Learning how to "chain piece" when sewing blocks and quilts together can save you so much time and energy!
But what does it mean to "chain piece"?!
I describe it as a sewing method where you do not lift your presser foot or cut your thread between seams of separate blocks. Yes, you can sew right off of a block! I used to think this wasn't good for my machine, and I tried to always stay on the fabric when I was sewing. Come to find out, it is totally fine to keep your machine stitching as your fabric goes all the way out from under your presser foot. Sewing machines are made for this!
In quilting, you never have to worry about backstitching or locking a stitch when you are in the piecing process, so it is a perfect time to chain piece.
To start, I place a little piece of scrap fabric under my presser foot that is not part of my quilt. This is a "leader" and can prevent a wide variety of issues and helps to keep your stitches nice and neat on the pieces you are sewing.
Then, sew a few stitches by themselves, not on any fabric. It feels weird at first, but trust me, it is actually okay and helpful!
Next, lift your presser foot and slip your pieces under to be sewn together. Presser foot down, sew. When you've made it through that seam, sew a few stitches off of the fabric, lift the presser foot, slip your pieces under, and sew the next seam! It's really that simple!
When you get to the end, cut your thread and clip the threads between each piece. Press and move on to the next step!
This can be helpful in creating blocks, as well as sewing rows of blocks together to complete a quilt top. My Shimmering Sun Quilt pattern gives you lots of opportunities to chain piece! Check it out!