Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chain piecing, you can do it too!

So I had a conversation with some friends about backstitching and who does it. One friend asked "What about when you're chain piecing, do you do it then?" That question turned into "What is chain piecing?". After explaining what it was my other friend was delighted to find out an easier way to piece her blocks. So I thought to myself "There must be others who don't know what chain piecing is, I'll do a tutorial!". So here goes.

Chain piecing is a way to piece your blocks, strips, whatever you're working on more efficiently AND it saves thread.

Stitch your first set of blocks together. When you get to the end, backstitch, or not. I personally always backstitch because I'm paranoid something will come undone if I don't.

 When you're done with that block feed it through the machine, but don't pull it out. Raise your needle and your presser foot.

Put the next set of blocks in the machine and lower the presser foot.

Stitch this set of blocks, making sure to backstitch at the beginning and the end.  Repeat this step for however many sets of blocks you need to sew together.

When you're done pull your blocks out of the machine and you'll have a chain of blocks held together like this

And a closer look

Just snip the threads and voila! I like to sew assembly line style and find this helps make things go much faster and definitely saves on not only the amount of thread I use, but also the amount of thread I have to snip off of the ends of my seams!

Oh, and one more thing. Don't do like I do and be in such a hurry that you forget to change your stitch back from a zig zag to a straight stitch. I put my 1/4" quilting foot back on the machine and forgot to change the stitch. This is what happens:

Do you see the tip of my needle just dangling there?

Try to keep some extras on hand for just in case.

Down to my last one! Can you tell I've done this a time or two?


Pieces to Love said...

I don't backstitch on my quilts because you sew over the ends of the seams so many times. Also, when you make a boo boo, it is easier to rip out =)

queenopearls said...

GREAT tutorial and photos! I have forgotten about the straight stitch foot setting on my electronic machine also.
I would caution those new to sewing with vintage machines to not allow space between blocks. Singer Featherweight machines will jam up in a heartbeat if they stitch in the air (not into fabric).
Love your patterns too!!
Happiest New Year!
~Christina in Cleveland

queenopearls said...

P.S. - I just bought your Tunnel Vision quilt pdf and can't wait to make it! Thanks again!
~ Christina in Cleveland

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for such a great little tutorial! I've been amazed at the quantity of thread wasted in comparison to the amount actually used when quilting, and now I won't throw away (read: save for something else) the better part of a spool of thread...again, thanks!

Just me said...

I've saved on so much thread by chain piecing I'll always do it.

Koffeesam said...

What a nifty idea. My Pfaff will stitch in the air. Now I need to learn more about quilting and binding. Piecing is easy but I'm terrified to go all out on a quilt. Maybe I'll make some little girl a doll quilt first, or a lap quilt for a Veteran.

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