You know that moment when you’ve cut all your pieces for a project and you’re ready to sew, sew, sew? It’s the go-time moment. I think we all love this part – when we can just feed that beautiful fabric through the machine in one long chain. We can apply that chain piecing method to rows of a quilt top. It’s a technique where you don’t have to stop to snip your threads between each block. If you can skip a step, why wouldn’t you – right?

This technique of chain piecing rows is sometimes it’s called “web piecing”. It can be applied to a large quilt top, using a design wall or your floor (see note below about a larger quilt). The mini quilt shown above, which measures 9.5″ x 9.5″ unfinished (9″ x 9″ finished), is a perfect little sample to show you how this method works. The pattern is Thorn and Thistle by Briar Hill Designs and is part of their 2018 Coast to Coast Quilt Along.

So here we go.

Chain Piecing Rows [Web Piecing]

  1. Lay out your blocks in the final arrangement.
  2. Sew Column 1 to Column 2 in a chain.
  3. Finger press your seams to one side, alternating directions at each row.
  4. Add Column 3 to the first two columns of assembled blocks.
  5. Finger press these seams in the same direction as the seams between Column 1 and Column 2. We want all the seams in a single row to go in one direction.
  6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until you’ve added all your columns. You’ll have a “web” of rows, all attached together.
  7. Turn on your iron.
  8. Sew Row A to Row B, nesting your seams.
  9. With your iron, press your seam to one side.
  10. Sew your Row 1/Row 2 assembly to Row C.
  11. Press your this seam to one side, in the same direction as Step 9.
  12. Repeat Steps 10 and 11 until your whole quilt top is assembled.

Check out this quick little video to help you visualize how chain piecing your rows works:

Setting your seams. Some of you might like to set your seams before you press them to one side, which can improve the accuracy of your quilt top. If you want to do that, you can do that between Steps 2 and 3, and then again between Steps 8 and 9. My personal preference is to set my seams when I am assembling the completed rows, but not for the individual blocks.

Larger quilts. When you’re working with a mini, you can lay out your blocks right next to your sewing machine on your tabletop. For larger quilts, lay out your blocks on a design wall or on the floor. You’ll want to stack up columns before moving them over to your machine. Here’s another video where you can see that in action.