Quilt As You Go


With compliments from African Sewfari

Quilt as you go refers to
the method of piecing together a 12” block, adding the batting and backing and completing the quilting before moving on to another block. 


This method is a very convenient way of completing a quilt today. Our homes to day do not always have the space to accommodate a large quilting frame. 


Give this method a try. You will be amazed at how easy and fast it can be to complete a family heirloom.



"Quilt as You Go"  Requirements:

  • A number of pieced blocks. The amount of blocks you will require will depend on the size of the quilt you intend making.  

  • Each block could be a different pattern, as in a true sampler, or a different colour combination, as in a scrap quilt. Try machine embroidery. Maybe Spring flowers as a theme. You are only limited by your imagination.

  • It is advisable to sew 2” sashing around your finished block, butting the corners. This will simplify your first attempt at “Quilt-as-you-go”.

  • Cut the batting and backing fabric slightly bigger than the finished block (plus/minus 1.5” all round). This is to allow for the dovetailing of the batting and the seams of the backing. 

TIP:   It is recommended that the backing fabric be of a small print.   The seams are easy to “hide” in a busy print .   Another plus for printed backing fabric is when turned over you have another quilt.

  • “Sandwich” each pieced block with batting and backing.

  • Treat each “sandwich” as a complete quilt and quilt as you desire.   Quilt “in the ditch” around the “sashing”.  This gives you a base to measure your seams when joining the backing. 

Once you have quilted each block your are now ready to begin joining your blocks.


 "Quilt as You Go" Method:

  • Start joining your blocks into strips.

  • Pin the backing and batting out of the way of the block seam.

  • Right sides together, join one block to the other with a 1/4inch seam.  

  • To make your life easier, start joining in pairs. Next, join the pairs, making a “strip” of 4 and so on.

Example:   If your quilt is made up of 12 blocks, 4 blocks x three blocks. You will have three strips of four blocks joined.


Now the tricky bit.

  • Dovetail the batting by splitting half the thickness of the batting from the bottom of Block A and the top of Block B (plus/minus 1.5” width)

  • By doing this, you will keep the batting the same thickness thoughout.   A herring bone stitch could be worked to hold the layers of batting together but this is not necessary.


  • You now have the right sides of your quilt joined.  

  • The batting is lying flat and all that needs to be done is joining the backing.  

  • Lay one side of the backing flat onto the batting. Begin with the same side on each block. This helps to keep your seams straight. 

  • Turn under a small hem on the other side of the backing. Use the “in the ditch” line of quilting to measure and to keep your line straight. Pin and hand stitch.

  • Complete each strip in this manner.  

  • Start joining the strips together, using the same method.

If you have more than three strips to join, use the same method we used to join the blocks together. In other words, plan to have the least amount of bulk on your lap when completing the hand sewing. Leave the joining of the middle strips till last so you only have the entire quilt on your lap once to complete your hand stitching.

  • Once you have joined the entire quilt you will need to trim the excess batting and backing from the four sides.

Now the best part of all.  

  • Bind all four sides.

Your heirloom quilt is completed.

 TIP:   Embroider a label with the name of the quilter and the date completed.


Hilary and Graham

For a printable version of these instructions, please click here.

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