“I Can’t Sew a Straight Line” No Measure Modern Quilt Tutorial

Modern No Measure Quilt ready to go to the Long Arm Quilter

Photo 1: Modern No Measure Quilt ready to go to the Long Arm Quilter

This quilt is designed to guarantee a beautiful modern quilt – with perfectly straight lines – by even a beginning sewer!

The twenty-something daughter is visiting and wanted some help with apartment decor. Her bedroom needed some color – and curtains.  The Stash shall provide!

A modern quilt – simple lines and beautiful colors – will balance perfectly against the copper brown we decided to use for the curtains.

To refresh her sewing skills, I thought she should make it.   Thus the protestation: “But I can’t sew a straight line!”

Fabric will do the work for you!

Photo 2: Foundation Fabric. Look at all those straight lines! The fabric will do the work for you!

Oh, but anyone can!

The key is the foundation fabric – which will not show.  A striped or checked fabric in a 55″ – 60″ width does all the hard work!

Choosing a Foundation Fabric

The fabric used here was a 55″ wide tablecloth check (1/2″ wide) in a medium weight polyester.  The beige on white check has limited contrast – which will not show through most fabrics.

A stripe or check with high contrast might be visible through some of the design fabrics – especially white or very light colored fabrics.

A gingham check fabric or even a striped sheet are also good choices for the foundation fabric.

The size of the foundation fabric will determine the size of the quilt.  This one is 55″ wide because that is how wide the fabric was.  Its length is approximately 65″.  Straighten the top and bottom edges by cutting along one of the lines created by the checks in the fabric.

Laying out selected fabrics

Photo 3: Laying out selected fabrics

Select Design Fabrics

Choose  fabrics in colors that speak to you.  Much like deciding the colors and order in the Destashification Table Runner, this step gives you an opportunity to enjoy the colors and tactile sense of the fabrics.

As this is a modern design, the selected fabrics were solids.  My daughter chose a medium blue for the main color.  The copper brown fabric to be used for the curtains was included.

Then, if your memory is anything like mine – take a photo.  It will help when trying to remember what color is next!

First Seam

1.  Iron the foundation fabric.

2.  Really, it has to be ironed.  Skipping the ironing will not work.  Go back to Step 1.

Foundation Fabric:  approx. 55" by 65".  Ironed.

Photo 4: Foundation Fabric: approx. 55" by 65". Ironed.

3.  Lay the ironed foundation fabric flat on the floor if your knees allow it – or on a large table if the knees determine it to be a better option.

4.  Iron the fabric selected for the first design stripe. This stripe should be rather wide (a minimum of 6″ ).

Blue Fabric (first stripe) placed on top of Foundation Fabric.

Photo 5: Blue Fabric (first stripe) placed on top of Foundation Fabric.

 

5. Place the first design stripe on top of the foundation fabric.   Use one of the checks in the Foundation Fabric to keep the stripe straight.  It is difficult to see from Photo 5, but the Foundation Fabric extends completely under the blue fabric.

6.  Pin the first stripe fabric to the Foundation Fabric – every 3″ or so.

First Stripe Fabric pinned to Foundation Fabric

Photo 6: First Stripe Fabric pinned to Foundation Fabric

This requires A LOT of pins, but is necessary to prevent any shifting of the fabrics – which then might cause puckers – which can result in small creases – which then leads to having to rip out seams.  So, lots of pins.

Second stripe fabric placed on top of first stripe and Foundation Fabric.

Photo 7: Second stripe fabric placed on top of first stripe and Foundation Fabric.

7.  Place fabric for second stripe (olive green) on top of first fabric.  This creates a “sandwich” with the second stripe (olive) on top, the foundation on the bottom and the first stripe (blue) in the middle.  Align edges and pin as shown in Photos 7 and 8.

Stripe 2 on top of First Stripe - all pinned to Foundation Fabric

Photo 8: Stripe 2 on top of First Stripe - all pinned to Foundation Fabric

Photo 9 indicates the approximate location of the seam, but it is not sewn on the design fabric side.  It is sewn on the  Foundation Fabric side. 

Photo 9: Approximate Location of Stitching Line

Photo 9: Approximate Location of Stitching Line

 

 

 

 

 

8.  Turn entire piece over.  Select a Foundation Fabric check line that is approximately 1/2″ to 1″ from the edge of Stripes 1 and 2.  Sew along that check line.

Blue Line - edge of stripe.  Pink Dashed Line - sewing line.

Photo 10: Blue Line - edge of design stripe. Pink Dashed Line - sewing line.

Photo 10 illustrates how the location of that seam is chosen.

The location of the edge of the design fabric stripes (which are now on the underside) are represented by the blue line.

The dashed pink line represents the location of the seam.  The check line of the foundation fabric provides a nice straight line to follow for that seam.

Flip the second stripe over and iron.

Photo 11: Flip the second stripe over and iron.

9.  Turn the piece back over and remove pins.  Flip the second stripe and iron.

The Rest of the Seams

Foundation piecing is also called “sew and flip”.

Seam from both design and Foundation Fabric (stitching) sides

Photo 12: Seam from both design and Foundation Fabric (stitching) sides

10.  Each stripe is pinned in place, sewn along a check line in the Foundation Fabric, and then flipped and ironed!

Sewing along a check line in the Foundation Fabric produces a very straight seam!

Photo 12 shows the seam from the sewing/Foundation side and from the design fabric side.

Just keep pinning, sewing and flipping design fabric stripes until the entire Foundation Fabric is covered!

 

A Few Helpful Hints:

  • Vary the widths of the designs stripes, especially adjacent stripes.
  • Separate similar colors with at least one dissimilar or contrasting color.
  • First and last stripe should be at least 6″ wide.
  • If the stripe fabric is not long enough, simply sew two pieces together, but try not to have all the seams occur on the same side of the quilt top.
  • Rolling end of quilt for ease of sewing.

    Photo 13: Rolling end of quilt for ease of sewing.

    Always sew from the same edge (right to left or left to right).  Changing directions may cause puckers.

  • Rolling the quilt as shown in Photo 13 will make it easier to feed through the sewing machine.
Four stripes done - Look at those straight seams!

Four stripes done - Look at those straight seams!

Look at those straight lines!

Modern No Measure Quilt Top ready for Long Arm Quilter!

Modern No Measure Quilt Top ready for Long Arm Quilter!

So simple!  So straight!

Your Foundation Fabric does all the work required to keep those lines straight!

No measurements!  No 1/4″ seams!

Just pin, sew, flip, and repeat!  The entire quilt top can be completed in a morning!

Ready for Long Arm Quilter magic!

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This entry was posted in Beginner Sewing Projects, Home Decor, Quilting, Sewing, Sewing for a Teenager, Tutorial. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to “I Can’t Sew a Straight Line” No Measure Modern Quilt Tutorial

  1. Wow, this is beautiful!

  2. Thanks. I will pass your kind words along to my daughter. She sat with my Stash for about an hour picking colors and decided where they should be placed. She loves coral, but did not want it to overwhelm the quilt, so the coral is the narrowest stripe at just 1″ wide (which equates to two checks on the foundation fabric!).
    Thanks again.

  3. Pingback: Stripes Quilted with Bubbles | The Destashification Project

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