Saturday, April 7, 2012

Postage Stamp Quilt Tutorial

Postage Stamp Quilts are many and varied - with variation in layout and size of each square - and so is the way to approach making a Postage Stamp Quilt.  I have chosen to make my Postage Stamp Quilt from fabric scraps and by sewing 16-patch strip pieced blocks with a random layout.



I started by tipping over my scrap bin and noticed that many of my fabric scraps were small/narrow strips (trust me, you don't want to see this mess!).  And so it started:

Step 1 - Cutting Strips
Cut strips of fabric measuring 2 inches x 7 inches.


 You'll need a total of 432 strips to make a Postage Stamp Quilt measuring 54 inches x 54 inches.  However I rarely cut all fabric in advance for a project, and prefer to have short cutting sessions followed by sewing sessions.

Step 2 - Sewing Strips


Sew four strips together, pressing all seams to one side (press all seams in the same direction).  This block now measures 6.5 inches x 7 inches.  Press carefully without pulling the strip set out of shape.

Step 3 - Cross cutting the strip set

Cross-cut the strip set at 2 inch intervals.  You will have some excess fabric left over which may you may need if your strip set is a little wonky.  Make sure that you are cutting at a 90 degree angle to the sewing lines.  If not, straighten up by trimming back.

 Step 4

You'll need a total of 324 of these units :: four units for each 16 patch block.  (Again, there's no need to make all of these units first ~ it does get a little tedious).

Step 5


Sew together four units into a 16 patch block.  Each block now measures 6.5 inches x 6.5 inches. 

This is where direction of seams allowances becomes important!   
Arrows indicate the direction of the seam allowance.

The direction of the seam allowance is indicated by the arrows above; sewing and pressing ALL blocks the SAME way ensures that you will be able to easily match the seams when eventually sewing the blocks together into a quilt top.

Step 6

Press all final seam allowances in one direction.  Be consistent in pressing seam allowances for all blocks.  I am left handed and found it easier to press these final seam allowances toward the right.


The back of your block should look like this.
Make a total of 81 blocks.

Step 7 - Quilt Layout

Arrange the 81 blocks in 9 rows each of 9 blocks.  The arrows above refer to the direction of the final seam allowances of the individual blocks in Step 6.  (For example, the final seams of all blocks in the first vertical column should be pressed up).  By alternating the direction of the final seam allowance all of the other seam allowances will also "lock" together and will make matching of seams a piece o' cake.

Sew blocks together into (horizontal) rows.  Press all seams in one direction; and in opposite direction for every second row.


Sew all 9 rows together into a quilt top!  Press seam allowances (direction not important).

You're done!  Quilt top measures 54.5 inches x 54.5 inches.

Any questions?  Please feel free to ask by leaving a comment, and I will reply in the comments sections.

Happy Stitching,
Rita

RELEVANT LINKS:
Work in Progress (Part 1)
Postage Stamp Quilt (Part 2) 
Postage Stamp Quilt - Finished Quilt


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72 comments:

  1. Love this quilt, all those beautiful fabric.

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  2. Happy Easter Rita. I will make this one day - just not sure if I have enough patience yet. Thank you for the tutorial!

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  3. Your directions make it seem actually do-able! Thank you---I will soon be tipping over my scrap bin cornucopia as well!

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  4. Well, how easy is that? I LOVE the colors of yours -- I'm afraid my scraps would be a lot more boring . . .

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  5. Feliz Páscoa Rita.Você mostrou um jeito muuito fácil de fazer.Imagine que eu já fiz cortando quadradinhos um a um com tesoura,uma colcha que mede 2.20x2.40.Fui lá medir e as peçinhas estão com quase 4cm de lado.Acho que me odeio...Um grande beijo e obrigada.ps:Terça estarei começando outra com a sua maneira de fazer.

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  6. Replies
    1. Talia, did you mean "Holy Scrap"? :)

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  7. Rita it is just beautiful. But how many different scrap do you have to have to keep from one square of fabric being next to a square of the same fabric? Did you run into that problem? It seem like you have more scraps than me?!

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    1. Hi Michelle ~ That's a great question. I had A LOT of scraps and it seems that it doesn't matter how many scraps you have they gravitate towards each other. When I arranged my blocks I found I had to do quite a bit of re-arranging (whilst being careful to keep my seam allowances in the right direction) to ensure that no two same fabrics were alongside one another.

