Herringbone Quilt

Created By:

Maureen Cracknell

Skill Level: Advanced

This project tutorial is a Quilt-As-You-Go style quilt, made with long panels rather than traditional "blocks". We'll be using cotton batting as our foundation for easy string quilt piecing, making this the perfect project to use up those fabric strip scraps. The designer, Maureen Cracknel, says "I think you'll be very surprised with just how simple and quickly this quilt comes together. This is definitely one of my new, most favorite styles of quilting!" Visit her blog here.

Janome Supplies Required
  • Janome sewing machine; Maureen uses the Horizon Memory Craft 12000
Fabric and Notions Required

Other Fabric and Notions Required:

  • a variety of fabrics cut into 2.5" x 14.5" ( I used all Anna Maria Horner fabrics from several of her collections. Using around 210 strips for all of my panels + extra for my scrappy binding)
  • 8 -- panels of 100% cotton batting measuring 8" x 64"
  • thread; sewing pins
  • fabrics for the quilt backing and binding
  • rotary cutter/large cutting mat/ruler set
  • pencil or pen for marking


  • Synthetic batting is NOT suggested, I only use a 100% cotton natural batting. It is important to be able to press the batting with a hot iron and steam. For those of you in countries other than the U.S, please make sure you use a 100% cotton needle punched batting (a reader in India pointed this out to me).
  • Use a Low-loft batting. The #1 question I receive about QAYG is folks wanting to know if the seams are bulky. My answer is NO, not to a noticeable degree. I absolutely wouldn't spend my sewing time making a quilt that was poorly constructed or that wasn't comfortable!
  • Quilt panels can be made in any size! The measurements I'm sharing for this tutorial makes a 62" square finished quilt. Please feel free to adjust that to your own desired length and width. I plan to make my next one much bigger!!
  • This method does not include the quilt backing fabric. I like to add my quilt backing at the end, to avoid hand-sewing, which is really hard on my hands.

Making the Batting Panels

  1. To make the batting panels for the foundation string piecing, cut 8 - batting strips measuring 8" x 64"
  2. Place one batting panel on the cutting mat at a time, matching one of the long edges to the diagonal grid on the mat, with the fuzzier side up. (the batting I use, Nature's Touch, has a noticeable softer side. This is the side I consider the front side)
  3. Keeping the batting at a diagonal, use the ruler and square grid on the mat to mark lines every two inches or so going across the batting panel. I did this for the first 10" - 14" to help keep the proper angel when adding my first several fabric strings. Once those first fabrics are added, you'll keep that angel naturally as you piece
  4. Repeat this step making sure you mark FOUR batting panels with lines running one way, and FOUR with lines marked in the opposite direction. This will create the herringbone pattern once the fabric strings are added and the panels are sewn together.


Adding the Fabric Strings 

  1. Prepare the fabric strings by cutting fabrics into 2.5" strips. For this quilt I used approximately 210 strips measuring 2.5" x 14.5" with a few measuring a little less in length for the beginning and end of my panels where that much length isn't necessary. 

  2. Using that first mark as your guide, begin by sewing that first fabric right side down onto the batting, using a 1/4" seam allowance along the raw edge. Since you're sewing the fabrics to the batting as your foundation, you'll be permanently setting the fabric strings in place.

  3. Fold over the fabric strip and either press with iron or you can simply smooth it down flat with your hand. The fabrics stick nicely to the batting, so I was comfortable carefully folding over the fabric strings, smoothing them as I went. Continue adding fabric strings, placing each new fabric string on top of the other, with right sides facing, matching up the raw edges. Attach with 1/4" seam, fold over, and continue to press or smooth each new fabric added.

  4. When finished with a panel, press both sides well. Use a mat, ruler, and rotary cutter to trim away the overhang of fabric from each side of the panels and square up if needed. Repeat until all 8 panels are finished.

Sewing Panels Together

  1. Take two panels with strings pieced in opposite directions and place them right sides together. Use sewing pins to secure their place and sew along one side keeping a 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat this with the remaining panels to create FOUR herringbone fabric panels.
  2. Press the seams on the back open and the front side of each panel well.

Add Quilting Stitches : :

  1. Now that your FOUR herringbone panels are finished, use a thread of your choice to add quilting stitches every few strings, pivoting at the center of each herringbone panel to form a "V" shaped stitch line. Continue this down the length of each panel.

Sewing the Herringbone Panels Together

  1. Using a 1/4" seam, sew all FOUR herringbone panels together.

  2. Press all seams open and the quilt top front, as well. If needed, square up the quilted quilt top. After squaring, my quilt top measured approximately a 62" square.


Quilt Backing, Basting, & Binding

  1. Piece together fabrics for the quilt back to measure at least 2" bigger than the quilt top on all sides and baste it to the quilted quilt front. I use Therm O Web's SpraynBond basting spray for this, however pin basting works.

  2. Working your way down from the top of the quilt to the bottom, with a quilt stitch length set at a 2.5 or more if you prefer, simply sew about 1/4" from the seam lines (when adding this stitching it IS recommended that you do use a Walking Foot). Continue this on both sides of each seam running from the top of the quilt to the bottom.

  3. Below shows a close up look of what these stitches will look like from both the front and the back side of the quilt.

  4. Bind the quilt using your preferred method, any leftover 2.5" strips makes for some fabulous scrappy binding!


Voila! Your Herringbone Quilt is finished!!


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