How to quilt as you go


Hi, it’s Jenny from, the Missouri Star Quilt Company. We have a fun tutorial for you today. Shirley and Linda from the comments section of the Quilter’s Daily Deal have asked for a tutorial on the “quilt as you go” method. So we thought we would make you girls happy and put out a tutorial on that. We love it when you guys ask for certain things because it helps us with our ideas.

Now the “quilt as you go” method, there’s all kinds of ways to finish your quilts as you quilt them. You can send it in to us, you can do it yourself, and this is one of those options. Sometimes we just need something small and we want to finish it quickly, and this is a really good way to do that. I generally do this on smaller quilts like table runners or baby quilts. It seems to work really well. So if it gets any bigger I think it would be a lot of basting and pinning and things like that but

Let me show you how we do this. This is the as you go method so, you don’t finish your top. You quilt a piece at a time. So, first we’re going to start here with a piece of backing and I thought we’d do a quick little table runner to show you how to do this. You’re going to lay that backing with the right side flat, or on the bottom, facing down. Then you’re going to layer a piece of batting on. One of the important things about this is that you get the top edge straight. You can trim up the sides but you want your top edge pretty straight. So, here we have our batting laying on top of our quilt back, and the
first thing we’re going to do is, see we have all these little strips and you cut strips for this project, this quilt as you go. You’re going to cut them in all different sizes.

So, we’re going to start here, let’s start with this little snowman one. That’ll be really cute. So, we lay this down, face right side up. OK, so then what we’re going to do is we are going to go to the sewing machine and we are going to sew this down here. Right along the top, just to anchor it. So, let’s go back to the sewing machine. OK, now I’m sewing right along this top edge. I haven’t really pinned anything because we’re just lining it up here and I’m using a darker green thread so that you can see it. We’re just going to go all the way across this top, and you’re going to see this come together so fast! What we’re doing is we’re sewing through all three layers so that it will already be quilted as you finish it up so let’s finish up this little strip.

Alright, there we go. Now remember you don’t have to back stitch or anything because all these seams are going to be included in something else. So, now we’re going to go back to the cutting table.

OK, so here we are back at the cutting table. You want to make sure that your backing is still smooth on the back and laying straight. Your batting is still smooth, and you can see we’ve anchored this piece on here with this one stitch along there.

Next you’re going to take the next strip that you want to put on there and you’re going to lay it face down just like that, right sides together, and because we’re getting into the strip way a little bit you’re going to want to pin this. So, you line it up with the edges and we’re just going to put some pins in here to hold this strip exactly on the edge of this other strip. It’s really important that your strips are cut nice and straight. I rotary cut mine. They’re all cut different widths so that it gives it a fun look on it, you know you really can do whatever you want. This just opens up a world of ideas for finishing quilts and making quick projects and gifts.

Alright let’s go stitch this down and we’ll see how this comes together. Alright, OK so now we’re just going to stitch ¼” up, on this bottom seam right here. I think you girls are going to crack up when you see how fun and easy this is! I did a darling baby quilt for one of my grandsons using the strip method. Cut out little cars and put them on the borfers. It was really fun, and it was all quilted when I was done. I just had to trim it up and put a binding on. Now as you noticed I removed those pins out as I came to them. And now we’ve got this sewn down and we’re going to go to the ironing board now and press this open.

Here we are at the ironing board and as you can see this is laying up. We’re going to pull it down and we’re going to press that over. The seam presses right into it, and if you look on the back, see how you can see this is already quilted, and if you look on the back there’s your first quilting line right there. Normally I would use thread that blends but I’m trying to do this so that you can see. So let’s go add another strip!

OK so again, we’re going to take another fun colored strip, this red one right here. We’re going to lay it right sides together. We’re going to pin and we’re going to head over to the sewing machine. So, each time you do a strip it gets further and further in on the quilt, and it’s important that you make sure that your backing is smooth under there, and that it’s all lined up nice and straight.

Let’s see, you don’t want to pull, by sewing these seams we’re quilting through all three layers at once, and so, now we’re going to go head over ,and iron this down. And we’ve got the next row and you can see that the quilting is happening on the back. It just makes it really fun and quick! Let’s head to the ironing board.

OK, so now we’re pressing this down just the same way. Just press it straight
over. The seam is enclosed inside. We can add another strip on here let’s go do that. See here’s our quilting on the back. No need to send it in you can do it right from your sewing machine. OK, now we’ve added quite a few more strips, and we’re here to our last strip and at some point you’re going to have to turn the piece around, because you don’t want all this in the throat of your sewing machine.

