Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Diamonds the cheater way

Using this strip piecing method cuts out a lot of work when making diamonds, but it does limit your design options.  This works perfectly for a repeating pattern such as in my Valentine's pillow.  I'm also using this same method for my Innocent Crush diamond quilt, although I'm only stacking three fabrics with their sashing.  This still saves time, but allows me some flexibility to have a random design.

To make this pillow I cut 45 degree diamonds using 2.5" strips the WOF (width of fabric).

Sew your fabrics together in a stair-step pattern.  Line up the 45 degree line of your ruler along the bottom edge to make sure everything lines up as you add new strips.  I prefer to press my seams open.


After all the strips are sewn together, make the first cut.  Position the 45 degree line of the ruler along the bottom edge.  Trim off the outer triangles to even up your edge.

Now to cut the diamond strips flip your ruler around and line the 45 degree mark up with the top edge of the fabric.  Then line up the cut edge of the fabric with the 2.5" mark on the ruler ruler.   (For these diamonds I am using 2.5" strips WOF.  When cutting the diamond strips, they will also be 2.5".  Cut this strip width according to your fabric height.)


After cutting all the strips, start piecing your rows.  Remember when piecing the strips that your seams must be offset.  If you match your seams as you would in traditional piecing, your diamonds will not line up.  Offset the seams so they will intersect right at your 1/4" seam allowance.  (I forgot to take a picture of this step.  You can check out the tutorial from Urban Patchwork to get a better idea of how much to offset them.)

I've added lines on this picture to show how I pieced it.  I first pieced the four whole rows.  Then I added the partial rows to square up the design.  I unpicked the top diamonds from the partial strips. I continued adding whole rows to the right side until my piece measured larger than 20" for my pillow width.
I used the top portions of the divided strips to square up the top right corner of the square.
I guessed a bit on my measurements. Luckily it worked out.  I used 9 strips that were 2.5" x WOF.  I was able to cut 11 full strips of diamonds, and that's exactly what I needed to make a 20" pillow.  I quilted my pillow front before squaring it up.  I think it's a bit easier and more accurate to do it this way.

Tips:
  • Don't be afraid to unpick. It's hard to get those points perfect.
  • Drop your stitch length down just a bit.  It helps hold the seams once you cut the diamond strips.  I normally use a 2.0 on my machine and used 1.8 on these.
  • Double check everything before cutting.  Precision in cutting is really important. 
  • Use a 1/4" foot with a guide.  It will help a lot.
  • Pin at every intersection.  If sewing with larger diamonds, pin in between the intersections as well.  
  • As with anything sewn on the bias, be careful not to stretch it too much.  
  • If you are making a larger project and will be repeating this process with multiple fabrics, make sure you ALWAYS piece and cut your diamond strips the same way.  (I've already made this mistake on my Innocent Crush quilt.  It doesn't work.) 
  • Pressing seams open will reduce the bulk at your intersections.  
Let me know if you have any questions or if something isn't clear.  Diamonds really aren't as bad as I thought, and they look so classy with almost anything.  This technique makes it easier and a lot less stressful.  Give it a try!  

20 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this tutorial...I will be trying this soon!

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  2. Oh, thanks for sharing that! It doesn't sound too hard!

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  3. This is great! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Enjoyed the tutorial so much. You've taken the fear out and made diamonds seem possible. Hoping to find time to try this in the near future.

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  5. this is great Kati! Thanks for sharing your method, I feel a diamond pattern something or other is in my near future!

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  6. Excellent tutorial. You are getting really good at diamonds. Your points looks spot on.

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  7. Tricky!! Thanks for that tutorial. . I'll have to try it now.

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  8. Why is this cheating? Strip piecing is not only effective, it saves time, and gives good results. It's not the answer to all kinds of patchwork, but it's a great technique.

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  9. This is SO cute! I want to make one in 70s colors for my living room!! Thank you!

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  10. I took a sewing class at a Homemaking Conference in Rexburg and this was one of the techniques that was demonstrated. Clever, clever, clever.

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  11. Holy moly! Thank you so much for sharing this trick!!! Diamonds don't sound quite as scary anymore :)

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  12. Thanks for a great tutorial! I've bookmarked this for when I finally get some time to try diamonds. : )

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  13. I love this!! Can't wait to try it.

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  14. First time here, and I am very impressed with this.

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  15. I love your method shown . How would I calculate how much fabric/ stripes to cut if I wanted to make a large lap size quilt approximately. 58 x 70 with a 4 inch strip ?

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  16. I love your method shown . How would I calculate how much fabric/ stripes to cut if I wanted to make a large lap size quilt approximately. 58 x 70 with a 4 inch strip ?

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  17. I have made two pillows now. I decided to not cut off my tops of the diamonds so I added white strips to both sides so they "float." Very pleased, thank you for this great tutorial!

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  18. Hey! just wanted to let you know my picture got featured on 24blocks.com and I referenced your tutorial. Thanks so much!

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