‘quilt as you go’ strip quilt tutorial

by Nova on March 18, 2011

as promised I’m back with the process pics & explanation of how I made the magical lands quilt in less than a day… it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy ;)

I love strip quilts. l o v e them.  Ashley has made a few gems recently and posted a fab mini tutorial explaining her process which you might like to take a peek at.

I pieced and quilted the magical lands quilt as i went along – I’ve had a go at the  quilt as you go blocks by machine in a bee and figured it would translate to a strip quilt & it does . Yay. It’s probably nothing new but it’s new to me & I wanted to share in case it’s new to you too :)

I apologise in advance for the poor quality pics, the lighting in my play room is shocking.

Quilt as You Go Strip Quilt Tutorial

You’ll need ::

  • Strips cut from the width of the fabric (mine vary from 1 1/2″ to 8″ or thereabouts)
  • backing fabric cut slightly larger than the proposed size of finished quilt top
  • batting/wadding cut slightly larger than proposed size of finished quilt top but smaller than backing, just like a regular quilt
  • basting spray
  • walking foot
  • a few spare  hours

How to ::

Decide on finished size &  layout of your strips, then gather them in order into a neat pile. I cut my strips from the full width of the fabric which results in varying widths as fabric widths  tend to vary slightly between manufacturers & I had a mix of one line and Kona solids here.  I didn’t trim my strips all to the same width before I began as I knew  I would be trimming them at the end

I’m not a huge fan of spray basting, I always end up in a bit of a sticky mess, but it’s kind of essential for this method to prevent too much movement or slippage of your bottom 2 layers.  Following the directions on the spray baste can, attach your batting to your backing fabric.

Take your first strip and lay it right side up at the top of your batting . I didn’t cut the top of my batting very straight did I?! Never mind, but the straighter the better as it helps to line up the first strip by eye 

You might like to pin it in place, I didn’t worry as the batting kind of grabs onto it and holds it in place sufficiently.

Roll up the  excess of your quilt to make life easier at the machine …

… and starting from the top edge  begin quilting your first strip in place.  I quilted in my favoured ‘relaxed’ straight lines but you can do neat straight lines evenly spaced or not, or loops, or squiggles or whatever takes your fancy :)  Just remember not to go within the seam allowance of the bottom edge of the strip though I don’t suppose it really matters if you do.

When your first strip is all quilted into place, take your second strip and lay it onto your first strip right sides together …

… sew along the seam with a 1/4″ seam allowance … ( for ease I just used the edge of my walking foot as a guide which is a tad over 1/4″  & allowed for this when I worked out the finished length of  my quilt)

… remove from machine and finger press ( or cool iron) your second strip to it’s right side then begin quilting again just like you did with the first strip …

… continue to add strips is this way… (I kept both ends of the quilt rolled up as I worked along and  continuously alternated the sides I began quilting from to maintain an evenness of the top layer, you might find if you quilt in one direction only  that the top gradually moves over in that direction and you end up with a wonky woo)

… until you’ve added all your strips then simply trim your quilt …

… & bind in your preferred method & voila you’re done :) no back breaking basting to do here  as you’ve pieced & quilted all in one go! Hurrah!

made in an afternoon & bound that same evening with the super cute  Magical Lands fabric line by Saffron Craig :)

As mentioned in the previous post I rounded the corners following the methods in these tutorials

Finished size of my strip quilt is approx :: 42″ (width of fabric) x 62″

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather March 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

You, my dear, are brilliant! I’m prepping a strip quilt now and I may just have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing!


KerryQ March 18, 2011 at 11:22 am

Informative AND entertaining. Well done, you. Love the backing fabric with added accessories!


Amber March 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm

This is SO perfect – way easier to do it all at one time!


Angelina March 18, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I love it! So simple and pretty!


Krista - Poppyprint March 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm



Samelia's Mum March 18, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Love this quilt and thanks for the fantastic tutorial. I must try this.


