Bargello Placemat Quilt Along – Part 1 – Fabric Selection, cutting and Strip Piecing

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Welcome fellow quilt alongers! This will be part 1 of a 3 part quilt along to make some simple placemats and an optional table runner using the bargello technique.

This is my first quilt along that I’m hosting so if you have questions that need to be answered please comment below so I can improve my tutorial.  Chances are, if you have a question someone else does too! I tried to take useful photographs and explain each step thoroughly but I’m not perfect so if it seems something is missing let me know.

The pattern I came up with uses 6 fabrics.  You don’t have to use the design that I’m sharing here, you are welcome to put your strips back together any way that pleases you. I used Excel to design my bargello placemats/tablerunner – it was easy to shade the cells, calculate yardage and how large the piece would come out when it was finished.

If you want to make the placemats here is your pattern and yardage requirement:

If you want to make the table runner here is the pattern and yardage requirement:

Step 1 – Fabric Selection

The first step will be selecting your fabrics that go in the bargello. Choose fabrics that are pleasing to your eye when they go together but you also need to check their value. There are lots of ways to check fabric value – you can use a little tool called a value finder on your fabrics – lots of people swear by that. I prefer to use a black and white photograph right now.

I have a little app on my phone that does it.  Most point and shoot cameras have a black and white setting that you can also use. From here you should be able to see how dark the fabrics are together.

A really striking set would include values of the same color! I didn’t have enough fabrics to do that with so I chose to go scrappy.

Once you find fabrics that you like and that follow the values in the pattern, we are ready to start cutting our strips.

Step 2 – Press your fabrics – I use spray sizing generously.  This will make your strips easier to cut, especially if the fabric is thin.

Step 3 – Cut your fabrics

When you fold your fabric make sure to feel the bottom and smooth out any issues in the fold.  If you have any ripples in the fold of your fabric it will not cut straight and you’ll end up with a “v” somewhere.  So be sure to feel your fabric from the top to the bottom of the fold and make sure everything is completely flat before cutting.

Follow the steps above to cut the number of strips specified in the pattern from each fabric.

Step 3: Sew your fabrics

Take strips 1 and 2 to your sewing machine. Layer them right sides together.  Using a 1/4″ foot or seam guide, sew them together.

Before sewing additional strips together I do recommend doing a quick check of your seam allowance.  I had to nudge my needle over a tad since my strips were coming out a hair short.

Once you are happy with your seam allowance sew Fabric 1 to Fabric 2, Fabric 3 to Fabric 4, and Fabric 5 to Fabric 6. They should look like this now:

Now take your first two sets and lets sew them together! Layer your sets so that fabric 2 and fabric 3 are on top of eachother, right sides together.

Do the same to the last set.

After pressing trim at least one edge of your strip set even. I trimmed both of my ends but you can do what you like.

Step 4: Make the tube
Sew fabric 1 to fabric 6 – right sides together.

Repeat step 3 and 4 the number of times necessary to have enough tubes for the pattern you are using.  For the placemats you will need four tubes, for the tablerunner you will need two tubes.

Part 2 will show you what to do with your tubes and how to sew everything back together once they are cut apart.  Part 3 will show you how to finish your pieced tops and suggestions for quilting them.

Comments

  1. I don't quite understand about checking the value of the fabrics together. Are they suppose to look similar in color on the black and white picture?

  2. Yes. "Once you find fabrics that you like and that follow the values in the pattern, we are ready to start cutting our strips."

    Your values should be similar to the values shown in the shaded pattern. You will need to check the values in some manner, either by using the tool that I linked or by using a black and white photograph of your fabrics together so you can get an idea.

  3. Katie! Do you mind if I blog about this great QAL? http://www.ormondbeachquilts.com Thanks!

  4. Thank you! It still took me reading your instructions 3 more times before I understood, but I think I got it. :)I've never done a quilt along before very excited. I told myself that this year I am going to step out of my comfort zone and try some different patterns :)Thank you for doing this tutorial, it makes my goal easier.

  5. @ Robin – share away! These posts will always be accessible through my "Tutorials" page at the top of my blog too in case new people come along and want to follow the quilt along.

    @ Mandy – Glad you were able to figure it out! Writing the instructions can be difficult when you know how to do something but need to explain it to someone else. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any other questions.

  6. Katie, You are doing a wonderful job not just with the bargello but explaining basic quilting techniques that are needed for any project. Well done. I am enjoying reading along. Hope to be able to do the project on Sunday..

    Nonnie

    http://nonniesquiltingdreams.podbean.com/

    .

  7. Your pictures are just fabulous. I will check out some fabrics for this later today.

  8. You're doing a great job with this. The pics are so clear. I'll tweet a pic of the fabrics I chose. Tami in Denver

  9. Excellent job on your tutorial. Will be following along to see what happens next.

    Cheers,
    Michele

  10. Great tutorial,well done!I will follow you along.Thanks for sharing.

  11. I have changed my mind about bargello quilts. I have seen a few in the past that were very busy so the style did not appeal to me. However, seeing your tutorial has changed my mind about the bargello quilt pattern. I like what you have done. It is not busy at all! Thank you for the tutorial. I am going to bookmark this tutorial so I can give the bargello a try.

  12. Thank you so much. After reading your instructions and looking at your pictures, the instructions that came with a purchased pattern finally make sense. I think that I have the courage to continue my first quilting project.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Bargello QAL from Katie’s Quilting Corner- This looks like so much fun & I can’t wait for later today when I can pull out my blue batiks!  In the 3 week QAL, we will make 4 place mats & a table runner- perfect for our kitchen table.  I’ve also got some great quilting ideas for these- based on some awesome quilts I saw at AQS Des Moines […]