Week 3 of the 2021 American Patchwork & Quilting Quilt-Along starts on 3/8. The assignment is to cut and sew A strip sets. Here are some helpful tips. See more about the Quilt-Along here.

Strip sets are such a time saver when making blocks like Nine-Patches. Here are 3 tips to get you started.

1. Get an accurate and straight 1/4" seam. Now, this seems very obvious, but it's especially important when doing strip sets, because you're cutting a lot of units from one strip set. So if it's off in any way, you may have wonky strips or uneven pieces which can cause problems later when piecing. Try using a leader strip when sewing strip sets. This ensures that by the time you're sewing from a scrap of fabric onto your strips, you're sewing straight and accurately and smoothly. Another suggestion is to use your 1/4" foot with a guide if your machine has one, or create your own guide by adding a bumper of tape to help guide your fabric.

2. Press as smoothly as possible. When pressing, keep the steam setting off. Steam can pull at the strips and distort them. Then, press in one smooth movement with the right sides of your strips up. Hold one end in place so things stay straight when pressing. If you notice that one side of your strip is leaning in a certain direction, just straighten it with one hand, and use the iron to straighten the pieces.

3. Cut carefully. Once all your strips are sewn and pressed, it's time to cut. Line up the top of my strip with a line on you cutting mat. Then, just as you would square fabric up before cutting your fabric, you'll square one end of your strip up by trimming one end straight. When cutting, align a line on your ruler with the center strip, so you know the strips are straight and accurate.