Benta March 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Hi. I use this method, and can add a few suggestions: I stitch down the middle strip first, and then can press and pin two more at a time saving trips to the ‘basting’ (dining) table down stairs. I often stitch straight onto an Ikea fleece blanket, cutting cost of wadding and backing fabric. And if I am really impatient to get a project finished I do this method with strips of blocks, and allow each seam to be assembly AND quilting (sort of strip in-the-ditch) and it’s reading for binding :-)


Eileen March 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Could this be any more adorable!? I love the photo with the landscape! It’s perfect. Gosh, I have a jellyroll for a child’s quilt… I would love to try this! :)


Karin på Ösäter March 18, 2011 at 6:48 pm

You are such a clever girl! Thanks so much for a great tutorial, Another thing on todo list.

Lovely weekend to you// KarinKajsa


sarah March 18, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Thanks for sharing Nova. I’m definitely going to give this technique a go. It looks fun!


Lisa Leggett March 19, 2011 at 2:48 am

Wow, this is brilliant!! I’m just a newbiw quilter, but I’ve never heard of this method, it looks terrific though! I think I’d like to give this a go! And soon!
Thanks for sharing, your quilt is awesome, I love, love the backing fabric!


Jo March 19, 2011 at 3:22 am

You’ve made this look like a piece of cake – its absolutely superb. Think this will be on my to do list once I’ve finished my single girls (a twin and a queen). Also this is the first time I’ve come across Saffron’s prints too which are scrummy – I think I’m in love! Love your tutorials, you obviously take great effort over them. Thank you it is greatly appreciated.


Bridget September 11, 2011 at 11:38 am


I’m getting ready to use the quilt as you go method for a queen size quilt. How did you work with so much fabric in your sewing machine?


Michelle McCray March 19, 2011 at 9:40 am

I have just recently discovered the wonders of blogging. I love this concept of quilting as you go. I am going to give this a try as I learn how to use my new toy, Elna Pro Quilting Queen :0)Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas, techniques, and thoughts!


Donna June 25, 2014 at 11:55 pm

I am addicted to quilt as you go. You may want to look at a video or two. When I quilt as you go, I do sections then join them with sashimg, very quick and easy. There is a way to join them without sashimg. I found the videos on You Tube, just put in Quilt As You Go.


beth lehman March 19, 2011 at 11:37 pm

umm…. this is pure genius!! LOVE it!! I can see tackling this next!!


Jessica Wright March 20, 2011 at 2:53 am

Now that is clever x


Ange Moore April 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Thanks for this – I have a skinny 1/8th bundle so would be perfect for making a quilt like this! Might have to try some spray basting – would be new to me and will probably result in a sticky mess with me also.


Toni Coward April 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Unreal Nova – what a perfect idea for a QUICK present!
Thanks for sharing :)


Rachaeldaisy April 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm

What a great tutorial! Your quilt looks wonderful in Safron Craig’s Magical Lands!! They’re such a beautiful range of fabrics!


Bec Clarke April 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm

That’s a very cute quilt and I love Saffron fabrics


zainab May 9, 2011 at 6:17 am

hi, this is fantastic i dont need a taecher i can learn from you. thank you so much this will be so easy for me.


Rachel May 27, 2011 at 11:49 am

Thanks so much for this tutorial. I made a quilt following it and love how it turned out: http://mymessings.blogspot.com/2011/04/striped-strips.html


Toni Coward July 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Hi Nova
I LOVE this method and have been wanting to try it since you first posted.
Have everything ready to go and am about to adhere my wadding to my backing – may be a silly question, but do I have to stretch and tape my backing to the floor before I adhere the wadding or will it be okay if I just make sure it is all ironed flat and smooth it out?


Lynda August 1, 2011 at 1:54 am

Love this! Thanks for sharing.


