagram stories originally. I grabbed the pictures from there and today I'm giving it a home on my blog. Follow along and see if my process makes sense to you. Maybe this will help minimize your overwhelm and help you want to make more quilts too!!
Whole Quilt Chain Piecing technique
1. Lay out all the squares
3. Sew the column of pairs together to create a chain.
4. Press the seam allowances
Continue to add the sections and press in the same fashion. I like to use a pin or a binding clip to hold each section in place as I carry it to the machine.
From the pictures it may seem cumbersome but trust me, this method save so much time.
Pretty soon you will have all the rows sewn together. See how my threads are all still uncut. and my seam allowances are pressed in the opposite direction in each row!
6. Sew the rows together.
And this is how I finished my Pixel Heart Quilt! It hangs above my piano in February and in my sewing room the rest of the year round. Let me know if you are familiar with this method and have more tips to share. If you try it out I'd love to see!! Connect with me on Facebook or Instagram. Tag me @bluesusanmakes !