Welcome to part 2 of my String of Pearls Quilt Along. Last time we cut out all the pieces for this graphic modern quilt. Be sure to visit my flickr group to see all the fabulous pictures everyone is sharing of their progress. I still have a couple of String of Pearls kits left.
Today we will begin sewing! It took me about 4 hours to complete all of the steps shown below. Remember to work at your own pace and have fun with it!
Using 1/4″ seams, begin by sewing a short 1.5″ x 5.5″ black strip to either side of your 5.5″ pearl squares. (If you used smaller squares to begin with, that’s fine – just trim down your accent strips.)
For efficiency, you can “chain sew” them. This means after you sew the first unit, don’t cut your threads. Just add the next pearl square and black strip and keep sewing until you’ve sewn one side of all 36 pearl squares.
Using a seam roller (or your finger), “finger press” your seams open.
Add the longer 1.5″ x 7.5″ black strips to either side of your squares, chain piecing both sides as above. If your blocks shrink up, check your seam allowances, or trim as you go.
Step 2 – Sewing the Background Strips (45 minutes)
Grab your 2 grey half strips that are 3.5″ wide. Sew them to either side of a skinny half black strip so that you have a strip “band” that looks like this:
Next, repeat the process using the rest of your 3.5″ wide full-length strips. The longer ones need to measure at least 40″ long. Remember, use 2 grey strips for every black strip. You should have a total of 4.5 sewn strip bands.
You can chain piece as you go for efficiency. Do not worry if your strips do not end up the exact same length. You will be trimming them before you make your blocks.
Hint: to help prevent your bands from bowing, always sew with the black strip on top, in opposite directions each time.
Step 3 – Pressing Your Seams Open (45 Minutes)
Press the seams open on all of your bands. Yes, this takes a little longer, but the blocks will lie flatter and it will be easier to match up the sewn pieces. Trust me. 🙂
Step 4 – Cutting the Background Units (45 Minutes)
From the narrower fabric bands, cut a total of 72 (2.5″ x 7.5″) units. If your bands have shrunk up a little, that’s ok. You can square up your pearl blocks to match. Be sure to use a comfortable, sharp rotary cutter.
You should be able to get 16 cuts per 42″ long band with a little bit of scrap at either end.
From the wider fabric bands, repeat the process, cutting a total of 72 (2.5″ x 11.5″) units. If any adjustments are needed, wait until the next tutorial when we will sew them on.
Now it’s your turn – show me whatcha got! Please share pictures of your progress on my flickr group: Christa’s Quilt Along.
Quilt Along Schedule – links will be active at the completion of each step:
- String of Pearls Introduction
- Step 1 – Rotary cutting all the pieces
- Step 2 – Sewing all the “pearl” blocks
- Step 3 – Completing the quilt top
- Step 4 – Backing and basting
- Step 5 – Machine quilting #1 straight lines
- Bonus – Extra spiral quilting
- Step 6 – Machine quilting #2 swirls ‘n pearls
- Step 7 – Binding to finish
Grab my Quilt Along button!
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