Patchwork Techniques

Here are two great patchwork techniques: Random Strip Piecing and Seminole Patchwork. Both are extracts from Patchwork Postcards and Pinboard Quilts, by master quilter Katharine Guerrier. 

Katharine Guerrier’s inspired Patchwork Postcards and Pinboard Quilts shows how to use fabrics and techniques on a diminutive scale to make fabric postcards, postcard quilts. The slightly bigger Pinboard quilts are ideal for displaying unusual and treasured scraps of fabric or embroidery.

With Katharine’s advice on composition and colour, you can create your own postcard quilt, fabric postcard, artist trading card or pinboard design – ideal keepsake gifts or conversation pieces. And the design tips learnt from this ebook are invaluable for creating your own quilts, whatever the size.

‘This is a little gem of a book, brimming with ideas, written by one of our finest quilt teachers.’- Patchwork and Quilting Magazine

‘beautifully presented and very easy to use . . . A really useful feature is the links feature that takes you to other relevant pages in the text and the web links that go directly to suppliers’ web pages. . . . a wealth of information . . . including tips on composition, balancing colours, techniques for working with smaller pieces etc, and the mouthwatering collection of quilts is sure to inspire.’ – The Quilter magazine

‘It is fun, very well explained, in short, you can not live without it!’ – Quiltmania

‘brimming with ideas for using up treasured scraps of fabric and embroidery’ – Stitch with the Embroiderer’s Guild

Katharine Guerrier’s website

Random Strip Piecing

There are various methods of strip piecing that enable you to introduce small pieces of fabric into a composition without the need to cut and handle each tiny piece individually.

The first method is a form of random strip piecing, which can be cross cut and inserted as sections.

1. Cut between four to six squares of fabric in different colours. Four-inch squares will make a piece of strip section big enough to be used in Postcard quilts. Stack the squares one on top of the other in a pile and press.

2. Using the rotary cutting set, cut through all layers into strips of ¾-1¼in wide, or as preferred. Include some wider pieces if preferred.

Separate the strips and rearrange the colours.  Stitch them together using a very narrow seam allowance (about ⅛in) and a smaller stitch than for regular sewing. If the seams become a bit wobbly and distorted this will not matter. Press the seams on the back and again on the right side making sure there are no little pleats.

3. Cross cut the strip section into pieces of the desired size for your Postcard quilt. They can be added to other patches using a straight or curved seam.

Random Strip Piecing
Random Strip Piecing: Step 3
Random Strip Piecing Step 1
Random Strip Piecing: Step 1
Random Strip Piecing Step 2
Random Strip Piecing: Step 2

Seminole Patchwork

Dozens of patterns were developed by the Seminole people to decorate their clothing and other textiles. This method of strip piecing requires more precision than random piecing in both the cutting of the strips and the maintenance of an exact ¼in seam allowance, but the method’s usefulness makes the effort well worthwhile. 

I have used two simple patterns: repeated squares set on point, and repeated diamonds.

Squares set on point

1. Choose two contrasting coloured fabrics. Cut one strip 10-12in long, 1¼in wide, for the middle section. Cut two strips the same length as the first strip but 1¾in wide, for the background. Stitch these together with the narrower strip in the centre. Press the two seams away from the centre strip.

2. Cross cut sections 1¼in wide. Now stitch these together, displacing the squares as illustrated to make the pattern. Match the seams at the corners. On the back, press these seams open.

3. When you have stitched enough of the squares together for your design, add a triangle of the background colour to each end. Trim the ragged edges away, ¼in beyond the corners of the squares to give enough seam allowance for joining to the adjacent patches.  

Seminole Patchwork Squares on Point
Squares set on point Step 3
Seminole Patchwork Squares on Point Step 1
Squares on point: Step 1
Seminole Patchwork Squares on Point Step 2
Squares on point: Step 2

Repeated Diamonds

1. Choose two contrasting coloured fabrics. Cut one strip 10-12in long, 1¼in wide, for the middle section. Cut two strips the same length as the first strip but 1¾in wide, for the background. Stitch these together with the narrower strip in the centre. Press the two seams away from the centre strip. Now, place the 60 degree line of your ruler along one of the seams, with the edge of the ruler at the end of the strip section. Trim away the end of the strip section at an angle of 60 degrees.

2. Cut sections 1¼in wide, measuring from the angled edge. Stitch them together, displacing the seams as illustrated to make the repeated diamond pattern. Press these seams open.

3. When you have stitched enough of the squares together for your design, add a triangle of the background colour to each end. Trim the ragged edges away, ¼in beyond the corners of the diamonds to give enough seam allowance for joining to the adjacent patches. 

Seminole Patchwork Repeated Diamonds
Repeated diamonds: Step 3
Seminole Patchwork Repeated Diamonds Step 1
Repeated diamonds: Step 1
Seminole Patchwork Repeated Diamonds Step 2
Repeated diamonds: Step 2