Wednesday, June 01, 2005

"Webbing The Top!"
How To Chain Stitch Blocks Into That Top!
(With Sashings, or Without!)
(Click here for printer-friendly version)

These instructions were originally part of the Pineapple Blossom pattern page, but requests have come in to put them on a page of their own! So for you who asked for it, here it is!

Do you have trouble keeping things straight when you assemble blocks and sashings together? Do you sometimes get blocks turning the wrong way, and get rows mixed up and out of order? This is how I like to chain stitch the blocks and sashings into rows, and then sew the rows together into the top.....continuously!

First, lay out the blocks, corner stones, and sashings just how you want them on the floor as in the pic above. We are going to start chain assembling from the far left side, and work our way across to the right. All the across rows will be sewn together, and the rows will be held to each other by the chaining threads between the rows. I call this "Webbing The Top!" As you look at things laid out, I want you to start from the far left, working from top to bottom.....and call the row with sashings and corner stones along the left edge row 1. The next row is sashings and blocks. it is row 2. Row 3 is made from cornerstones and sashings again.....There are 9 rows in this quilt even if your eyes see it as only 4 rows with sashings in between.

This looks like a row is missing...but really what I did was take the second row down, and flip it over right sides together against the left side sashings and cornerstones. (Meaning row 2 is right sides together on top of row 1.) The top left block you see is really already placed right sides together with the sashing that will be sewn to the left of it. The sashing below it, is right sides together with the cornerstone it will be sewn to. Go down the row and flip those blocks and sashings over on top of the sashings and cornerstones at the left edge of the quilt. Starting at the top, and keeping them in order from top to bottom, stack the sashing with the cornerstone, the block with the sashing underneath it, then the sashing with the cornerstone, etc, so you have a pile all in order as in the second pic above.

Take the stack to your sewing machine. It might seem weird to sew a long piece with a short cornerstone under it, but this is the way it goes to start with. Pick up the top sashing and the cornerstone from the top of your pile. They are already right sides together, right? Stitch them with a 1/4" seam. Now...do NOT break the thread! Now you are going to pick up the next pair in your pile....which happens to be a block on top of a sashing (also right sides together, right?)as shown in the second pic above. Feed these next through the sewing machine with 1/4" seam. When you get to the end of the block and sashing, you will have another cornerstone and sashing....continue this process of sewing the second row to the first row all the way down.

Now, go back to the quilt on the floor and starting at the top and keeping things in order (I do them all right sides up) pick up the 3rd row from the top to the bottom in order. Cornerstone, sashing strip, Cornerstone, sashing strip, etc...

Look at the pic above. You are going to flip out the second row from the first row, and then stitch the third row in place all the way down. You can see that the corner stone at the top of row three is sewn on already, and the sashing strip that goes against the block is next. Next will be another cornertone, etc....just keep sewing continuously all the way down the row! Do the entire top this way and you will have this!

Here you see all the sashing rows sewn to cornerstones, all the block rows have sashings sewn to the blocks! Everything is "webbed" together! (You can even see my last leaders/enders in the top right corner!) Nothing is out of order, nothing got turned around or backwards! You can carry this from room to room at this point and it isn't going to get out of place!

I use this method a lot when sewing anything that has straight rows. Blocks without sashings works the same way.

Now you have some decisions to make. Is it too unweildy for you to want to just leave it stitched like this and sew the rows together? You can cut the rows apart now if you want. This is a good time to do that if you want to press the seams towards or away from the sashings. This is where you decide what works for you depending on your pressing preferences.

Do I cut the rows apart? Nope! I leave them as is, and just fold one row over the other so the right sides are together and I just work with the whole thing as one unit. On this quilt I finger-pressed my seams so that they would butt up together at the cornerstones, and then I pressed with the iron after each row was added. I've done this on king sized quilts and it works fine for me to have the rows webbed together. The choice is up to you. At least if you stitch the top to the point where the ROWS are rows..there will be less chance of anything getting backwards, upside down, out of order or just plain wrong! :c)

I hope this helps you come up with an assembly method that works for you!


  1. This is a great idea, and I am going to try it on my next quilt. More than once I have had to rip out sewing because I sewed something backwards or upside down. One point of clarity, however: ROWS go across, and COLUMNS go up and down. This quilt has 9 rows and 9 columns. Using "rows" for both was confusing for me.

    1. I agree that the rows across and "rows" up and down are confusing. Hopefully I can figure this out on my next quilt assembly, because it does sound like a great way of keeping things in order! Thank you, Bonnie!

  2. Since I've started using this method, I've never sewn blocks together the wrong way. It's AWSOME!

  3. I just did my first webbing. It went pretty fast but I found it a bit unweilding. I just reread your tut to see if I did anything wrong. Nope..just my first effort and it was on a string quilt and a bit heavy. I like the idea of keeping it all together like this.

  4. Thanks for this tute Bonnie. I just finished the blocks for My Blue Heaven. They're all laid out on the floor. I'm giving webbing a shot. Should be a snap with these great directions.

  5. I've been doing tops this way for a very long time! It is soooooo much easier to keep everyone in their place!

  6. I never knew this was called webbing, or anything! My quilty friends can’t understand how this works and won’t try it. Not sure how, or when,I started doing it, but it’s the only way!


If you are commenting as "anonymous" please leave your name at the end of your comment.

Did you know that ad space on this blog provides for all of the free patterns and free mysteries and challenges at no cost to you? Without ads, this blog would not be possible.

Thank you for understanding the many hours that go into this blog 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year. :)