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  • Writer's picturePola Quilting

Exploring Quilting Techniques: Seams, Construction, and Creative Approaches

Updated: Mar 13

Quilting, a craft rooted in tradition, often comes with a set of rules and techniques passed down through generations. However, in the world of quilting, there's room for individuality and personal preference. This article explores various methods of seam construction and introduces a creative approach to block construction beyond the conventional 4-patch and 9-patch grids.

Seams: Finding What Works for You

Sewing seams is an inherent part of quilting, and there are numerous schools of thought on what constitutes the "correct" way to approach them. However, I advocate for a more personalized perspective—correct is what works for you. Whether it's nesting seams, leaving them open, or adjusting to the fabric's natural pull, the emphasis is on making quilting easy, stress-free, and scrappy. The philosophy is geared towards embracing individual preferences, ensuring that the process is enjoyable and accommodating for quilters of all levels.

A practical tip shared is for those who prefer maintaining a specific seam direction without the hassle of frequent ironing. By strategically pinning the seam on both ends, quilters can easily remember the direction they want the seam to lay when stitching the next section. This simple technique can streamline the quilting process and enhance efficiency.

Chain Piecing: Stitching Continuity

Chain piecing is a technique that lives up to its name. It involves sewing a series of elements together consecutively without cutting the thread in between. This not only conserves thread and time but also helps in keeping the pieces securely in their designated places, held together by the connecting thread. The method is particularly useful when working on patterns involving 4-patches, 9-patches, and other similar configurations.

Going Beyond the Grid: 4-Patch and 9-Patch as Construction Methods

Traditionally, quilters associate 4-patch and 9-patch blocks with the image of squares arranged in a grid. These configurations serve as excellent training grounds for new quilters, allowing them to practice accurate quarter-inch seams and speeding up their work through chain piecing. However, the article proposes viewing 4-patch and 9-patch not just as block types but as construction methods.

The term "grid sewing" is introduced, emphasizing that the layout doesn't need to adhere strictly to a square shape. The key lies in ensuring that the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the blocks being sewn together are the same. This approach opens up possibilities for various designs, moving beyond traditional square formations. The article provides examples of how different elements can be easily sewn together using this grid sewing method.


Grid Sewing on a Larger Scale

The grid sewing method is not limited to small blocks; it can be applied to construct entire quilt tops on a larger scale. The article demonstrates this concept with a 6-patch grid of 3 x 2 elements. The construction involves sewing elements A and B together, then chain piecing D with E. The thread is cut after element DE, but it's retained between AB and DE. Subsequently, elements AB are sewn with C, and DE with F, creating a cohesive structure. The threads now hold elements ABC and DEF, ready to be sewn together seamlessly.

Last step is to sew the rows together. Whether nesting or leaving seams open in the junctions, you can follow your own logic of seam direction, providing freedom in the creative process.

Please note, even if seams end up facing the same direction when arranging blocks for a final quilt, it's perfectly acceptable to sew them together in that way.




Here is another example of a quilt with 5 x 6 grid layout.

Step 1 sew all column 1 blocks to column 2

 Continue adding columns until these are all sewn together and held by threads (red lines on the diagram.

Then turn your project around and start sewing together rows, nesting in the junctions (blue lines) until you complete all your project.


In conclusion, this exploration of quilting techniques emphasizes the importance of individuality in approach, showcasing how flexible methods like chain piecing and grid sewing can enhance both efficiency and creativity. Quilters, whether beginners or seasoned, are encouraged to find what works best for them, ultimately making the quilting process a fulfilling and enjoyable endeavour.

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Jan 14
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

So grateful for your clear lessons. Between your blogs and videos, you are making me a skilled quilter and I am grateful. Hugs from Canada.


Jan 13
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you for sharing your methods of pieceing.

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