Do you love the look of Postage Stamp quilts but aren’t too keen on cutting out thousands of those teeny-tiny squares and sewing them back together again? This tutorial will show you how to make a Postage Stamp quilt block in a flash – by strip piecing. The block will finish at 8×8″ in your quilt (there are 64 1-inch blocks in each square) and will look like you spent months sewing it together!
This is a great way to use up scraps or those extra fat quarters from another project. For a truly scrappy block try to use as many different fabrics as possible – 25-30 different fabrics for an 8×8″ block. You can use less or more, it doesn’t matter. What do you have on hand? Use it! Or take one 1-1/2″ strip from every single fabric you have in your stash. You DON’T have to have fabrics that match from a “line” of fabrics. Just pick out some fabrics of all different colors or patterns. Trust me, it will look terrific.
I’m assuming you know the basics of quilting so I won’t go into all of the usual – clean your machine, basic rotary cutter safety, using 1/4″ seams, how to use an iron, yadda-yadda-yadda.
So let’s get started! First, cut your fabric into 1-1/2″ strips.
Here’s a tip: I like to make myself a grid from painter’s tape on my cutting mat. I’ll mark arrows on the tape every 1-1/2 inches. This grid is only used as a guide to make sure I don’t cut my strips too short or too wide.
After cutting the strips, mix them all up in a messy pile. This helps keep everything scrappy.
Chain piece the strips together in twos. Cut them apart and press seams to one side.
Put all of these into a messy pile, and chain piece the strips together again, making sets of 4. When you sew them together the seams will all be pressed ONE WAY, so make sure you’re sewing them all in the same direction. You don’t want the seams all willy-nilly. Try not to get two of the same fabrics side-by-side.
Be sure to press all of these in one direction only. Trust me. One direction only.
Put all these into a messy pile AGAIN and sew, chain style, into sets of 8 (you get the drill now – you don’t need a picture of these). Once again watch how you sew them so all the seams will face the same direction. Press and take these sets to your cutting mat.
Cut these 8-strip sections into 1-1/2″ strips.
Put these 1-1/2″ strips in a messy pile or if you’re like me, put them in nice, neat piles so you can be anal-retentive and match them the way you want.
Now chain-piece these new strips together the same way as above. This is where pressing everything in the same direction can help you lock the squares. Just turn the strips in opposite directions so they butt together.
Chain strip 2…
chain strip 4…
chain strip 8. Be sure to press all seams to one side.
You want to end up with a block that is 8 squares x 8 squares.This is where pressing all those strips in the same direction will come in handy. Look at the picture below. Lock the strips by turning each strip in a different direction to sew ( horizontal strips), and press in one direction (vertical strips).
Voila! You’ve got an 8.5 x 8.5″ block! When you sew these blocks together, you’re going to find that occasionally (or more than occasionally!) blocks of the same fabrics are going to butt together. This happened at the lower right-hand corner of this block.
Believe me, once you’ve sewn all of these blocks together into a quilt top you won’t even notice. Can you find it in this picture? Kind of like “Where’s Waldo?” isn’t it?!:
And here’s a close-up of the back:
I’m currently making a Postage Stamp quilt, and am using fat quarters from an old project to make a quilt that will be approximately 66 x 74″ with an inner border of 4-inches. Here’s a mock-up I made in EQ. From what I’ve figured, 25 fat quarters should do the job. I left part of the blocks in 4×8″ sections for the outside border:
I hope you find these instructions easy and fun. If you make a Postage Stamp quilt with these instructions send us a picture and we’ll post it here, or we’ll link to the post in your blog. Happy quilting!!