Irish Chain (9-Patch) Quilt Tutorial Part 2
This is a continuation of our tutorial on how we make an Irish Chain or nine-patch quilt. If you are just joining us now, here is Part 1. We have made several Irish Chain quilts and shared them – here are a few examples: Gray Polka Dot Quilt Finished, Light Green Baby Quilt Finished and An Aqua Story – Finding Nemo Finished that I hope you enjoy.
Irish Chain Strip Sewing
Now that we discussed the fabric and cutting in Part 1, it’s time to start sewing. One of my favorite things about the Irish Chain pattern is that it lends itself to strip sets and chain piecing. We will be creating two different strip sets, cutting those apart and then chain sewing them back together.
The strip sets start out the same. These are all 2″ strips. With right sides together, match the salvage edge on one solid and the patterned strip. Sew a seam the length of the strips using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. In the second picture above you can see that the solid is longer than the patterned strip.
Repeat the same process as above, matching the salvage edge with right sides together one solid and one patterned strip. Feed these two strips into your sewing machine right after the first two you finished above. This is called chain piecing and it saves on time and thread. Make five (5) of these two-strip sets. Once you have finished sewing, clip the threads between the five two-strip sets.
Add the Third Strip:
It is time to iron before you add the third strip. I always press the seam to the dark, or patterned fabric. There are a few exceptions to this general rule – of course, rules are meant to be broken! You will find this very helpful later when we start sewing the pieces back together. Place the patterned strip face up on your ironing board, and run your iron over the length of the strip. This is called setting the seam, and it is done before you press it open. Press open the strip – I use the steam setting on my iron. By having the patterned fabric on top, the seam will be pressed toward the patterned/dark side.
Back to the sewing machine you go to add the third strip and finish off the strip sets. Sandwich the patterned piece between two solid strips. Start at the opposite end – in my case, I would start on the end that had the longer yellow/solid piece of fabric. This prevents the strip set from bowing. Repeat, sandwiching the patterned piece two times and the solid piece a total of three times. This will use all the 2″ strips.
Iron the strip sets again, toward the patterned strip. Three strips will have seams pressed away from the center; two strips will have the seams pressed toward the center.
Irish Chain Cutting Next
Up next is the cutting of the strip sets!