How to Sew Squares Together for Quilting or Patchwork

finished pieced squares on table

In this tutorial I will be walking you through the steps of sewing together squares for quilting or patchwork projects. I’ll be working with squares since they are the simplest to work with when learning to quilt. If you missed my tutorial on how to cut out squares, then check out my article How to Cut Out Squares for Quilting or Patchwork.

patchwork Jenny project bag holding knitting project

I used these same techniques when I made my quilted Daphne Jacket and the patchwork design for my pattern, the Jenny Project Bag (above photo). There are just a few tricks that help to get nice clean seams and corners when sewing squares together. In the quilting world, this process is called “piecing.”

If you would like to learn how to sew triangles, like I did for my quilted lined zipper pouch, then check out my tutorial How to Cut and Sew 60° Triangles.

Let’s get started!

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Supplies you will need

  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinating thread
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Your squares of fabric that you’ve cut out – I’m using 3 1/4″ squares in my example
squares arranged in pattern on table with arrow pointing to first square

Start by arranging your squares

On a hard surface, like a table or even the floor, arrange your squares in your desired pattern. If I’m working on a smaller patchwork project, I like to arrange my squares on my cutting mat so that I can pick it up and move it if I need to without messing my design up.

Your design can be totally up to you! You can either make a pattern, like having the same fabrics in rows or going diagonal, or you can place the fabrics randomly. Try a couple of arrangements until you find something you like.

Sew your rows together

Start with the top left square (see picture above) and place it right sides together with the one next to it (the second square). You can pin them together with a pin at the top and bottom if you’d like. Sew the squares together with a 1/4″ seam allowance and try your best to keep your squares evenly matched with a straight seam the whole way down.

Next you take the third square and sew it right sides together with the second square. If your fabric is directional, meaning there’s a distinct top and bottom to the design, make sure that you are facing your squares in the right direction.

Continue in this way until you’ve reach the end of the row. Move on to the beginning of the next row and repeat these steps until all your rows are sewn together.

showing rows all ironed

Press the seams of the rows

Pressing with an iron is an important step to make sure you get nice neat joins. Start by pressing all the seams of the first row in one direction, to the right or the left. I will press first on the wrong side, and then flip it over and press again on the right side to get it nice and flat.

ironing seams in one direction

My favorite way to sew rows together is by “nesting” the seams together. By pressing the rows in opposite directions from each other, your seams will nest tightly together to create a neat join.

On the next row, iron all the seams in the opposite direction of the previous row. Continue in this way, alternating seam directions, until all your rows are pressed flat.

Sew the rows together

Start with the top row and place it right sides together with the second row. Place a pin at each seam intersection, making sure the seams are nested together. Bring the pinned rows to your sewing machine and sew at 1/4″ seam allowance. Once you start to come to a pin, slowly sew as close as you can up to the pin and remove right before sewing over the seam.

Place the third row right sides together to the second row, pin and sew. Continue in this way until all your rows are sewn together.

sewing the rows together

Press the seams of the rows

Once all the rows are sewn together, you can press the seams all in the same direction. Press again from the right side to make sure all the seams are nice and flat.

showing finished patchwork piece

You now have a finished quilt top or patchwork piece! The piece I made in my example is what I used for my Jenny Project Bag – pattern coming soon!

I hope that these tips were helpful! Happy sewing 🙂

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