Creative articles about quilting

Quilt as you go, how to join quilted sections of a quilt

Some quilts you want to make are very big. That might not be a problem while assembling the quilt top. But quilting such a big quilt in one go can be quite hard.

With the Sugaridoo BERNINA QAL quilt I suggested quilting it in three sections. if you’ve done that, you still need to join those sections in some way.

Today I’ll guide you through the process of joining quilt sections after you’ve quilted them.

What do you need

Here is a list of all the things you need to turn your sections into one quilt.

  • Your quilted sections
  • A ruler
  • Cutting mat
  • Rotary cutter
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine with a 1/4 inch foot
  • Needle and thread in the color of your backing fabric

There we go

Lay two sections next to each other in the way you want to join them. I’ll refer to the sections as ‘Side 1’ and ‘Side 2’. It doesn’t mater which is which, it just makes it easier for me to explain the following steps.


Start by trimming side 1. Just cut away all the excess batting and backing fabric. You trim the quilt top keeping the 1/4 inch seam allowance in tack. So you will only cut small slivers of the top to get a nice straight edge to this side 1.

Now for side 2 the trimming will be a little bit different. We want to end up with the top still having it’s 1/4 inch seam allowance. The batting should be trimmed back half an inch. And the backing should be sticking out half and inch. Here’s how we get this:

Trim through the batting and the backing fabric on 1/2 inch from the edge of the quilt top. 

Pull away the backing fabric and pin this out of the way, on the back of Side 2. 

Trim the top and the batting to straighten the edge of the top. Same as with Side 1, you will only cut of slivers of the top. 

Fold back the top in order to trim away 1/2 inch of the batting. Make sure not to cut through the backing fabric, so make sure that is pinned out of the way enough. 

I moved to the other side of the table so it was easier to trim away 1/2 inch of the batting. 

And there you have both sides trimmed and ready to be sewn together.


Pinning is quite important while sewing the two sides together. On both sides you want to fold back the batting and the backing fabric and pin those to the back side. That is to make sure they won’t get in the way while you’re sewing the quilt tops of Side 1 and Side 2 together.

Now it is time to place both sections with the right sides together, lining up the quilt tops. Pin the quilt tops together. I use a lot of pins in this stage. The sections of the quilt can be heavy and will be pulling a little bit while you’re sewing them together. So is can be nice to have enough pin in there to keep everything in place.



Sew the quilt tops of Side 1 and Side 2 together. Removing the pins as you go. Sew them together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Don’t sew though the batting or the backing fabric.

This is what the back looks like after you’ve sewn the tops together.

Fold open after you’re done sewing and give the seam on the front of your quilt a press. These wavy lines are a awesome quilt design when you’re quilting your quilt in sections. You won’t notice anything on the front of the quilt of the sections that were joined.

Joining the batting

Fold the batting back so the batting of Side 1 and Side 2 will just tough each other. If all is cut correctly, they won’t overlap. This will prevent you from having any bulkiness in the joined sections. All you will see from this method of joining will be one seam on the back of your quilt. 

To keep the batting from shifting and creating bulk after you started using the quilt. You want to hand stitch the bating pieces together. 

Just a simple stitch, in to Side 1, out from Side 2, in to Side 1, out from Side 2, will do fine. 

Finishing the back

And then the final step. Closing the backing fabric. 

First fold back the backing fabric on Side 1. 

Then fold back the backing fabric on Side 2. You will notice that this side overlaps. 

Fold the fabric in a little bit, about 1/4 inch will do. And hand stitch the overlapping fabric of Side 2, to the back of Side 1. 

The stitch that you can use it to go in and out on Side 2 (the folded double side)

And then in and out on Side 1. 

Move your way across the whole seam like this and then you will have completely joined the two sections of the quilt!


The only thing you will see is that hand stitched seam on the back. 

What do you think? Is quilting in sections and then joining them together easier than quilting the whole quilt in one go? 

I loved how manageable the three sections were to quilt, compared to quilting the whole QAL quilt at once. 

The only part of this ‘quilt as you go’ method that I find difficult, is where you sew the tops together a bit difficult because you are working with quilt heavy pieces of quilt. But what helped in that step was going slow and using a lot of pins. And also having as mush of the sections on the table to prevent the quilt from pulling too much while you’re sewing helps. 

Next week I’ll be back for the very last post on the QAL quilt, when we will be putting a binding on this quilt. 

See you then!



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  • Melanie Wilson EditEditing comments on the BERNINA blog is only possible after logging in with a blog user account. Sign up now or create a user account if you do not have one yet.

    Hi Irene, I’m trying this method with a quilt I’m making. My quilt is in two sections. How much additional backing and batting would you suggest for this method?Thank you in advanceMelanie 

  • Donna Otto EditEditing comments on the BERNINA blog is only possible after logging in with a blog user account. Sign up now or create a user account if you do not have one yet.

    I am king sections of my large quilt and appreciate your how tools. Easier than trying to figure it all out myself. 

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