How to Connect Large Quilted Blocks - Quilt-As-You-Go Tutorial

I like big blocks and I cannot lie! Big quilt blocks that is! You can quickly create a large quilt by piecing and quilting supersized quilt blocks. When you connected quilted blocks together, that's called Quilt-As-You-Go. Learn how to master this technique in this new quilting tutorial:

You can find the quilt pattern for the Hugs and Kisses quilt in the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day

quilt as you go hugs and kisses quilt

Yes, all of the blocks you saw in this video were quilted with walking foot quilting! Isn't that cool? You can do amazing things with your walking foot and best of all, it's a very easy form of quilting to master because the foot and your sewing machine do most of the work for you.

I love the Hugs and Kisses quilt because the extra large quilt blocks were easy to quilt on my home machine, but when combined together, they created a super sized throw quilt to enjoy on the couch.

This is also the method we're using to connect the quilted blocks for the Marvelous Mosaic Quilt together:

quilt as you go walking foot sampler quilt

It can be tough to quilt large quilts when your machine doesn't have a very big harp space - that's the space between the needle and the motor on the machine. Yes, I have taught a class on quilting a king on your home machine, but even I have to admit quilting a massive quilt in one big piece isn't for everyone.

So I hope you'll give this quilt-as-you-go technique a try! No matter what sized blocks you're connecting together, you'll need a strip of 1-inch wide binding for the back and 1 1/2-inch folded binding for the front of the quilt.

how to quilt as you go

If you match the color of your binding to the background color of your quilt top and backing, it will blend in completely and you won't be able to tell the blocks were quilted separately.

You'll also need an accurate 1/4-inch patchwork foot. This is essential because otherwise it's going to be a real chore to put your blocks together with an accurate 1/4-inch seam allowance.

How to quilt as you go

Frequently Asked Questions about Quilt-As-You-Go

I want to make my strips wider to make it look like sashing between the blocks. How do I do that?

Honestly, I'm still working out a good method for that. The benefit of the method I've taught here in the video is the edges of the quilt are butting up against one another inside the binding. This means there is no space on the quilt that doesn't have batting (the fluffy stuff in the middle of the quilt).

If you make the strips wider, you'll increase the distance between the blocks, and create a gap where there is no batting between the two layers of fabric. That's a problem because those areas will not feel the same, nor will they wear the same over time.

So let's just say that quilt-as-you-go method is still in the works!

If you want really wide sashing (like 4 inches or wider) simply cut and quilt rectangles, then connect them together using the method I've outlined in the tutorial above. I shared this technique for the Flower Festival Sampler Quilt so quilters could make the quilt bigger without making extra blocks.

How to I connect the blocks together with NO sashing?

The easiest method is to but the edges together and zigzag stitch over them. Jenedel Wilcox shared a 3 Step Quilt-As-You-Go technique with me in a podcast episode that used a 3-step zigzag to stitch the blocks together.

how to quilt as you go

How well will that zigzag method wear? Test it and see! I haven't used that method personally so I can't speak for how well it will wear over time.

Another method is to stitch the quilt blocks right sides together, but then you end up with an issue of seam allowance. What do you do with the bulky seams on the back of the quilt? Clip it and let it go raggedy? Cover it with sashing? Do a pillowcase bind and cover it up?

As you can see, there are a lot of options here and so far, I haven't been much of a fan of any of them. With all techniques you just have to test, try new things, and see what works best for you!

Do you have questions about Quilt-As-You-Go? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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Comments

  • Magda Oraby-Barrett - September 06, 2018

    Hi Leah, I am new to quilting and 100% love your tutorials. I bought your “Explore Walking Foot Quilting” book and find it very useful; especially as this is my main quilting method for now, as free motion is still defeating me at the moment! I decided to make a quilt as you go king size quilt for my daughter in law for her 40s. Can I ask you to clarify the victory lap; how far to sew it from the trimmed edge of the block. Generally what is the rule for sewing the victory lap.

  • Leah Day - August 29, 2018

    Hi Sue – Do you mean attaching the bottom rows to the main part of the quilt? When working with this technique the most important thing is starting with blocks that are trimmed and secured with a victory lap so the edges are stable and the blocks are square. Then so long as your binding is cut accurately and starched to maintain control, any sized quilt will come together perfectly. The key is the prep work so make sure to take your time on that, then stitch the rows together carefully.

  • Sue - August 29, 2018

    Can I do a full size quilt with this technique? I’m worried about how it will work when I get toward the bottom rows.

  • Leah Day - July 23, 2018

    Hi Cheryl,

    No, I don’t have a video that specifically covers borders like you described. Thank you for the suggestion! I’ll try to create something along those lines soon!

  • Cheryl McGlothlen - July 23, 2018

    Do u have a video on putting boarder corners thank you

  • Terry Chase - July 18, 2018

    Thank you for an excellent tutorial.

  • Dimitra Filippidi - May 26, 2018

    Thanks for your email

  • Cheryl Hof - May 25, 2018

    Great tutorial Leah. Thanks so much for the easy to follow and easy to understand technique.

  • Pauline Fitzgerald - May 25, 2018

    Leah, Thank you so much for this video. I’m new to quilting, so I welcome your comments and demonstrations. I will also obtain some of your books, as I need to build up my confidence.
    Once again Thank you.

  • Susan Mann - May 23, 2018

    Thank you for this tutorial. This is exactly what I needed at this time.

  • Marcy Scott - May 23, 2018

    Leah, I love this video. This would also be a great way to add an extra border to a quilt if you decided to make it slightly larger.

  • Leah Day - May 17, 2018

    Marja – Yes! Most definitely! Make your quilt blocks, then stitch around the outer edges with a victory lap, then cut your binding and connect the blocks together.

  • Marja Swart - May 17, 2018

    Will this quilt-as-you-go method work on a t-shirt quilt?

  • Leah Day - May 13, 2018

    Great question Patti – the issue is shifting and bunching of the batting when you go to connect the blocks together. Really you should quilt the batting and that will sort of defeat the purpose of doing quilt-as-you-go because you’ll still have to quilt it a bit on your home machine and when you get more of the block rows put together, that will be huge.

    The best thing when you have an idea is to try it so play with your sashing idea with batting and see how it works!

  • Patti Frantz - May 13, 2018

    Why couldn’t you just make your connecting 2” connecting strip with a 1-1/2” strip of batting sewn in the middle with finished edges that you sew over block edges as you go?

    I am so glad you shared quilting as you go! Can’t wait to try it! Seems so much easier than trying to quilt a king size quilt on my home machine, which I did for my daughter. My sweet husband set up sawhorses, covered with two full sheets of plywood, covered with plastic, in my living room. It worked! But I was very happy when it was done!!! I am so sorry I have never joined your quilt as you go blocks. Gotta get my courage up!!

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