Tuesday, October 20, 2015

chainmail piecing, a mini tute

Hydee wanted to know a little more 

As mentioned, I couldn't find the post I'd previously read on the topic,
but then,
after spending several minutes,
googling several different phrases, 
I still couldn't find anything describing the method
(never mind the exact post I'd read...)
so I figured what the heck, I'll just do a quick tutorial.

love me some nicely starched fabrics :-)

This mini tutorial assumes that you have a good understanding of quilt making
and are just wanting a faster finish.

You can use it for simple patchwork,
or as a way to join pieced blocks.

I think it's probably better suited for throw-sized quilts and smaller,
simply because you are handling the fabrics a bit more
than you would be if you were sewing a quilt top using the
'sew pairs together,
then sew those pairs together,
and repeat 'til you have a row'
so there is more fraying than usual.

ok ~ here ya go:

For starters,
lay out your quilt.
(mine is a just small one, with a 6x8 layout)
(and my 'blocks' are just squares of fabric...)

At this point, you want to denote (with a pin or mark of some sort) 
the upper left hand corner of your first (upper left corner) block.
(It helps you find it when your piece of 'chainmail' gets big...)
I don't have a picture of this, but you are bright,
you can figure it out ;-)

(If you think these fabrics look familiar, you would be right,

After laying out your quilt,
there is no need to label your pieces/blocks
 - yipee! - 
just place all of your column 2 blocks
on top of your column 1 blocks,
right sides together,
to prepare them for sewing.

stack all of your fabric pairs together,
top row at the top of your stack,
bottom row,
you guessed it,
on the bottom.

Don't pair up any more blocks,
but stack all of the remaining (single) columns
 this same way,
with the block from row 1 on top, and your final row on the bottom.
(again, you may want to note which way is up, just for good measure)

then stack all of your stacks together,
working left to right
(so your stack of pairs is at the top of your pile,
your stack from column 3 is just under those,
and so on and so forth.

Beginning with the pair of blocks at the top of your pile,
sew the 2 blocks together with a 1/4" seam
and without cutting your threads,
continue to chain piece
until you have no pairs left to sew,
and the piece on the top of your stack
is the first single piece - the first fabric from column 3.

Now, you can cut the threads - but only the ones still attached to the machine -
and remove your 'chain'.

Take your whole chain of sewn pairs,
and leaving them joined together,
open up your first pair (row 1, columns 1 &2)
and add (right sides together) that first single block
and sew.
without cutting threads (aka chain-piecing)
continue to add the top block on your stack to
the right of the next set of sewn pairs,
until you are out of sewn pairs.

Snip threads to remove from machine.

Continue on,
without snipping thread between blocks,
adding the blocks from your stack
to the right side of  what are now strips of fabric

here, I'm getting ready to begin adding the 4th column...
see the threads holding it all together like a 'curtain'?

repeat, repeat, repeat,
until you are out of blocks.

Here's where I differ from the instructions I originally read:
she said to still leave everything together and press every other row in opposite directions,
still without clipping any threads,
join the rows.

While I can see the beauty of that system,
(no chance of getting rows out of order)
those threads got in my way!
(and if you're going to press your seams open, it'd be impossible to do with them  there)

For Brandon's quilt,
I labeled the rows,
and clipped the threads that joined each row as I was ready to press it,
then pinned it to its upstairs neighbor.
I joined the rows in pairs,
then joined those  pairs,
until I had a completed top.

For this little quilt,
I left the threads unclipped,
pressed to the sides
(every other row in the opposite direction)
and clipped the threads as I was pinning the rows together,
and just added rows one at a time
'til I had a quilt top.
Again - easier for a smaller quilt, I think...

There you have it;
my version of the 'chainmail' /'curtain' quilt top piecing method.

If you have any questions, ask away ~ I'll do my best to answer 'em

Linking up with productive Lee and a bunch of other creative peoples

(come back soon for a chance to own the finished quilt :-)
go here


  1. Great tute! It's similar to how I did the X-rated quilt. The best part of this: "but you are bright, you can figure it out." Love it!

  2. I do this ALL THE TIME and it sames SO much time.

  3. thanks for posting this method, I'll have to remember where I saw it ;) your pieces look really tiny !

  4. Thanks for the explanation! Bonnie hunter take about doing this, she calls it webbing :) kat @ katandcatquilts.blogspot.com

  5. you know Kat ~ someone had mentioned Bonnie's post last time, but when I searched for it, I didn't find it.
    But then sometimes I can't find a post on my own blog, that I KNOW is there... crazy!

    Colleen ~ they ARE really tiny ;-)

    thanks for stopping by, y'all :-)


You're leaving me a comment?? Oh goody! I love comments :-)