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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why Measure? Stacking Coins Tutorial

I really hate to measure.  It is mostly because I have a very difficult time with precision.  It seems such as waste to spend time carefully measuring things when it is likely to be off when I am finished no matter what.  Therefore I spend a lot of time figuring out how not to measure or how to fix the wonk on my blocks because I didn't measure or I didn't sew carefully enough.  While I am more than happy to do improvisational and/or wonky, there are times when I really want to make a normal, traditional, not weird quilt.  

I bought a jelly roll on sale and didn't know what to do with it.  I wanted to make a stacked coin.  quilt.  I looked a couple official patterns that wanted me to measure and cut pieces.  No way!  I figured I could do it without all that.  What follows is the method I used to piece a stacked coin quilt.  I didn't stress out over measurements.  There are probably eleventy-seven great videos and seventy bajillion better ways to do this.  Hopefully this one will help other ruler challenged individuals. 

Fabric. I started with a jelly roll: strips of print that are 2.5 inches wide and about 42 inches long.  I cut an equal number of strips of background fabric that is also 2.5 inches wide and the width of the fabric.  You may need more or less background fabric depending upon how big you make your coins.  ( I said, I didn't measure. I don't count so well either!)  You may use any width/length of fabric you like.  The only 'rule' here is that the background fabric and the print need to be the same width. There is one other helpful 'rule'.  Make sure that the length of the print strips is less than the final width of your coin stack.  (On my jelly roll strip, I made the coins 50 inches long.  The jelly roll strip are 42 inches.  That way I don't have to worry about my coins running off the edge of the quilt.) In this example, I'm making the coins 12 inches long.)

Line up the strips, right sides together.

Sew a 1/4 inch seam across the end. 

You now have an even longer strip!

Re-align the strips but do not have the ends meet.  Place the end of the background fabric somewhere along the length of the print strip.  In the picture above you can see the fabrics positioned right sides together with a tail of print fabric to the right of the end of the background strip.

Sew the seam.  This time you will be 1/4 inch from the end of the background fabric.  Again, you can see the tail of printed fabric to the right in the picture above.

Trim the tail even with the seam allowance.  

Reserve the tail for another coin.

You now have a big long loop of fabric.

For centered coins, fold the loop in half matching up the seams.  If you want a more random stack, simply make the fold somewhere in the print fabric.

Ooops.  There is one bit of measuring.   Place the folded loop on your cutting mat. Measure from the fold in the print half the length of your final coin.  For the jelly roll quilt, I wanted 50 inch coins.  Half of that length is 25 inches.  I measured 25 inches from the print fold to make my cut.  In this example the final coin is 12 inches.  I cut the loop at half that length or at 6 inches. 

You should only be cutting through background fabric.  If you lay out the fabric and it looks like you will cut through the print, simply adjust your fold until you have at least on inch of background on each side of the print. 

Cut through both layers at that mark and you have your coin ready to stack. 

Now remember that tail?  You can do the same thing with it.  Line up the end of the tail with a piece of the background fabric.  (The only thing you have to keep in mind is that you want the total length of these two strips when sewn together to be longer than the final length of your finished coin.)

Sew the seam.  Line up the ends.  In this case the print strip is short so I lined the background up with the end of the print to make my loop.

 Line up the seams for a centered coin. Make your cut at half the final coin length. 

OR... fold anywhere in the print.  Make the cut at half the final coin length.   (You may notice in the picture that I will still have a piece of background fabric about 4 inches long leftover after I make my final cut.  Save those scraps and sew them onto the end of print fabric.  You don't have to make a loop every time.  Sew the scraps onto the print.  Fold in the print.  Cut in the background fabric half the finished coin length away from the fold.) 

Voila!  Coins ready to stack. Sew the long seams and you have your quilt ready to go.  This is very forgiving.  If you don't measure perfectly you will end up with a little wonk the on the sides.  That can be evened up without having much effect on the overall size of the quilt.  You should sew each seam in the opposite direction.  That helps prevent bowing and stretch on long strips.  I added 10 inch strips of background fabric to the sides of the jelly roll quilt to make the dimensions work out properly. 

I hope this makes sense.  Let me know if I need to clarify anything.  And let me know if you make one this way!

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure this is a better way to make this quilt...but it still boggles my mind. I'm just not into directions any more than I am measuring! yUk!