To illustrate the difference between piecing and quilting I made 2 mini quilts using the same block pattern. A blue one that was machine made and a red one made by hand.
I believe that part of the beauty of quilts are their idiosyncracies. There are so many ways to sew; I could never chose one method over the other as a favorite.
Lets start with piecing. -- Molly
Step 1: Cutting for Hand Piecing
The way you cut your fabric is a major difference between hand-piecing and machine-piecing. For hand-piecing, the first step is to cut out templates.
These templates should be the size of your finished squares. In this case my block consists entirely of 5-inch squares and 2 1/2-inch squares. I carefully measured and cut one 5 inch square and one 2 1/2 inch square out of template plastic.
I then traced the template on the wrong side of my fabric with a fabric pen. These markings will be the lines that I actually sew on.
After tracing the templates I cut the fabric using shears. Cut roughly 1/4-inch outside the mark so they looked like this.
To make this mini quilt, you'll need to cut out:
Here they all are, cut out and ready for business:
Step 1: Cutting for Machine Piecing
You don’t make marks on your fabric for machine piecing, so your guide will be the edge of the fabric. Using a rotary cutter is the easiest way to get a precise edge.
The seam allowance for machine piecing is 1/4 of an inch. I cut my squares 1/2-inch bigger to compensate for this. Since my finished squares are going to be 5-inches and 2 1/2-inches, I cut them to be 5 1/2-inches and 3-inches.
I cut the squares out carefully using one of our transparent rulers. It’s important, even for an impatient person like me, to try to be as accurate as possible when cutting. It will make the rest of the process go much smoother. Also, if you are paying close attention for accuracy, chances are you are making safer cuts, as well. No cut fingers, please!
I first cut 5 1/2 and 3-inch strips. From those I cut squares.
I line up the horizontal and vertical edges as exactly as possible so that every thing will fit together when it’s time to sew.
Here are all the cut squares, looking very square, and ready to be sewn.