String Quilt Block

ChristinaAugust 16, 2009


Here it is – our August block for the Sampler Quilt Along (see sidebar for links). So this tutorial has been done a lot.  And it’s a nice easy block.  I really hate to do a tutorial that has already been done so much, but maybe I do things a little differently and I want to present every block for this sampler quilt in one spot.  So, I’m going to kind of breeze through it (because it is simple) and give you some links to other great tutorials out there at the end.  We all learn differently, and maybe this tutorial will be the “Ah-ha!” moment you need to try it out.



1.  I started out by grabbing a 12 x 12 piece of scrapbook paper I had laying around, in a color I wasn’t too fond of.  I then folded it in half along the diagonal to prep it for my first piece.

IMG_9820  IMG_9834
IMG_9836  IMG_9839

2.  Grab your first strip of fabric, any width you want, and make sure it covers the block, centered along your folded diagonal line, and overhangs each corner by at least a 1/2”.

3.  Grab a second piece of fabric, again long enough that it will overhang the edges by 1/2”, and lay it right sides together with the first fabric, matching up the raw edges.  Pin in place.

4.  Sew it down and then press open.  I used a very small stitch length to make for easy tearing away of paper later.

5.  Now, working on the opposite side, grab a third strip of fabric, lay it right sides together with first (center) fabric, matching raw edges and pin in place.

6.  Sew it down and press open.  (Photo was taken with block rotated, but you get the idea.)

IMG_98477.  Continue this process, alternating sides or working on one side at a time until your block is complete.  I stop pining my pieces after I get that center piece secured with the first two fabrics on either side of it.

**Note**I don’t pay attention to my widths, I like them to all be different, I just make sure all of my pieces over hang the edge of my 12 x1 2 sheet of paper by about a 1/2”.  For this block I just grabbed whatever scrap was in my pile and fit.

IMG_9852 8.  Once all your strips are sewn down, flip over your block and square it up to be 12-1/2”.  I made sure to leave a 1/4” beyond the paper on each side.

**Note** I did this by lining up the quarter inch mark of my ruler along the top and right side of my piece of paper.  Trim.  Then I rotated the block to trim the other two sides, lining up my ruler’s 12-1/2” mark along the bottom and left side of my trimmed sides of my block (just incase the paper wasn’t exactly 12” square, which it wasn’t…it was slightly off.)

IMG_9863 IMG_9864
IMG_9868 IMG_9869

9.  Tear away your strips of paper.  If you used a small stitch length, this should tear away very easily.

IMG_9862 And there you go!  You’re all done!  How easy was that!  And here are some more great tutorials from other bloggers out there:

Film In The Fridge: A String Quilt Block Tutorial – Paper Pieced Method
Craft Blog (Australia): String Quilt Block Tutorial
Happy Things: Foundation Pieced Strip Quilt Tutorial (on the straight!)
Quiltville: String Quilting Primer
P.S. I Quilt: Block O’ Strings Tutorial

And here is some great inspiration to get you motivated:


And let’s not forget these either:
Kindred Crafters (by Donna)
Cluck Cluck Sew (Allison – did you finish this yet?)
Sewtakeahike (A few great blocks)
Simple Things (A quilt AND pillows)

As always – if you have questions please feel free to ask in comments or email me! And please consider adding your photos to the Quilt-Along Flickr Group!


Update 9/4/2009 – I just realized the Mosaic doesn’t link to all of the great string block inspiration!  I’ve fixed that now.  When you click on the photo you will be redirected to my photostream on Flickr where you can click on the individual links.  Also, I had a repeat block in this photo – so if you click over to the photostream, you will see a new inspiration quilt in the bottom left corner.

Comments (17)

  • Blue is Bleu

    August 16, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Love string quilts… definitely on my list!

  • Giddy for Paisley

    August 17, 2009 at 2:25 am

    Is this our August block?

  • Jackie

    August 17, 2009 at 2:34 am

    You break that down so it is easy peasy!

  • Katie

    August 17, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Wow, I am new to quilting and this is something I think I can handle! Thanks.

  • Vicki

    August 17, 2009 at 11:34 am

    This is on my list, too!

  • Donna

    August 17, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    I am so loving the string quilt . . even if mine is not more than a top at this point. I did up some blocks to use as placemats last night .. so fun, and I agree, a beginner (like me) can piece this one in a snap!

  • Nancy In CT

    August 19, 2009 at 10:53 am

    One thing I noticed we do differently on these great blocks is that when I trim the block from the back, I use my diagonal line on my ruler to line up along the center string and then trim to size. I also use a thin piece of muslin (1″ larger than the finished block) for the ‘foundation’ instead of paper – no tearing after. This way, when you flip the block over the center string is centered…I know, I’m too anal. LOL

  • A glance at my world

    August 19, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Beautiful! My first quilt was a paper pieced string quilt that I made using phone book pages and old mens plaid shirts.

  • mommabeans

    August 20, 2009 at 5:13 am

    Ooh, this looks fun! thanks for the tutorial and all the links!

  • juliefrick

    August 24, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Oh, and if you do a string quilt, add it to the String Quilt Love group on Flickr! (You’ll have to search for it, as I can’t seem to be able to paste the link here.)

  • Tiffany

    August 31, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    You really do have the best tutorials and I plan to do this sampler quilt!

  • flossyblossy

    September 4, 2009 at 9:07 am

    I came across your blog by chance and firstly….what a lovely blog! and secondly, my jaw fell open as i was thrilled to se one of my quilts in your mosaic – mine is the middle one of the second row down.
    I used paper as a foundation as the blocks were quite small and wanted something that didn’t shift. I reduced my stitch length but I did stupidly use printer paper which was a b**ch to get out so next time i use paper i’ll use newspaper as that is thinner and less dense and MUCH easier to remove.

    I am currently making a large string quilt and am using and old thin poly/cotton sheet as the foundation for that. I am quite anal too so all my strips start off 1″ wide and finish up at about 1/2″.

  • ohthatashley

    October 3, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    I was checking out your blog for the first time and saw that a block that I made was in your inspiration mosaic! How funny!

  • Khris

    August 21, 2010 at 5:43 am

    Thanks for the tutorials. I have linked you to my post on the freebies blog if thats okay and borrowed your photo….hugs Khris

  • Amy Gibson

    May 31, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Alert! You’ve been blogged. Ran across your tutorial when writing a little post about string quilts, and included a photo and link to your tutorial. Hope you don’t mind. Happy quilting!

    Amy of

  • miaismine

    October 31, 2012 at 4:31 am

    Hello! I am new to sewing – about 1 year old. I love your tutorial! I have made several of your squares as hot pads. Your tutorial is perfect for me! My confidence has grown by leaps and bounds – due much in part to this project! Thank you so much!

  • Judy Jackson

    May 2, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    love the string quilts. gonna start one asap. thanks

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