Chain-piecing and strip-piecing are two ways to quilt more efficiently. Learn to do both.

Easy Triangle Squares

Many quilts employ a sew-cut-sew technique that take advantage of rotary cutting. Learn this technique with some basic units: triangle-squares, Four-Patches, and Nine-Patches.

1. When a pattern calls for many triangle-squares of the same two fabrics, first cut a strip from each fabric 7/8" wider than the finished triangle-square. For example, for a finished 6"-square, cut a strip from each fabric 6-7/8" wide.

2. Pair the strips with right sides together, and cut the layered strips into squares; in our example, cut the strips into 6-7/8" squares. Place a layered pair of squares on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. Use a pencil and ruler to draw a diagonal line on the top square.

3. Stitch 1/4" on each side of the drawn line, then cut on the drawn line to make two triangle units. Press each triangle unit open to make triangle-squares.

Four-Patch Magic

1. To quickly make Four-Patch units from the same two fabrics, first cut a strip from each fabric half the finished size of the unit plus 1/2". For example, for a finished 6" square, cut a 3-1/2"-wide strip from two different fabrics.

2. Pair the strips with right sides together and sew long edges together. Press strips open, then cut the pieced strips into segments that are as wide as the original strips you cut; in our example, cut the strips into 3-1/2"-wide segments.

3. Lay out two segments and rotate one of the segments 180 degrees. Matching the seam lines, sew together to make a Four-Patch unit.

Nine-Patch

1. To make two-color Nine-Patch units, cut three strips from each of two fabrics; each strip should be one-third the finished size of the unit plus 1/2". For example, for a finished 6" square, cut three 2-1/2"-wide strips from each of two fabrics.

2. Lay out strips in sets of three, alternating fabrics; sew long edges together. Press strips open, then cut the pieced strips into segments that are as wide as the original strips you cut; in our example, cut the strips into 2-1/2"-wide segments.

3. Lay out two segments from the first strip set and one segment from the second strip set. Matching the seam lines, sew together to make a Nine-Patch unit.

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