Christa’s Quilt Along 6.3 – String of Pearls Quilt Top

Welcome to part 3 of my String of Pearls Quilt Along. Everyone is making such wonderful progress! Be sure to visit my flickr group to see all the fabulous pictures everyone is sharing.

String of Pearls

String of Pearls Complete Kit

Starter Bundle

String of Pearls Starter Bundle

For those of you just joining us, it’s never to late to start. You can sew at your own pace and use whichever fabrics you like!

Today we will sew all of our Pearl Blocks together to complete the quilt top. It took me a total of 9 hours of sewing for this lesson. Your mileage may vary. ๐Ÿ™‚

Step 1 – Finishing the Pearl Blocks (4 hours)

Lay out a pearl unit surrounded by background rectangles so that you can see how the block sews together. You will be sewing the shorter bands to either side of a pearl unit first.

String of Pearls Bock

Pearl Block Diagram

Chain sew half of the 2.5″ x 7.5″ black/grey bands to one side of 36 (7.5″) pearl units. Be sure to pin generously so you keep everything in proper alignment. If you need to trim the blocks as you go, that’s ok. Just be sure they are all the same measurement.

Chain PiecingHint: Stack up all pieces for all blocks in a pile next to your sewing machine so they are ready to sew. If you are sewing with darker fabrics, use a darker neutral thread.

Sew the rest of the black/grey bands to the other side of the block and press seams open. You should have 36 units that look like this:

Partial Pearl BlockSew in the same manner for the top and bottom of the block. Sew the longer 2.5″ x 11.5″ black/grey bands to either side to complete a total of 36 blocks. Again, press seams open.

Pearl blocksRepeat for a total of 36 blocks. Your blocks should measure 11.5″. It’s not a big deal if they are a little smaller or larger, so long as they are all the same size.

Step 2 – Sewing the Rows (2.5 Hours)

Now comes the creative part. Take a few minutes to arrange your blocks in a pleasing color order on a design wall or other large flat surface such as a table or bed.

Block LayoutHint: to keep your blocks organized, take a picture with your camera phone. You can refer to this picture as you sew for block placement.

Sew the blocks together into pairs. Pin generously, starting at the little black intersections to keep everything neatly lined up.

PinningJoin pairs of blocks together to complete a total of 6 rows of 6 blocks each.

Row of 6 BlocksStep 3 – Complete the Quilt Top (2.5 hours)

Now you can decide whether you would like to press the seams in your rows open or to the side. I still prefer to press open because they lie flatter. I use a wooden seam roller to open the seams. Then I go back over the seam with a hot, dry iron.

Seam RollerHint: If you decide to press your seams to the side, alternate pressing directions per row. For example, press all odd rows to the left and all even rows to the right.

Pinning generously, sew two rows together at a time. Then join larger sections until you have completed your quilt top. My top is a little larger than my design wall so I had to drape it over a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

String of Pearls Quilt TopGive your quilt top a final pressing and display prominently in your home so you can enjoy until it’s time to baste and quilt!

Now it’s time to show me yours! Please share pictures of your progress on my flickr group: Christa’s Quilt Along. You can also email me pictures to and I’ll share some of them on my blog.

Quilt Along Schedule – links will be active at the completion of each step:

String of Pearls Quilt Along

Grab my Quilt Along button!

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9 thoughts on “Christa’s Quilt Along 6.3 – String of Pearls Quilt Top

  1. Eileen DiPietro says:

    Not since garment sewing have I pressed so many seams open and I’m not gonna lie it is a little tedious, but the end result is fabulous!!!!! Of course I had to put just one block completely together to see and I am beyond happy with the results I probably should have invested in the seam roller to lighten the load just a bit but all that work definitely paid off. Thanks Christa for a really great quilt a long.

  2. Kerry says:

    Christa, I’m way behind due to life getting in the way. I’m very pleased with the way my blocks
    has turned out. As it’s my first quilt, I have you to thank for very good instructions.
    Hopefully in the next week I will get a chance to do step 3. Isn’t it great that something
    like this quilt can give such a feeling of joy.

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