A traditional quilt top is made up of equally sized blocks, stitched together to form a square or rectangular grid.  As I came to assemble my Super Size Economy Block quilt, it occurred to me that the way I sew mine together is not exactly the way that convention tends to dictate, but I do it so that I can keep things as accurate as possible, so I thought I would share with you what I do.

This is my finished quilt:

I think we can all agree that there are a lot of points in that sucker!  There are 448 to be precise, but only 224 touch other blocks.  The effective block layout is as follows:

Traditionally you would sew the blocks together in rows, then join the rows together to make the top.

But is that really the best way to do it?  The way that will give you the most accuracy?  In reality we don’t sew things absolutely in line with each other, there’s a fraction of an inch here or there, and the more you join together one after the other, the heavier the drag on the seams by the longer end and the wonkier it can get.  I’ve exaggerated the examples of the most common results in the diagram below, but it’s fair to say that trying to sew these together would not lead to a nice flat seam between rows, which in turn would not lead to a nice flat quilt top:

So how else could we tackle it?  What would lead to the least unbalanced seams?  This is how I tackled mine, using the diagram below to show the divisions:

  • Firstly I sewed four-patches as delineated by the pink and navy lines.
  • Then I joined those four patches into bigger four patches as delineated by the navy lines alone.
  • Finally I created the daddy of all four patches to finish the top by joining those four quadrants together.

With the exception of the far right column, in each case the joins were made with equal amounts of fabric on each side of the seam, so neither side could drag the other down.  With the far right column, joining its component parts to the next square gives relatively little difference in size to create drag.

Happily I lost no points in the assembly by following this method – over the years I have experimented with different options, and this is by far the most accurate for me.

What about you?  Have you found a better way?  Let me know in the comments.

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