Karyn Kong August 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm

hi Nova, Karyn here from craft group. I love this idea, do you really need to have a walking foot as I don’t have one. Would appreciate any advice or suggestions. Thanks.


Karla April 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm

I didn’t used to have a walking foot, but purchased one a few months ago, and it really does make machine quilting MUCH easier! I would advise investing in one. Wish I had done it years ago!


deb christensen April 6, 2012 at 5:26 am

what a fantastic idea…you are so smart! this is perfect for all those “utility” quilts a person wants around the house…on the back of the couch, reading chair, spare bed…that you don’t want to spend weeks creating.
i found you via pinterest, so glad i did!


Erin M. May 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I’m searching quilt as you tutorials and really think you’ve done a nice job here. Thanks for putting in the time to put it together and explain it well.c


Steph May 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Found this through Pinterest. I am currently working on my very first quilt (pinwheels), but I will have to try this next! Thanks for sharing!


Shirley Griffin July 28, 2012 at 2:43 am

This is more my style! I don’t like anything that takes me way too long to make and this sounds not only easy, but would be lots of fun! Thanks a bunch for posting this great tutorial! You did a great job!


Andi September 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Hi. I found this today and LOVE it! I was looking for an easy first quilt to make, and I ran out to buy supplies to try this one (except Star Wars themed for my son). Before I start, can you tell me if I need to preshrink and iron the fabric? If so, how did yiu wash/dry yours? Thank you!


Candice September 24, 2012 at 8:24 am

I have a quilt kit called Lines in the Sand. I have never quilted my own work and thought this be a good way to start. You make it look so easy. Wish me luck. I am a new quilter and really don’t know if I am biting off more then I can chew.


chris October 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Great pattern and what a pretty finished product.Thanks for posting it!


Denise November 3, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Found your site from Jeni Baker. Also love the orial. Thanks. Will have to give this a try, have quite alot of strip hanging around the stash. Will give this a try.


Patty December 9, 2012 at 5:02 am

This is a quick, easy and simple way to make a great lap quilt! I am working on my Christmas gifts already. Andy I am getting them done in less than half the time with this method than I ever did before. Thanks for the great ideas…


Debbie Carpenter December 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm

My Mom use to use this method! I love this method but I have never used it myself. I am making a T-shirt quilt for my niece and I have sewn the blocks in strips (14×16). Can this method be use own such a large strip(will be a queen size quilt). I would ask my Mom but she past away in Oct. I’m so sad I didn’t learn this method from her. Please help me!


Teddi January 14, 2013 at 5:30 am

Wow! That looks so easy.
I have never quilted like that, but you make me want to race home and get started! It looks like so much fun!

Thanks for the inspiration!



Sonja Doyle February 8, 2013 at 6:07 am


Thank you for this tutorial. I’ve seen other quilt as you go, however never a tutorial where ALL the quilting was done on each piece. I love it and can’t wait to try it.



The Coffee Lady February 12, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Hi – I just wanted to say a big thank you after I used your tutorial – blogged here – http://thecoffeelady.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/citrus-quilt-exceedingly-quick-and.html – it’s fantastic! Can’t thank you enough.


Stephanie February 17, 2013 at 4:40 am

Just found this on pinterest and am so in love! I have a jelly roll just waiting to be done this way now. :)


Rosemarie February 24, 2013 at 8:15 am

Simply beautiful. But counldn’t you use fusable facing instead of the messy spray?
I am dying to do this as soon as my sewing room is finished and I get everything sorted out. Love love love it!
Thank you


Annette June 27, 2013 at 1:45 am

I love this idea. I have made a couple for toddlers using trucks and cars and I found that if you start in the middle it is much easier to control. Also, have you ever thought about using “Extra Hold Hair Spray” instead of the basting spray? It works great and is not a mess to clean up.. Thanks for posting this. I am a new fan…in the USA..Oklahoma City, where the tornadoes love to come sweeping down the plains.