      Now that I've finished the quilt I have noticed that numerous the same fabrics are closely grouped together despite my efforts. I don't think it's too important though, and doesn't affect the overall result.

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  8. Thank you for making it so simple! One day I will make one for sure!

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  9. Fantastic way to use up scraps. I may have to start cutting this week-end and storing them for later!

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  10. Thanks for this lovely tutorial! For someone new to piecing like I am, your directions about such things as which way to press seam allowances is super helpful. Have been wondering which project to tackle next, and I think this is a great choice. Since I don't make quilts (gasp), I might use such blocks to make nesting baskets or maybe place mats. Thanks again for generously sharing your talents. Your blocks are gorgeous!

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  11. Perhaps you might want to add to your tutorial, that it is also important to sew the strips in alternating directions, once from top down and the next row from bottom up. That keeps it from getting lopsided. I hope, you understand what I mean, Rita, my English is not so good ;-) But by looking at your perfectly straight quilt I am sure, you did it that way.

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    1. Thanks so much! Yes when working with strips (especially longer strips) it works better to sew strips together in alternating directions.

      If you are having trouble keeping your strip sets from being wonky you might want to try sewing strips together from opposing directions. (Although I did not have any problems with 7 inch strips.)

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  12. Thanks for another great tutorial and just the at the right time. I spent last night sorting out my scraps in preparation for a scrappy quilt so this is just perfect!

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  13. Do you realise your scrap bin is more varied than my fabric stash lol
    I've made one postage stamp quilt (Around the world pattern) many moons ago and found seam matching a nightmare I can imagine that making up the blocks would help with that?

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  14. I love the colours. How did you manage not to have two fabrics the same coming together? That's the bit I find the most frustrating.

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  15. Wow! I think I would die happy if I ever got to dig into a scrap bin like yours! =D That quilt is amazing! <3

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  16. What an amazing quilt, my scraps would never in a million years manage to make this. Great tutorial!

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  17. what a great quilt and tutorial, thanks :-)

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  18. What a great tutorial, you really simplified the process. Thanks for sharing, the quilt is beautiful!

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  19. My grandmother had a postage stamp quilt that was set on point, and the edges were left zig-zaggy, thus looking like the perforated edges of a real postage stamp.

    I tried making one myself (when I was in the 7th grade!!!). Rather than tackle binding something that challenging, I stitched around the edges and turned the quilt inside out. Not very neat, but I was so excited about finishing it!

    I surely do wish I had that original quilt now, so I could look carefully at how it was finished. Any ideas?

    Yours is gorgeous!

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  20. I love it! Thanks for an awesome tutorial and I will definitely have to give this one a go!

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  21. So beautiful! thanks for the inspiration and the tutorial Rita!

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  22. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain. This quilt is so beautiful! Definitely on my "to make" list.

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  23. Thank you for the tutorial. It makes the Postage Stamp quilt look a little more do-able, rather than laying out each individual square.

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  24. Great tutorial! I've always wanted to make a postage stamp quilt, and this does seem like a very manageable way to make one. Thanks!

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  25. Rita, thank you for sharing.
    I already put it at Works to be performed

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  26. Great tute! I think the method you use helps unify the quilt a little bit since there are 4-square strips that are repeated four times. That's (part of) the magic to this quilt! Thank you for sharing Rita.

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  27. Gorgeous quilt and a great tutorial! Bookmarking!! =D

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  28. somebody please pass me a pillow- about to do a cartoon backwards faint. Wow! and THANK YOU for the super clear tutorial!

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  29. That is a great tutorial! Thank you.

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  30. Thanks for the tutorial. You inspired me to clean up my scraps and pile all the strips together. I am going to make a postage stamp quilt.

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  31. Absolutely gorgeous and a great way to use up my scraps. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

    www.ahmelie.com

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  32. Happy Easter Rita to you and your family.

    Thanks for the great tutorial on another way to use up scraps.

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  33. Fantastic tutorial...thanks!

    How are you going to quilt this?

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  34. Great tutorial however why have you blocked people from pinning your images? I don't use bookmarks anymore instead I use Pinterest to help me "bookmark" websites so that I can easily find them when I need them. This seems pointless to block people from pinning your website, why would you put up the tutorial?

