QM Introduces “Fold & Sew” for Precuts

Today’s post is by Peg Spradlin from Cozad, Nebraska. Peg has been sewing for Quiltmaker for a couple of decades and she has a new column in 2014 issues called Fold and Sew. We’re very excited about it and we asked Peg to tell you more.

Homesewer Peg QM Introduces Fold & Sew for Precuts

Peg Spradlin

The technique I’ve named Fold and Sew came about when I was trying to decide what to do with a set of 5″ and 10″ precuts I’d gotten as a gift. I’d just finished a technically challenging quilt containing precision points and tons of rotary cutting.

I needed a break from both, but just joining the 5″ and 10″ patches in rows seemed too boring.

I happened to place a 5″ square on top of a 10″ square.

4 300x225 QM Introduces Fold & Sew for Precuts

I liked the look, but didn’t want to do the cutting and piecing to make it happen.

All of a sudden I had the idea of folding one side of the 10″ precut over the 5″ precut,

100 15681 300x225 QM Introduces Fold & Sew for Precuts

sewing a 1/4″ seam to enclose the raw edge of the 5″ square,

3 300x225 QM Introduces Fold & Sew for Precuts

ironing the seam open,

100 1571 300x225 QM Introduces Fold & Sew for Precuts

and repeating the steps on the other three sides of the 5″ square—and that’s how I came up with my square in a square block.

100 1572 300x225 QM Introduces Fold & Sew for Precuts

This block was the first of many fun, fast blocks that I and my students have since developed.

Here’s the first quilt I made using this method.

Fold and Sew Quick quilts copy1 300x297 QM Introduces Fold & Sew for Precuts

Quiltmaker is publishing one Fold and Sew block in each 2014 issue. Blue Diamond is the featured block in the March/April issue.

bd1 copy 300x300 QM Introduces Fold & Sew for Precuts

Blue Diamond

The basic technique of Fold and Sew can be adapted and built upon to make an almost limitless number of designs, and this block is an example of that. A student in one of my Fold and Sew classes took one of my simplest blocks and changed it by adding a unique fold to the 5″ precut. I built on that by adding 2 1/2″ precuts folded into triangles.

Then I used the blocks to make this wallhanging.

.BlueDiamondFoldandSew copy1 300x300 QM Introduces Fold & Sew for Precuts

Instructions for this quilt and other Fold and Sew blocks can be found at Handicrafts by Peg.

*     *     *     *     *

In September, Carolyn and I had the chance to teach Peg’s technique during Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Atlanta. It was a “make and take” format. We showed this method to about 50 quilters in just a few hours—and they loved it! The simplicity makes it fast and the concept makes it intriguing! Within a few weeks we had photos coming in of completed quilts.

Give Fold and Sew a try for yourself and please let us know how it goes! More blocks and instructions. Remember to check out page 64 of the March/April ’14 issue for Peg’s column.

About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email: editor@quiltmaker.com.
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22 Responses to QM Introduces “Fold & Sew” for Precuts

  1. Adele Aiken says:

    If you start with a 10″ & 5″. What is the finished size of the block – 9″???

  2. Melany says:

    I have tried your fold and sew method from your you tube video and sone blocks come out 9.5 inches and others at 9 inches. What am I doing wrong? My seams are 1/4 inch. Thanks

  3. Karen says:

    Have some soft (cuddle type ?) fabrics, wanted to make wonky (off kilter) blocks, this looks like a great way to do that with out a lot of measuring!

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  7. Ruth says:

    Sometimes it’s not an issue of fabric waste as much as “YIKES – THE BABYSHOWER IS TOMORROW!”. Also, it doesn’t seem like there is really THAT much fabric waste in the Square in a Square. This is “must try” for me. Thanks!

  8. Ruth says:

    Sometimes it’s not an issue of wasting fabric as much as it is “THE BABYSHOWER IS TOMORROW!!!” It also doesn’t seem as though there is really THAT much waste. Definitively HAVE to try this one! Thanks!

  9. Lori M. says:

    Hi, my granddaughter who is 11 yrs. old and I are going to use the fold and sew method for a baby quilt she wants to make for a teacher at school. I am going to enjoy making this with her..Thank you for the technique…By the way we will make it in pink……..

  10. Doris Bone says:

    Well it does add extra fabric to your quilts but so do a lot of other techniques. Why can’t you cut some of it out of the back like applique quilters do. Just a thought. The cathedral window and the folded log cabin quilt patterns use a lot of fabric but I don’t hear or see anyone complaining about them wasting too much fabric in layers.

  11. colleen says:

    I will try this, have a bunch of squares left over from other projects. I like trying different ways of putting quilts together. Also have bags of scraps to do something with. Thank you

  12. A top made like this, with flannel as the interlayer is a perfect summer quilt! I love this idea! It will take washing after washing and the seams till not fray easily! Thanks for this!

  13. Peg Spradlin says:

    There are extra layers but once the quilt has been sandwiched and quilted, it’s not overly noticeable. I make a lot of charity quilts using this method because it’s so fast, and the extra fabric makes a nice warm quilt for the elderly and youngsters.

  14. marion says:

    what a waste of material!

    • peg spradlin says:

      I get that comment from time to time, Marion, especially if you’re buying the prepackaged precuts. Many of my students cut their 10″ and 5″squares, and strips from their stash-it’s a great stash buster. Once the squares are cut, the quilt goes together quickly. So if a person has an excess of fabric, and not much time to quilt, Fold and Sew works.

      • marion says:

        I do not buy precuts, actually I enjoy cutting myself – but I still think that it might be very easy and time saving but it is a waste of material. Sorry, but I will never try…
        Enjoy wasting money is the only thing I can say.

    • Pat D says:

      I don’t see it as a big enough “waste of material” to worry about. Sometimes the convenience of a fun quickie outweighs a few inches of fabric. At the very least, it’s always fun and interesting (and sometimes useful) to learn a different technique.

  15. Mary Jane Cardwell says:

    I loved trying this technique at the show in Atlanta and have nearly finished a quilty in wonky style. Wonderful idea!!!

  16. kaholly says:

    This is a novel idea, indeed. I do agree with Brenda about the added bulk, esp. if one is a hand quilter. But I’m going to give it a try and check it out for myself. Thanks!

  17. Brenda says:

    Interesting idea. the only issue I see with it is that it adds extra layers to the quilt top.

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