Thursday 3 January 2013

How to chain piece - tutorial and video

So, I don't really know why, but until recently, I thought that chain-piecing was some mysterious dark art that I could never possibly master, and I was destined to forever be a slow quilter.

At some point I figured out that chain-piecing is actually super simple, and I just have to share in case anyone else is lost in the fog like I was.  If you are already familiar with the technique, this will all be old news, but you might have some extra tips and tricks that I haven't figured out yet (and if all else fails you can laugh at my video!).

Super speedy chain piecing has left me with a nice pile of blocks to press

Basically, chain-piecing is a method to speed up piecing patchwork blocks.  It works especially well when you are in the early stage of making a quilt and need to sew, I don't know, several hundred (or thousand) small units together.

First, prepare all the units that you want to sew together.  I like to use lots of pins, so I pin as many units as I have pins for, and then put them in a pile next to my sewing machine.

Then, take your first unit and sew a quarter inch seam.  When you get to the end, don't take it off your machine and snip the thread as you usually would.  Stitch a couple of extra stitches and then add the next unit immediately following the first one.

And so on and so on.

Once you have your big long chain of stitched units, you simply go along and snip the threads between each unit so they are separated.  Easy, right?

In case you are like me, and find watching someone do a technique really helpful, here is a little video of me chain-piecing.  My sister did all the filming and editing, as well as adding the rather jaunty music.  I never thought I would do a video for my blog, but it was actually a lot of fun (mostly because I didn't have to do anything apart from sew!).

So, are you a chain-piecing convert?  And what do you think of my video?

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Susan said...

Your pussy cat wanted to sew too! Great video! Chain piecing is mandatory!

joy said...

I'm new to quilting, so thanks for that tip. Happy New Year,
Joy xx

Anna said...

Love the video! Your cat is just like mine - always involved!

Macska said...

Cute video! I love the cat cameo at the end. ;-)

What She Quilted said...

I chain piece everything, probably even things that don't need to be. I have no cartlidge in my knees so If I can save myself multiple trips in between blocks or pieces to the ironing board that it works for me! nice video!

DangAndBlast! said...

saves thread, too. the one thing I hadn't thought of before I just learned doing my Windy Days quilt (pattern from Moda Bake Shop) - if you're sewing a quilt top that's all squares, chain piece the rows but don't snip the threads - then they'll all be held together in order for when you sew the columns together!

DeborahGun said...

I have been trying some chain piecing recently. The problem I have is that after I have snipped the threads the thread starts to unwind and often unwinds into the seams. Is this normal?