All About Chain Piecing


Chain Piecing Square

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Let me take you back to the earlier days of my quilting journey for a minute. I was home alone and sewing one day and decided to Google “quilting”.

HELLO INFORMATION OVERLOAD.

I kept seeing words, terms and techniques that I didn’t know. I didn’t understand them and I didn’t even know where to begin.

To be perfectly honest, I turned off my phone, closed my computer and went back to my sewing machine. I quietly sewed in blissful ignorance for a while longer.

But…I knew in the back of my mind that there were better techniques out there and I wasn’t using them. I knew that I was probably taking twice as much time as I needed to, just because I was too overwhelmed…

Enter chain piecing.

Chain piecing is something I had read about and heard people talk about - and secretly I had no idea what they were talking about.

Is chain piecing necessary? Absolutely not!

Can it save time? Absolutely!

Do I chain piece now? Sometimes!

So, what is chain piecing?

Chain piecing is when you sew your pieces together in one continuous length of thread without stopping or cutting your thread between pieces.

What are the benefits of chain piecing? 

  • It can help keep you organized!
  • It saves time since you are not continually stopping and starting your machine.
  • You won’t use as much thread!
  • It eliminates that puckering and bunching that can sometimes happen when you start sewing. You know when the thread forms a nest and your fabric gets pulled down into the mechanism in your machine? AKA my worst nightmare? Yeah! That doesn’t happen with chain piecing. 

HSTs & CHAIN PIECING

I’m going to walk you through how to chain piece when you are working on a pattern that involves lots of HSTs…AKA, half of my patterns!

For this example, I’m using the Two At A Time HST technique, which you can read all about here!

Ps. This is the Home Street quilt I made during the QAL at the beginning of 2022. See the finished product in all of its neon glory here!

First, you will want to pair up all your squares according to the fabric combination charts found in your pattern.

You will then mark a diagonal line on all of your squares.

You will begin sewing a 1/4” seam allowance down one side of the marked line.

Chain Piece

When you reach the end of the line, you will not cut your thread or rotate your block. Instead, you will take your next prepped block and begin feeding it through your machine.

Make sure there is a bit of space between the blocks, so you can later trim the thread.

Chain Piece

Chain Piece

You will do this with all of your prepared squares. At the end, you will have one seam sewn down all of your blocks.

Now,  you are going to rotate the HSTs around so you can sew another 1/4” seam down the other side of the marked line on all the blocks.

Chain Piece

Chain Piece

Chain Piece

Once you have this done, you will simply snip (Canadians, click here) the connecting threads between the blocks.

And voilà! 

Chain Piece

Chain Piece

After you’ve snipped the connecting threads, I recommend that you label your HSTs (or whatever other blocks you've made) as you go to keep yourself organized!

Small scraps of paper or sticky notes work great. I usually use a little pin to keep them secure (Canadians, click here).

Or even better, a Wonder Clip literally works wonders! (Canadians click here).

HSTs with Labels

Pressing and trimming are normally the next steps after chain piecing. Stay tuned for a blog post on this soon!

I hope you found these tips helpful! Happy Quilting! 

Have questions about HSTs or about anything in the shop? Please reach out to hello@theblanketstatement.ca and we’ll help you out!