String Tutorial 1 - Making String Fabric

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I’ve fallen for string piecing in a big way. It seduced me with the seemingly quick results, hooked me with the unplanned combinations and then reeled me in. This tutorial looks at string piecing without using a foundation to create a string fabric. The following tutorials detail how the string fabric has been used in three different projects, including the blue cross quilt.

Step 1 – Gather Your Strings

If you are working with leftover strips from another project, sort strips into matching widths. In this case I am working with leftovers from a scrappy hedgerow quilt and have one pile of 1 ½” strips and one pile of 1 3/4” strips. To make up the quantities I then looked for co-ordinating fabrics.

Step 2 –Create Lengths

Decide on the length of the strings that you will be using. If you are using mainly fat quarters to make up the quantities, use somewhere between 18” & 22”and if you are using widths of fabric, use slightly less than 44”.

Place markers for the chosen length on your work surface. In this case I used black electrical tape on the kitchen table as it can be easily removed when I have finished.

Working through each width, pair up the leftover strings and join until you have you final length.

When a string gets too long, cut the end off and start to use it in the next one.

Step 3- Make-Up Quantities

Cut strings from your makeup fabrics in a variety of widths ranging from 1 ¼” to 2 ½”. I kept my fabrics in piles sorted my width.

Step 4 – Pair-up Strings

Join pairs of strings and then pairs of pairs until you have the required width for the pattern you are working with. If you are looking to make angled cuts into your string fabric, where possible, offset the ends to match the angle of this first cut.

Step 5 – Let loose
There are seemingly endless possibilities for the string fabric that you have just made. The next three tutorials explain how strings have been used in three different ways- String as a fabric, String as squares and the Blue Cross Quilt.

Foundation Piecing
Often I haven’t the patience for foundation piecing, however, string piecing using a foundation is brilliant for using a very small amount of left over strips or just one or two blocks. You can find a tutorial to this technique here over a Film in the Fridge.

There it is, string piecing without foundations. I hope you enjoy giving this technique a try. I’d love to know how it works out for you and if you have any questions please let me know.

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  1. Hi there, I love string piecing, and I noticed all your salvages, have you ever done a selvage quilt? Done in the same way, they turn out sew great with all those awesome fabrics.


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