So we’re sewing on this last strip here and you want to make sure the further on you get down the quilt, you’re going to want to make sure that you pin a little more. So, that things don’t slide around. Your edges are going to be off and not exact, but that’s okay because we’re going to trim it up. So, let’s see how this goes. This is one of those things where if you need a gift that afternoon you could really make this happen. This is so quick and fun. OK, let’s head to the ironing board and iron out this last strip.

Now we’ve pressed this flat right here and what we’re going to do is we’re going to pin it down. You can see our back through it. And you can see that things aren’t even, but that’s alright, because we’re going to trim it. So we’re just going to go along here and pin it and were going to again sew along the top of this and anchor it just like we did at the top. So let’s head on over to the sewing machine and sew this top piece down.

OK, so we’re almost finished up here. All that will be left is the trimming and the binding, which we love to sit and do in front of the television, (laughter) or wherever we’re sitting! Alright, there we go! Let’s go trim it up.

OK, now we’re going to straighten out these ends. Trim off that excess batting and backing. There we go. See how nicely that cleaned up, and the top is already done. Now what we’re going to do on these sides is we’re going to cut off the edge. See we’ve got some selvedges and things like that, and you want to come in here and to make sure that your ruler is lined up straight you want to make sure that your lines are along your sewn lines, and then we’re just going to cut along here like this. Clean up that edge, see
how quickly that cleaned up. Sometimes, like down here see, I have a wide selvedge. I’m going to need to come in a little further than that or it’s going to show even under the binding so I may need to bring that in a little more. Yeah, I think I will, but let’s go ahead and do the other side. Isn’t this an adorable table runner for the holidays, and how fast was that! Really quick!

Alright, I like the leeway that the edge gives you so that you just have a little bit of edge there, so, you don’t have to be perfect about every little thing. And there you have it! We’re going to bind this. I’ll probably choose this cute red right here, and bind it and we have a great already quilted project that’s ready to go for a gift or whatever we want for the holidays.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

posted: All, Common Quilting Techniques, Intermediate Quilting Tutorials | tagged: ,
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  • Judyvant12

    Awesome.  I just found you while watching a tutorial I purchased at Craftsy.  I think I will be here a lot.  You are wonderful!

    • Sarah

      Thank you!  So glad you found us!!

  • Presley2252

    wonderful way tomake baby quilts to give away
    Also  a good stash buster thatb does not have lots of waste thanks for all the neat  videos and tips

  • Ezpress2us

    Appreciate your tutorials so very much.  I’m an old Granny, but never too late to learn a new skill, especially with such a great resource as this!

    • Sarah

      Age doesn’t matter one bit!  Good luck, and remember to have fun!! Glad you are here!

  • Sewbizzy

    Wow, I love all the tutorials…this one especially makes it so easy to use up fabric…I am having fun learning and I appreciate being able to watch every step…I love Jenny…she really is a great teacher!!!

    • Sarah

      Thank you!  So glad you enjoy them!

  • Judi D

    So quick and easy.  I’m going to scrap quilt it……can’t wait.  Thanks

  • Cathy

    what a neat idea for a real quick gift!

    • Sarah

      Thank you!  I think you will love it!  🙂

  • Mollyserkin

    I love this quilt method. I will be making it from some of my scraps.

  • Escottlouise

    Just brilliant!!

  • Mamaforhim2004

    These will be perfect for placemats for Christmas gifts! My 6 year old son could do this and wouldn’t it be even just as cute with his crooked seams!

    • Sarah

      What a fun idea!

  • Mamaforhim2004

    When you gold it over to the front, is it a raw edge that you are folding under as you go along or did you pre fold that before you ironed it?

    • Anonymous

      — Please reply above this line —

      ## Jenny Doan replied, on Jun 4 @ 2:42am (UTC):

      I am not sure what you are asking…on the quilt as you go, you lay the fabric right sides together and sew them and press them open. If you are talking about binding you fold the strip wrong sides together and press, the raw edges are now together and you will sew the raw edges to the edge of the front of the quilt and pull the fold around to the back and hand stitch down. I hope this helps, if not ask again …Thanks
      Have a great day!
      Jenny Doan

      (888) 571-1122

      ## Conversation started by Disqus, on May 25 @ 4:43am (UTC):


      Mamaforhim2004 (unregistered)

  • Lestom

    Thanks cannot wait to try this looks great

  • Janetfulton

    Enjoyed your tutorials and will watch again. Do you have anything on the Hunter Star?

    • Anonymous

      — Please reply above this line —

      ## Jenny Doan replied, on Jun 18 @ 10:27pm (UTC):

      Thank you for your kind words and I don’t have a tutorial on the Hunter star, but I will look at that! Thanks
      Have a great day!
      Jenny Doan

      (888) 571-1122

      ## Conversation started by Disqus, on Jun 18 @ 1:49pm (UTC):


  • Georgeannelowrey

    This worked out beautifully.  My grandsons quilt … 50″X44″ was a little larger than what you might think could work with this technique, but as long as I reversed the direction of sewing (as you told in tutorial) it stayed straight.  Thank you so much for these awesome tutorials!

