Thursday, June 8, 2017

How to Sew an On-Point Quilt

Hello! Today I'm sharing directions and tips for how to sew an on-point or diagonal set quilt. I get questions about this topic all the time and have been meaning to get a permanent post here on the blog on this topic; my recent Layer Cake quilt, "Hometown," was the perfect project to use for the photos!

In this post I'll be showing a quilt that is set on point with sashing and sashing 

posts. The technique is the same if you're making an on-point quilt without the sashing/posts or with sashing and no posts. You'll just have fewer steps for those other variations.  

Begin by making all of the blocks for your quilt. Then make sure you have the sashings, sashing posts, setting triangles, and corner triangles cut as well. For beginners:  Sashings are the strips of fabric that are pictured on the sides of the blocks below, and the sashing squares are the small print squares at the block corners. The triangles on the sides and top and bottom are the setting triangles, with the corner triangles at each of the four corners of the quilt.

Find a place where you can lay out your entire quilt with all of the parts and pieces. I feel like this is a great way to make sure you have the blocks positioned where you want them and also to make sure the colors are distributed evenly throughout the quilt.  My quilt uses scrappy sashing posts, so this was a great way to make sure I liked the placement of those fabrics as well.

The first step is to sew the sashing strips onto the block sides. When you use sashing, each row begins and ends with a sashing strip. Sew blocks and sashing strips together into rows as shown above.  Press all seams toward the sashing strips. the sashing posts to the sashing strips that go between the rows of blocks.  Again, press the seams toward the sashing strips.

Now you will begin sewing sashing strip/post rows to the block/sashing strip rows. In this quilt, the sashing strip/post rows are sewn to the tops of the first three rows and to the bottom of the final three rows. You will notice that there is a sashing strip/post row between rows 3 and 4 that doesn't seem to quite "fit." Leave this sashing strip/post row for later.

Next you'll begin to sew the setting triangles to the block/post/sashing strip combinations. Be sure to handle the setting triangles carefully as there is a lot of bias along the long diagonal edge. Again, press the seams toward the sashing strips.

After setting triangles have been added to the sides of row 1 and 2, sew these two rows together.  Press toward the sashing strip/post rows.

When you add row three to rows 1 & 2, you'll notice that there is a setting triangle sewn onto the left side but not the right side of the third row (up near the top). This is because one of the corner triangles will be added in that position after the rest of the quilt top is assembled.

(The rows with these differences will be different depending on how many rows there are in the quilt you are making).

Now you can go ahead and add that "extra" sashing/post strip to the bottom of the top half of the quilt. Press the seam toward the sashing/post strip.  Set this part of the quilt aside for now.

Assemble the bottom three rows of the quilt as you did the top rows. The only difference is that the sashing/post rows have been added to the bottom of the blocks. Also, there isn't a setting triangle to add to the left side of row 4--a corner triangle will be added in this position when the quilt center is completed.

Again, the exact row numbers where the differences occur will be different depending on how many rows are in the quilt.

Next add rows 4-6 to the already finished section with rows 1-3. Another benefit of sewing the two halves of the quilt together like this is that you are only sewing with all of the blocks and fabrics one time; this is much easier than continuing to add just one row at a time.  Continue to press seams toward the sashing strip/post rows.

Finally, add the corner triangles to the four outside corners of the quilt. Press these seams out toward the corner triangles.

Sometimes quilt designers purposely over-size the setting and corner triangles. If this is the case with your quilt, you'll need to trim the quilt. Using a long ruler, and making sure to leave 1/4" past the points of the sashing posts, trim edges evenly (I actually use a couple of rulers placed end-to-end to make sure I get these cuts made accurately).

If the quilt doesn't need trimming, then you can add the borders as directed in the pattern. At this point, borders are added in the same manner as they are added for a straight set quilt. 

I hope this tutorial helps with on-point quilt sewing! I've included a Pinterest ready photo above so you can easily find this tutorial in the future.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments, and I'll answer them there and update the post as needed.

PS.  The Layer Cake pattern will be available soon!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


felicia condry said...

Love this pattern.

Thank you.

Hildy said...

Love your quilt top and the quilting is stunning! Thanks for the tips on point setting looks so good the only thing I'm always struggelin with is the size of the blocks when set on point.

Rhonda Snider said...

Is there a way to determine the completed size of an on point quilt if you aren't working from a pattern? I am making 6.5" blocks by sewing three jelly roll strips together. Using the whole jelly roll, I will have 84 6.5" blocks. I can not figure out how large this quilt will be and if it will be large enough for a small child. Thanks for your help. I love reading your blog.

Jan @Cocoa Quilts said...

Perfect timing Sherri, I was just looking for my next project last night and saw a few on point quilts. Wasn't sure I was ready to tackle them, but this makes it seem so easy. Just step by step.

Chookyblue...... said...

love seeing the whole quilt..........always a slight brain challenge setting on point......

Gayle Miller said...

I love on point quilts! It there a formula for figuring out the size for the setting triangles? I know the corner ones are different from the side ones. I have made on point quilts from patterns but never figured out one myself.

shoshu said...

thank you,would you consider a post on doing the mathfor setting triangles and corner triangles?

margaret said...

thankyou very helpful tutorial

Little Quiltsong said...

Thank you for sharing this tutorial, Sherri! I love on-point quilts and keep making a few in between my other regular ones, but I still get so turned around while making them - that I keep saying - "this is my last one" :)!! Visual is great though - and your pics and explanations really help!

Libby said...

Thank you for sharing this tutorial. Can't wait to start my quilt !

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