Learn the tools needed for hand piecing, as well as basic steps for this quilting technique.

Basics

Needle: Thin needles, such as sharps or betweens, are best. Choose a size you can thread with ease. Many hand piecers prefer a size 10 sharps needle.

Pins: Use extra-fine pins. Those with large diameters can leave holes in your fabric and distort seaming.

Seam: Stitch only on marked lines, beginning and ending at marked matching points.

Stitch length: Try for stitches 1⁄8" in length, but don't stop hand-piecing if they are a bit longer. Stitch length isn't as important as matching corners, stitching on marked lines, and not sewing through seam allowances.

Thread: Sew with a 12" length. Some hand piecers prefer to use hand-quilting thread for its strength.

How To

Step 1

Layer two pieces, marked on the wrong sides, with right sides together. Align seam lines. Push a pin through both pieces at marked matching points-the ends of the marked seam lines. Add pins along the seam lines as needed. For short seams, use just one pin, pushing it through the left-hand corners, then use your needle to match up the right-hand corners (Photo 1).

Step 2

Thread your needle; make a small knot at the end of the thread. At marked matching points insert your needle from the top through both pieces and make a small backstitch (Photo 1). Weave your needle in and out of the fabric along the seam line in a short running stitch. Take four to six stitches before pulling the thread through (Photo 2). If desired, take a backstitch about every 3⁄4" along the seam. (If you're using hand-quilting thread, which is sturdy, to hand-piece, you may be able to omit these backstitches.) Turn the piece over frequently to make certain your stitches are also on the marked seam line of the bottom piece.

Step 3

Sew to the matching points at the end of the seam line; do not sew past them as they are where future seams will intersect. Make two backstitches at the matching points. Trim the thread, leaving a 1⁄2" tail (Photo 3).

Advertisement