This tutorial demonstrates the use of Nancy Zieman’s (of the Sewing With Nancy TV series) Column Quilt (this is a link to her video) method used to construct a Crazy Quilt, (CQ). It is a “quilt as you go” method. I saw her demonstrate this method on her television show for a more traditional quilt and thought it would translate well for CQ.
Since this was a test, I decided that my columns would be 5″ wide and 20″ long unfinished. I cut 4 strips of this size from muslin and thin fleece batting. I layered each strip of batting with a strip of muslin. Then I got out my scrap bin and started sewing cotton scraps of fabric to the muslin/batting strips “flip and sew” style. I worked from the center out to the edges just because I felt like it gave me less chance of things going askew. I used cotton thread in the needle and the bobbin.
This tutorial assumes that the reader is familiar with the “sew and flip” method of CQ, and no demonstration is given for this technique. There are lots of tutorials on the web for this method. Here is a link to one I know of off-hand at Annie’s Crazy Quilt Studio http://www.loopylace.com/crazyquiltstudio/lessons/piecing.htm
Briefly described, it is laying a piece of fabric face up on a foundation, then placing another piece of fabric right sides together along one edge, stitching along that edge, flipping it open and pressing. This process is repeated until the foundation fabric it totally covered.
The photo below shows the strips with the CQ piecing already accomplished on the muslin/batting strips and trimmed up to 5″ x 20″.
Next I layered one of the backing strips onto one of the pieced strips. I spray basted it to keep it in place. Then I machine decorative stitched the seams. I just used stitches available to me on my sewing machine. Nothing fancy. I don’t have a fancy sewing machine. Here’s a photo of this step completed.
And here a photo of what it looks like on the back side.
I then straight stitched down the length of this strip. I saw Nancy do this to stabilize the edge before attaching the next strip.
Next I layered the next pieced strip right sides together with the first strip and a strip of backing fabric right sides together with the back of the pieced strip. I pinned the pieces together.
Then I straight stitched all the layers together. There was a lot of bulk so I graded the seam allowance with pinking shears and then folded the new strip out to meet the new back.
Then I machine decorative stitched the seams in the second strip as with the first. There was a lot of bulk in the strip connector seam and it did affect the stitches, but not too much. Here’s a picture of the front and back after the seams were embellished.
You can see the bulk of the seam allowance. It was a little hard to get through the areas where seams from the Crazy Patch were. I decided not to straight stitch the second strip edge before joining the third to cut down on at least that much bulk. It wasn’t really necessary to stabilize the edge with the seams at the edge and the spray basting. I joined the third strip, embellished the seams, then joined the fourth strip and embellished the seams all without this step.
Here’s a picture of the front and back after all 4 strips are joined and embellished.
I liked the way the machine decorative stitches looked on the back, but you can clearly see the seam allowances. The next time I use this method, I will cut the batting to just under 1/4″ from the edges and I will use a pinking shear or rotary blade. In the tutorial Nancy did, she cut back the batting when it was regular quilt batting, but not when she used fleece. Even with fleece there is too much bulk, so I suggest cutting it back no matter what type of batting you use. It would have to be cut smaller from the start because of the piecing done on it.
Here’s a picture of it finished. I added decorative stitching to the connector seams and that helped them lay down a little better. It measures approx. 19 1/2″ x 17 1/2″, so there was a little shrinkage on the width. The strip connecting seams worked better at 1/2″ instead of the traditional 1/4″ because they were so bulky.
All in all, this turned out pretty good for a test. I think with the modification to the batting, it would be a great way to assemble a large Crazy Quilt. It goes pretty fast. I did all the cutting and piecing in about 2-1/2 hours and the embellishing and joining of the strips in about 2 hours. The binding will probably take 1 hour, so, for a good 1/2 a day’s work, I have a cute little baby doll crazy quilt. I think I will give it to my granddaughter with a baby doll for her birthday.