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    1. As far as I know pinning from my blog is not blocked - and my images, including this tutorial is well represented on Pinterest. It doesn't seem that anyone else is having problems pinning from my blog.

      I have blocked pinning from my Flickr Photostream, but you can pin right here from my blog; that way the link included in the pin is back to the relevant blog post and all the information is right there.

      Rita

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  35. Such a beautiful quilt. A perfect project for scraps and thanks for sharing the tutorial!

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  36. Lovely quilt. I'm going to start one soon. :)

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  37. Had to try this... And in my excitement a messed up twice. 1. Choosing the same fabric when piecing the strips together a bit to often (I only made 5 strip blocks... call it a practice run for a scrappy pillow...) and 2. I did not pay attention to important part of Step 5... Naughty girl... So my pressed allowances ended up in the same direction at a couple of sides... Well, learned from it and next time I get into making a postage stamp project I will probably do better. Thanks for sharing. I had great fun.:D

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  38. fabulous tutorial Rita - hope I get enough scraps to do one of these - of course the fabrics from your scrap bin really make this quilt so wonderful :)

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  39. I couldn't pin either from your blog or from flicker - though I know i have in the past. thanks for sharing the tutorial - it's a beautiful quilt!

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  40. Beautiful quilt! Lovely to look at, and inspirational too. I'm starting my postage stamp quilt ASAP.

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  41. The inspiration I needed to get started on a postage stamp quilt!

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  42. Rita,
    Thank you for the tutorial! I am excited to use up some of my scraps on this beautiful and fun quilt. :-)

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  43. love the concept, lobe the colors - fresh and lively.

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  44. Thank you, great tutorial!
    Liebe Grüße
    Bente

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  45. FabYOUlous! Yummy looking colors!

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  46. Thanks for a great tutorial. I made a postage stamp quilt from jelly roll strips, didn't really seem like scraps!
    I like this way better, I'll be giving it a try!

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  47. Can I ask... What length of sewn edges are there for each step? I'm doing 1/4" on all of them and having trouble making everything square.

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  48. I was thinking of making a postage stamp quilt using leftover 2 1/2 squares. Kind of like a leaders enders project that I'll make a block and then put it in a box until I have enough to sew together. Should I make them nine patch blocks? Will this system work? I've never made a quilt like this. Thanks! Also, should I make the nine patch in the same color way way, or just mix it up?

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  49. Great. Might just be tempted to go through the scrap box!

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  50. I started making one of these quilts a few months ago and I could not stop! So much FUN! Addictive. I now have THIRTEEN of them completed and ready for quilting. Thanks for sharing a great idea and helpful instructions. Now all I need is 13 grandchildren!

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  51. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your process!

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  52. I've just finished making my first quilt, and it was this one! Thank you for the lovely clear instructions.

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  53. I've just finished making my first quilt, and it was this one! Thank you for the lovely clear instructions.

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  54. I love this quilt and want to attempt it as my first. I have been saving up my hubby's old work shirts to turn into a quilt for my daughter. I wanted to make it a queen or king size and was wondering if there was a formula used to determine how many strips to cut because I will be cutting first and wanted to make sure I have enough for the larger size. Also, are you sewing 1/4 or 1/2 inch seams? Any help would be appreciated!

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  55. Can you please let me know size the seam allowance is as I can't work it out from the tutorial. It is a great quilt and I cannot wait to make one!

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    1. Hi Helen (you are a no-reply blogger and I am hoping you'll come and check back here). All seam allowances are 1/4 inch.

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  56. Hi! I would really love to make this. I have left over jelly roll strips which are 2.5" wide. Would I have to change the length of the strips and the width of the block strips I cut? If so please help this extremely novic quilter out and let me know what you recommend I should make them.

    As always in total awe of your quilts.

    Sally

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  57. Wonderful tutorial, Rita! I'm working on my own version right now, and I keep coming back to look at your gorgeous photos. If I ever finish, I'll make sure to send you a photo.

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  58. Fantastic clear tutorial! I've been saving up my scraps to make a quilt, and this just might be the pattern I've been searching for :)

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  59. Wow that's gorgeous I hope you get to read this Rita I am wanting to do a scrappy quilt but by hand apart from mind boggling would it be the same process many thanks Susie

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  60. It is amazing Rita! I am in awe of your stash. I hope to make this someday soon. Thank you for your kindness to share your amazing talents. Have a wonderful year.

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