5 Rectangle Fun Quilt-Along: Piecing the Top

Now we have all our pieces cut out, it’s time to piece our top. If you are as lucky as I am and have a large table where you can spread your work out, it’s time to clear it off now. Otherwise, a bed will do. As you will see, this top sews together quickly, so you won’t be cluttering anyone’s space for too long.

We will join our pieces in a completely random manner. Yet there will be some order to our madness, in an effort to avoid having rectangles of the same fabric repeat next to each other.

NOTE: For the purposes of this tutorial, I am using my own quilt to point out the different steps. If you have chosen to work with a different size, you will have to “adapt” according to your needs. In all cases, the concept is the same.

(Please click on any photograph for a larger image)

1. Since I am working with a large quilt, I am going to divide my work in fourths. For simplicity sake, we will call them “panels.” Each panel is made up of four vertical strips. The first and third strips consists of 10 rectangles. The second and fourth strips are made with 9 rectangles and 2 squares sewn on each end. (In the pdf file with this step you will find illustrations for the other quilt sizes, with suggestions of how many panels to work with.)

2. I start with all my stacks of rectangles next to my sewing machine, right at my fingertips.

3. I will randomly pair them together, and sew eight sets of four rectangles together (2 per strip in my panel). No need to press seams yet. I now lay my sets of four on the table and play around with the arrangement. I will need to add two rectangles to the first and third strips, and one rectangle to the second and fourth strips, along with a square on each end. By working with sets of four sewn rectangles, this allows me to play around a bit. I can move the strips around and place the additional rectangles on the ends, or in the middle between the sets.

4. Once I am happy with my arrangements, I finish attaching the rectangles and squares to the strips, until I have four complete strips. At this point, my strips are longer than my table, so I have placed a folding table at one end so I am able to view the entire length of the strips at any given moment.

5. I now press the seams (to one side), and sew the strips together to form the first panel. I continue to press after sewing each seam.

6. With the first panel laid out on the table, I repeat this same process with the second panel. This allows me to view the layout without having to work with too many strips at a time.

7. Once I have finished with the second panel, I stack it onto the first panel, and continue in the same way with the third panel. And when that one is finished, I stack it onto the second panel, and put together the fourth panel.

8. With all four panels sewn, I will then join the first and second one to form one half, and the third and fourth to form the second half. And, quite obviously, I sew the two halves together for my finished quilt top.

Pdf File with Piecing Instructions: rectangle_piecing or download from Google Docs: rectangle_piecing


After cutting out my border fabric, I realized I had miscalculated and didn’t have enough for the last border. And I’m not so sure I really like that fabric anyway. After looking through my stash I haven’t been able to find anything I like. Oh, my dear. I guess I am just going to have to go to the fabric store again to find something else. Do you think I can make it out the door with only one piece of fabric? We’ll see!

Back to: New PDF link

Next: Adding the Borders

This entry was posted in Rectangle Fun Quilt-Along |Comments closed


  1. Posted September 11, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I found your blog by way of the EQ website and via another blogger. I see that you are an EQ Junkie, and would love to have your opinion of purchasing EQ7. I am anxious to get started with quilt design, as I am a beginning quilter (starting in my 60s 😉 ) but the purchase price is making me hesitate. I looked at EQ Design Wizard, but I have a feeling you can’t upgrade it to EQ7, and if I like quilting as much as I think I will, I don’t want to “waste” the money on the smaller program then wish I had purchased the best. I welcome your suggestions. Thanks!

    • Posted September 11, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Hmmm… this might take me a long time to respond. I mean, there’s no question about how much I love this program. I do think, however, that a lot of it depends on how much (or how little) you like computers and dabbling with new technology. For many of my own students, I recommend they start with the Design Wizard because it is oh, so easy to use, and you can’t beat the price. In itself, it is already versatile, because it allows you to take ready-made (already designed) blocks and plunk them down into different layouts and play around with coloring. So you are given many possibilities. But you are limited if what you want to do is draw your own designs. As to the different versions of EQ, I have heard from both sides: those of us who absolutely love this software, and those who find it challenging. I do think that, like so many things in life, it is hard to learn something new if you are not willing to commit time and, in this case, read the manual and do the lessons. One of the things I really do like about EQ is that it is simple enough for beginners (you don’t have to use all of its features, if you don’t want to) and powerful enough for advanced designers. And one thing I can bet everyone agrees on is that the technical support is out of this world. We are all terribly spoiled about how caring and how much the EQ staff is there for us.

      Any other EQer out there have thoughts on this that you would like to share?

  • Angie Padilla

    I am a self-learner. I taught myself to sew and to quilt. And I taught myself how to draw. I am learning how to dye my own fabrics and am dabbling with mixed media. I am a quilt designer and teacher, and design and publish my own line of quilt patterns. With this blog I would like to share the bits and pieces of my life.

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