Julie August 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm

I have been surfing to find new quilt ideas for two days now.I am making 7 quilts for Christmas presents this year and was afraid I waited to long to have all finished by Christmas eve. This is a sanity saver. Going to knock off two this weekend with your technique.Thank you SO much for taking the time to do this for all of us.


Ginny August 24, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I’ve often wondered if you could quilt as you sew, but have never tried to do so. Bet your bottom dollar I will soon, though. Thanks for the tutorial!


Lisa Lorenz August 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Hi…this is really a lovely way to quilt. I’ve made several of them. ranging from table runners to single bed quilts. I find it helps to secure that very first strip with an 1/4 inch seam at the start so it can’t move anymore which is really important since all the other strips will be lined up to it. I also spray baste larger projects;only needs a little to stop from shifting. For a larger quilt I start in the middle with my first strip (just need to make sure it is straight.)Rolling up one side makes it a lot easier to work with since there’s only one half at any time under the machine. After finishing the first half the whole things just gets turned around.
I love your quilt; it’s gorgeous.
Happy quilting :-)


Dorene November 5, 2013 at 12:14 am

I love your tutorials. Your work is amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to show us how.


chris November 6, 2013 at 8:41 pm

What an adorable quilt.Perfect baby gift!


Susan Fisher November 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm

I’m so excited to try your method. I also like the idea of starting in the middle. You could also use up other scraps by sewing odd pieces together to make strips. So many people commented about your backing material, you should post a picture of the finished back as well!


Cathy November 17, 2013 at 8:43 am

Thank you for your clever idea. I want to apply this technique with denim.
Thanks again!


Joanne March 15, 2014 at 1:38 am

Hi Cathy. I am also planning on making this quilt in denim, but I’m not ready yet… I would love to see a picture of your quilt, even if it’s still a “work in progress”. Also, any tips would be greatly appreciated.


susan December 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm

thanks for the great tutorial on ‘quilt as you go’ – my first time and it came out great, I blogged about it and gave you credit – here: http://patchworkreflections.blogspot.com/2013/12/baby-quilt.html

thanks again!



Janine February 23, 2014 at 5:20 pm

This was so thoroughly described, I will make this for my very first twin bed quilt. Will have to add side panels to fit a twin bed, but I’m sure I can figure that part out! :)


Lisa Ludlow July 21, 2014 at 11:11 pm

I found some Christmas material at the thrift store and did not want to fussy cut it and now I have a PLAN. YAY. I love making tops but the whole sandwich quilting gig, not so much.Thank you for taking the time to do a tutorial.


Towanda September 17, 2014 at 12:50 am

Thank you so much for your tutorial. A dear friend suggested I try a strip quilt as I’ve wanted to make another quilt. I completed one last year after months of screaming, cursing and carrying on, plus I have another quilt I started another 16 (I am about 40!). I have all but trimming and binding a small quilt I made using your tutorial and I’m drunk with power. THANK YOU!


Krista November 4, 2014 at 9:08 am

I love this, thanks so much for taking the time to make a tutorial. I’m just now completing my second quilt and am looking for something slightly modern and easy. Love the quilt as you go technique and the straight line quilting effect. Thanks!


Linda December 18, 2014 at 2:33 am

New to quilting this was a perfect stress free project to help me with the learning process. Love it.


Sharon July 9, 2017 at 2:51 am

This is a great plan…I take it a step further with scraps…on mindless days I cut my scraps into 2-2.5″strips then join them with a right angle seam to reduce bulk…trim the triangle and keep going…when I have my scraps gone or a big pile I roll it up like a jellyroll and have it ready to go..I use mine to make crate quilts for a local shelter…cut backing to a desired size use the spray baste and attach batting scraps to the backing…if batting is placed vertically I strip quilt horizontally to aid durability…add a binding and give to a new dog or cat friend…shelter loves them,,very durable and easy care


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