If you’re intimidated by the idea of machine quilting a huge project at once for fear of messing it up during the stitching process, you’re not alone.

Giant quilt sandwiches can be unwieldy, especially when wrestling your project to get it all stitched together on a cabinet-mounted machine like the Janome 1600P-QC.

One solution you can try for taking the fear out of stitching together a large quilt is called quilt-as-you-go.

Rather than fighting with a mound of pinned fabric while perfecting skills and learning to use a quality Janome quilting machine, build your quilt in manageable sections that won’t look any different when your project is fully assembled!

What Is the Quilt-As-You-Go Method?

The Quilt-As-You-Go method is a technique for breaking up very large quilting projects into smaller, more manageable quilt blocks to avoid dealing with the bulk, intimidation, and other challenges you may face with machine quilting.

Once the smaller blocks are complete, they are assembled together to create a final full-sized quilt.

Quilt-As-You-Go is a great technique to make quilting a simple process or for when a full-sized project might be hard to handle with a sitdown quilting machine.

Quilt-As-You-Go is also perfect for when you want to do intricately stitched designs or free motion quilting in smaller doses which you accomplish by limiting your stitching pattern to blocks and creating an additional pattern by connecting all the blocks together.

Quilt-As-You-Go In 8 Easy Steps

Using the Quilt-As-You-Go method is just a matter of designing your quilt top pattern in blocks, assembling each individual block using whatever fabric or stitching pattern you want, then putting the blocks together using binding:

  • Cut the Fabric - Always cut the fabric for all your blocks first, just like you would when making a full quilt top so all your pieces will be uniform with less risk of accidentally using a different measurement or cutting process.
  • Assemble Tops - Once all your pieces are cut, stitch together the tops of the individual blocks like mini-quilts.
  • Assemble the Blocks - Lay out backing, batting, and tops, then baste as you would a full-sized quilt. Remember to cut the batting larger than the top and the backing larger than the batting. Alternately, you can just add the batting if you want to stitch the backing on as one piece after having made a quilt of batted blocks.
  • Stitch the Blocks - One-by-one, stitch each block with your Janome quilting machine using whatever stitching method you’d like. You can follow the shapes in your design, use templates to make designs with the stiches, or even free motion stitch to create other unique designs.
  • Trim the Blocks - Find the smallest block and trim it square to cut away the excess batting and backing. Repeat the process, matching the block size with all the other blocks to end up with a bunch of quilted blocks ready to be turned into a regular quilt.
  • Attach the Blocks - Using a ¼” presser foot, stitch your blocks together in one of two ways: for blocks without backing, assemble them by turning blocks right side together and stitching a ¼” seam and then press the seam open and flat; for blocks with backing added, connect all your blocks using a matching tape binding.
  • Add the Backing - Using the batting-only method of making quilt blocks, put all the blocks together, then baste the backing on and stitch over major stitch lines or grids to attach it.
  • Finish With A Binding - Finish the quilt by adding a binding around the whole assembly of quilt blocks.

Calm Your Big Quilting Fears By Quilting-As-You-Go!

Finishing a huge quilt with your quilting machine can seem daunting, especially when it comes down to doing the actual quilt stitching.

Using the fun and easy Quilt-As-You-Go technique, you can relax and enjoy the process on a smaller scale while building your skills during the process, and end up with fabulous quilting results!