Chain Piecing Contemporary Patchwork

18 Jul 2013

The popularity of pre-cut fabric packs like jelly rolls has made it easier than ever to put together modern patchwork projects. Pre-cuts are a real time-saver, especially if you're making a full-size patchwork quilt.

tuesday patchwork pillow by malka durbrawsky
'Tuesday' pillow by Malka Dubrawsky.
Photo by Malka Dubrawsky

Another time saver is chain piecing: stitching together a multiples of the same shape without cutting your thread.

"I liken chain piecing to having an electric garage door opener--it's not essential, but it's so amazingly handy," says quilt artist and author of Fresh Quilting Malka Dubrawsky. Her 'Tuesday' pillow is featured on the cover of Craft Tree Patchwork Pillows.

How to Chain Piece

1. Place 2 squares right sides together.

2. Beginning with the first pair, machine stitch the squares together, maintaining a ¼" seam allowance.

3. Once the first pair of squares has passed underneath the presser foot, sew a couple of extra stitches while gently holding the seamed squares. This creates a small chain of stitches separating the first pair of squares from the next. Do not cut the thread.

4. Position a second pair of squares under the presser foot and stitch. As in the first pair, continue stitching past the edge of the fabric. Repeat this process until all the squares are stitched into pairs.

chain piecing for patchwork projects
Snipping apart chain pieced fabric squares.
5. Use thread snippets or scissors to snip the pairs apart, as shown.

Now that you know this trick, how about putting together a patchwork pillow this weekend? There are 20 patchwork patterns to choose from in Craft Tree Patchwork Pillows from contemporary to cute. Check it out now.

P.S. What time-saving tricks do you know for piecing patchwork? Share in the comments section below.

Featured Product

Craft Tree: Patchwork Pillows

Availability: In Stock
Was: $14.99
Sale: $7.50


Mix-n-match your fabric stach and create colorful patchwork pillows of all shapes and sizes!


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on 18 Jul 2013 2:47 PM

I was reading about this method the other day in a quilt book I picked up at a rummage sale. In this book the authors suggested putting a small piece of scrap fabric in the first part of the chain before sewing your fabric. This helps guard against fraying on the first stitches of your fabric. I found this idea very useful.

anncal wrote
on 20 Jul 2013 6:03 AM

Hello WritingPlaces

Did you mean putting a small piece of fabric at the start of every pair of squares or just at the start of the first pair?

JudyAP126 wrote
on 20 Jul 2013 9:39 AM

Just at the beginning.  Then, when you are finished sewing, run your little scrap

through and leave it there and then you are all set to begin sewing the next time.

This saves thread, too.  Just a tiny folded over 1" scrap is fine.

on 22 Jul 2013 2:34 PM

Yes, JudyAPC126 described it perfectly.

on 22 Jul 2013 2:34 PM

Yes, JudyAPC126 described it perfectly.