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Nano Strip Piecing Method by Jean Sredl


There are many methods for this type of narrow strip piecing. Kathleen Loomis and Ricky Tims are two examples amongst others. This method is a combination of steps from many other quilters with my own steps mixed in. It works consistently and gets great restults. There are two variations: straight and wonky.


Fabric Choice: For best results, choose a tightly-woven fabric--such as batik--for strips. The base fabric should be many values darker than the strip fabric. The seams will show through if you use dark strips on light fabric. It is possible to line the fabric, but the amount of work is not worth the results.



Background fabric(s)

Strip fabrics

Spray starch

Rotary cutter, long ruler, and mat

Thread that matches strip fabric

Sewing machine with edge stitching foot and variable needle positions 

Light tear-away stabilizer

Fine gauge pins, if desired


Fabric Preparation: 

  • Heavily starch both your background and strip fabrics. Three coats work well.

  • Decide the width of your strips--cut strip fabric into 3/8-inch width to minimize fabric. Make sure to cut strips along the weft or width of your fabric.

  • Precut all of your strips. (It takes a lot of strips.)

  • Mark the top and bottom of your background fabric(s).


Assembly: (Prescise Method)

  1. Begin cutting your background fabric 1-1/2 inches from the bottom end, one cut at a time.

  2. With a piece of stabilizer under your fabric, right sides together, set your needle position to 3/16 (between 1/4 and 1/8). You can pin if desired.

  3. Set against edge or presser foot and sew slowly on the right side for an exact seam allowance. Sew with a short stitch length. (TIP: Do not take your eyes off the seam or it will wobble.)

  4. Carefully press seams away from you. All seams must be in the same direction.

  5. Turn over pieced strip and place right sides together onto background fabric. Make sure the face up and top to bottom directions are correct.

  6. Place the blade of the edge stitching foot tightly against the left side of your stitching line. (This is why your thread should match your strips.) Move your needle position to the desired width. Use 0.4 to get a strip width of less than 1/16 of an inch. Carefully press seams in the same direction. Check the front to make sure you have pressed evenly for a consistent width of strip. Your strip should ne about 3-4 thread widths wide.

  7. Repeat cutting, piecing, and pressing. Careful pressing of all seam allowances in the same direction is the key for a flat quilt top. You can vary the width of the background fabrics for an organic look, or you can cut exactly the same width strips for a grid look.



  • Try cross cutting and piecing at perpendicular, angle, or on the true bias for a unique look.

  • Use a standard foot and eyeball each seam for a wonky look. Just a tiny difference in seam allowance widths shows up from the front.


Wonky Method:

Use a standard or quarter-inch oot and eyeball both seam allowances, varying the widths and stitching fast. This causes lots of wobbling for a great finished look. Keep the cut strips and background fabric square.



Add a thin batting and backing fabric and quilt in parallel lines in the background fabric. Leave as is or use as a background for other art quilting techniques.


Matchstick Quilting:

Try the same technique as above, but set your edge stitching foot against the previous quilting line. The initial quilting line must be absolutely squared off or each additioanl line will increase the error.



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