    • Sarah

      Thanks for letting us know!  I bet it looks wonderful!  Have a great day!

  • Marg Sweetman

    I have just made a baby quilt using this method .  It looks wonderful and I am really pleased with it.  Many thanks

    • Sarah

      That is great to hear!!  

  • Isabella Smith8

    Great tut as usual allways love a trip from here in Tasmania to missouri star quilt Co

  • Wendy keating

    Being a hand sewer I cannot believe how quick this was. A project for the weekend. Thank you so much.
    Wendy – Australia

    • Sarah

      You are so welcome!  Glad you enjoyed this one!!  

  • Hoh4863310

    I’m new to quilting and stumbled across your tutorials which have really inspired me. I’m not very good yet, but enjoy trying! I’m going to have a go at this quilt as you go for a baby quilt. Thanks again for your inspiration.  Helen from Stratford-upon-Avon, UK.

    • Natalie

      Hi Helen,
      We are glad that you found us. Good luck with your baby quilt. We would love a picture when your finished. 

  • Dnones

    it is so pretty and very easy to do.

    • Natalie

      We think so too! Glad you like it!

  • Bonnie

    Can you use the quilt as you go method with charm packs?  I started a quilt using charm packs and am stumped on how to attach the fourth square on two sides.   HELP please!

  • How easy and fun is this?!!

  • Jenny B.

    Could you combine this technique with the self binding baby blanket? Maybe do the front as you go with flannel and then switch over to the self binding technique? I really stink at binding!

  • Fun! I am going to make that with some pretty fall fabric…yum!

    • Jackie MSQC


  • Pam roach

    What kind ( type) of batting do you use on table runners? ( I love warm and natural). Thank you for all of your great tutorials!!!!

    • Sarah MSQC

      We use Hobbs Heirloom (low loft) 80/20 and we love it!! I’ve heard wonderful things about warm and natural too!!

  • Jamie Parker-Frank

    Thank you for the great tutorial!

    • JackieMSQC

      You’re so welcome, Jamie! Happy Quilting!

  • Debbie

    very good , made one for myself

  • Ria

    Hi Jenny, I really like this tutorial on quilt as you go. I am making a large quilt which I want to quilt as I go, but am not sure how to join the strips. I have 30 squares 15inches x 15 inches = 5 pieces x 6 pieces with a strip of plain fabric between each square. If I put 5 pieces together how do I attach the next row? thanks Ria

  • Doodie from Oxford England

    Fantastic tutorial and I have just finished a cot quilt using your method, thank you. I am a novice quilter and find your tutorials a god send and so easy to follow. I would love it if you could explain how to quilt as you go for larger items, I just cant get the hang of it by reading books about how its done. Pretty please Jenny

  • NaNa Sue

    A great quick and easy runner or quilt. I love all of your tutorials, they give me inspiration.

    • JenM

      So glad you’re enjoying them! Hope you’ll give it a shot!

  • Terry M

    Thanks you. Always wanted to know how to do this and you made it look so easy.

    • JenM

      Hope you give it a try! Have fun!

  • Desiree Shaver

    Great tutorial! I am wondering what is the long ruler you are using to cut a straight edge?

  • meredith K

    Hi Jenny! I’m making a bed runner that is like this, only it has 4 “units” like the 1 you’ve made. It then has center dividers that are 2 & 1/2 in. wide solid pieces to separate the 4 “units”. Any ideas on how, using this method, I would connect them all into 1 long bed runner? I love the idea of “qayg”, so that it’s not so difficult on my home machine! Thanks for any input! You gals are great, my last 4 quilts have been from your tutorials! Many thanks! 🙂

  • suz

    Loved this one! Plan to share with my daughter-in-law in Italy. Thank you!

    • JenniferMSQC

      So glad you loved this one, suz. Hope she does too!!!

  • R. Hahn

    great tutorial! Used 6 months ago for a Linus Quilt and reviewed it to use again. Thanks

  • madeline

    i really like it when you show the work in writting for us beginners for i don’t always remember what you had said to do…this is great one to do…thank you very much for showing this in the downloadable to read as i go…thank you again.. n

  • Jjodie

    Is this really as easy as it looked? I can’t wait to try it! Thank you.

  • Pam B.

    Love, love, LOVE this tutorial!!!! I can’t wait to try a quilt a you go.

  • LaVonne A Kindred

    I love this! I’m new to quilting, and this method is going to be how I do my first quilt.