String quilt blocks are easy to make and a great way to use up your scraps. I’ve also heard them called strip blocks. While cutting fabrics for other projects, simply start a storage container. Make sure that you have plenty of strips that are long enough to go down the centers of the size of blocks you wish to make. Strip width is your choice. My strips range from 1 inch to 2 1/2 inches in width. I simply make them with what width I can from a leftover piece of fabric.
In this tutorial, I am using 12-inch squares to make my blocks. Once a block is done, I will trim them to 11 1/2 inches. You always want to make your blocks a bit larger than you want them to end up to be because of fabric slippage as you sew. More on that later.
I am choosing to make the quilt in the quilt-as-you-go technique. This means that I am choosing to sew my strips onto a block back with the batting in between. This way each block is already quilted. I will do another post at a later date with a tutorial with pictures on quilt-as-you-go.
You may choose to do your blocks on any old fabric. Muslin is a popular choice. Another great choice is flannel because then the flannel can be a thin center for a lighter quilt. Some choose to make their blocks by sewing the strips to waxed paper. The paper is then torn off. You can do this, and then quilt your block to the batting and backing too, or leave it as it and sew the blocks together to make a quilt top to finish later.
Step one: Line up 2 strips right sides together diagonally down the middle of the square. Pin them to make sure they stay secure for sewing.
Step two: Press open those first 2 pieces. Please note that if you are using non-cotton batting you will need to be careful to only press the fabrics and not hit the batting as it will melt. Also remember that each strip is front sides together when sewing on. You continue adding strips until your whole block of fabric is covered. I have pressed the first 2 open and pinned on my 3rd strip in the photo.
Step three: All strips are sewn on, so now it’s time to square it up–cut it to the size you want it to be. This can be a challenge. Hopefully you do have a ruler like mine with the diagonal guide-line printed on it. This is important to make sure that your block stays with the 2 starter strips staying in the center.
Ta Da! Your first block is complete and you are ready to move on to your next one.
I am including photos of past quilts that I have made using string blocks. These were made in my very early days of learning to quilt, as this one of the very first techniques that I learned. One has the blocks put together side by side. The other one has sashing between the blocks.