Monday, May 4, 2015

quilt as you go {a quick how to}

Hello, happy Monday!

Today I'd like to talk a little about quilt as you go (qayg) technique. Have you tried it before? I've done a few projects in the past (one quilt and one bag, I think) but for some reason I didn't really love the process.

And then one day last week, completely out of the blue, I made this qayg slab of patchwork which I turned it into a thread catcher (pattern by super talented Amanda Jean). Actually I'm using it to hold my Wonder Clips, not stray threads but you get the idea, right?

I was enjoying this qayg thing so much, I made a few more slabs and made them into pouches. I absolutely adore how all these projects turned out and I thought maybe some of you would like to give qayg a try as well.

Here's a quick tutorial.

Disclaimer before we start though: I'm in no way implying this is the only way to do qayg technique. I found this to be the easiest and most effective way for me. So if some step doesn't work for you or you prefer doing it differently, by all means do so.

I start with a pile of scraps. I prefer a "controlled chaos" when it comes to my scraps so I decide in advance which colors are in and which I'm staying away from. You can, however, go with a random assortment of any and every color you fancy for a super scrappy look. Oh, and I iron my scraps in advance as I find this gives me better, less wonky results.

 Choose your batting next (I used Warm and Natural or any other thinner batting of choice would be fine, just stay away from polyester batting for this project). Decide what size of a slab you want to make (I usually make a bigger slab and sub-cut it into smaller pieces later). Your batting will need to be at least 1" or 2" bigger on each side than your planned slab as all that quilting you will be doing has a tendency to shrink the piece you're working on.

I usually start by stitching two smaller scraps together. Open the seam and place it right side up in the middle of your batting (just eyeball it, no precise measuring is needed). Hold your scraps steady so you have no puckers and quilt using straight lines as shown in the picture above. 
Please note: use walking foot for your machine if you have one. If, however, you don't have one (or feel lazy like me to change your sewing machine feet) regular foot will work fine, just go slow and hold your fabric straight and smooth as you sew. You could also secure the piece you're quilting by using a few pins if preferred.

Trim all the thread ends after finishing your quilting on the first scrap piece. Make sure to trim threads after attaching every new scrap.

Place another scrap right side down on quilted patchwork (again, eyeball its size, it can be slightly bigger than what you need). Attach using 1/4" seam allowance.

Smooth the seam with your fingers and flip the scrap over the seam (it's right side up now). Quilt it using straight lines again. Make sure to hold the piece you're working as straight as possible to prevent any shifting or, as mentioned before, use a few pins to secure it to batting.

Turn the patchwork and place another scrap right side down. Attach using 1/4" seam allowance.

Again, smooth the seam with your fingers and flip the scrap right side up. Quilt it using straight lines.
Continue adding scraps all the way around your patchwork using this same technique.

As the patchwork sides get longer, I usually stitch two or three different scraps into one longer piece and add it as one scrap to give the finished slab a more scrappy look. I also don't necessarily go all the way around the attached patchwork all the time. Sometimes I decide to add scraps to sides only and then continue going around. (see picture below)

Keep adding scraps and quilting them until you have a big enough slab for your project. Use it as you would any piece of thicker fabric. You could turn them into baskets, pouches, bags, potholders, or even quilt blocks, possibilities are endless.

I turned this quilted slab into a large knitting pouch (finished size 8" tall x 11" wide).

Here's the other side of the pouch. See how I used a finished 9-patch block in the lower right corner? Yeah, orphan blocks can definitely be incorporated into this kind of patchwork. I think they add an extra dose of character to finished projects :).

What do you think? This qayg technique does seem pretty fun, doesn't it? Hope you'll give it a try. 

I'll be back tomorrow with a new tutorial showing you how to turn these qayg slabs into fantastic pouches.
See you tomorrow. Svetlana


  1. Thanks for the tutorial! I have always been curious about QAYG, but haven't taken the plunge yet. This seems easy enough though with how you explain it. :)

  2. Thank you for the great tutorial. I'm headed straight to my sewing room to give it a try! You are always so inspiring!

  3. I've tried qayg before but this makes me want to try it again! Looking forward to your tutorial tomorrow!

  4. Ten proces obcas byva zdlouhavy, ale myslim, ze vysledek vzdy stoji za to :) Krasne dny, Svetlanko! J.

  5. Lovely projects! I must try this...

  6. This is one of my all time favourite techniques! Loving your choice of scraps, and including a wee block too is genius! Jxo

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  8. fabulous...!! i have done a project similar to this... but forgot how fun and satisfying it can be!!! thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Love this idea, great result! Many thanks for sharing!

  10. What about the lining/ backside?? Once you have everything quilted to your you then cut a second side and sew it on?? maybe your next tutorial can cover the finishing of the piece?? thanks!

  11. Now maybe I will try QAYG! I've always wondered, never tried ~ but very curious. I love your method, especially when used in small projects. Adding a lining afterwards to hide the batting just seems like a perfect project for me!!

  12. I don't think I've ever tried qayg but it looks pretty easy. Thanks for the tutorial!

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  14. This is really clearly written, and I like that it's using a quilted material for the exterior. I hope to get my nerve up tomorrow to give this a try. It's been years and years since I have sewn a zipper but I think with your tutorial I'll be successful. I want to make a quilted bag to hold a flat gift. Wondering why in this case you did not cover the ends of the zipper. (as you did in your two for one pouch pattern?) and why in this tutorial you suggest the zipper be one inch narrower than the exterior fabric, where in the pattern they are the same length? Thank you!

  15. Really fun. Made a pencil case in no time. Many thanks for clear dirctions.

  16. Do you do the quilt as you go with the backing in place?

  17. A perfect small project to try qayg. Thanks for a great tutorial and my Sat morning sewing fun.

  18. A perfect small project to try qayg. Thanks for a great tutorial and my Sat morning sewing fun.

  19. Do you mind if I share this tutorial on my Tuesday Tutorial? I will link to you for the tutorial. Would you mind if I use one of your pictures to let people see what the tutorial is about? Thanks

  20. I tried it many years ago with not very good results but your method makes me want to try it again. Do you have the backing in place before you do the quilting? Also, why is polyester batting not good for this project? Thanks.

  21. Thanks for this tutorial. I know it isn't new but it is great to have to refer back to when needed. I'll be making a bag for a friend who gave me her late mother's fabric stash.


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