SATURDAY SEWING with Janome: quick and easy serger quilting technique.

YES I did use the words serger and quilting in the same sentence!!  We often say that a 3 thread serged seam is as close to a 1/4 inch seam as you are likely to get. AND it is super fast plus it leaves the seam cut and neatened in ONE step. And if your are making a quilt for warmth, that extra thread in your seam just adds to the warmth!

But we are not making a quilt today. No –  we have a quick and easy quilt-as-you-go-by-serger technique to share with you. You may be familiar with the technique? You may never have tried this before?

Please note that you can, of course, make this with a sewing machine instead of a serger. You would just sew seams using a straight stitch – a 1/4 inch  or slightly wider seam would work. I recommend a walking foot for sure. But I do think a serger is faster and neater.

It could end up as a quilt if you kept going.  Like this large lap quilt which is FULLY reversible.

This quilt was serged with wide (approx 6 – 6 1/2 inch) strips of fabric and batting. The borders were about the same width strips. Not exactly a scrap buster project but I include it here as another project idea.  Notice that the one side had reds, greens and tan prints and the other side – fully reversible  – is more Fall colours and checks and stripes. This quilt can literally be put together and quilted in just a couple of hours. Each time you serge the bundles of strips and batting together, you are piecing and  ALSO quilting. Talk about getting 2 things done at once!

Our Saturday Sewing project idea this week is a cute and practical little tote for “what-have-you”: knitting? magazine or book? groceries? your iPad? your Canada Day picnic food?

BTW Do you do Canada Day picnics? If so, do you BBQ or have sandwiches, snacks and finger food? Of course, nice cold beverages are a must. We are going to have a lovely South African “braai” (BBQ) with steak, “boerewors” (farmer’s sausage) and salads as that is hubby’s birthday request – just with family in our little “bubble” which will be fun- I think we have all missed our loved ones in recent months….so it’s time to celebrate both Canada Day and a special family birthday!

This is a stash buster/scrap buster project so it is a great way to cut up strips of your fabric so that you are left with storage space to go buy more fabric…… Now there is a good plan! On Tuesday next week, we have another serger project where you can use up even more of your scraps… sure to FOLLOW us so you get a reminder when we publish new posts.

I’ve provided a pictorial step-by-step tutorial below but I also have a video for you on our Janome Life You Tube channel so I guess this just became a vlog….. Follow along, enjoy and let us know below if you have questions. Please do comment below if you liked the project as we do like to hear from you. If you don’t let us know you liked something, then we don’t know to offer you more along the same lines ………… let’s hear the comments please.

It is ALWAYS important to do a small test serge before you start with your stash busting strips. Maybe you have not got one of the threads fully into a thread guide? Or maybe you have a thread wrapped around something that it should not be wrapped around? TEST SEW to check all is good. I was super happy with this test and had zero adjustments to make with this trusty and easy to use Janome Four DLB serger

STEP 1: layer SIX strips together in this order from the bottom to the top: 2 fabric strips RIGHT sides together; 1 batting strip; 2 more strips of fabric RIGHT sides together; 1 more batting on the top.

It is only this FIRST step that you need SIX layers. Once you open it out as shown in the video and pic below, the second and subsequent sets of strips have just THREE layers – 2 strips of fabric and ONE piece of batting right on the top. That second piece of batting is only needed with the first step.

step one opened out and pressed on both sides – it is double sided/reversible

Step 2 – Adding another fabric strip right sides together + 1 batting strip on TOP on the right hand side of step 1

Step 2 underneath or at the bottom: just 1 layer of fabric – a strip right sides together as in this pic.
SO you add 1 batting and 2 strips of fabric in step 2.

Once step 2 layers are in place, sew down the right hand edge ensuring you catch all layers with your serging. Open out fabric top and bottom with batting between. Press.

Keep going adding 2 fabrics and 1 batting strip each time. You can turn it around and add strips to the left of the first 2 rows. This pic shows both sides – still fully reversible and quilted as you serged! Keep going adding to both sides until your panel is the size you require for your tote (or whatever project you wish to make)

Once you have your serged/quilted panel the size you require, trim with a rotary cutter and ruler. I added more strips along the top and bottom which would be the top edges of my tote.

Next was to sew the side seams. I used my serger for this too which neatened it nicely inside my little tote. You could, of course do a Hong kong seam finish if you prefer. I think it is too thick for a french seam but I guess you could try?

Next was to add a binding to the top edge of my tote – just like you would add a quilt binding. I used my Janome sewing machine for this.

And last was to add my tote handles: I used 2 scraps of matching fabric long enough for my handles by approx 2 – 3 inches wide. Sandwich batting scraps about 1 – 2 inches wide inside the fabric if you wish. I did not use batting here. Press a 1/4 inch fold down one long edge on both handles/straps. Fold over lengthwise and press so that the 1/4 inch folded edge is over the raw edge down the other long edge. Stitch all the way down the middle using a serpentine stitch (as in the pic below). Of course, you could use other stitches like a zig-zag or dec. stitch. Use a stitch at least 6 or 7mm wide so that all those edges are caught and sewed down in place. Fold over the ends of the handles, position on the front & back of the tote and sew handles in place.


About Janome Canada

For over 100 years, Janome has been the brand of choice for sewing, embroidery, longarm quilting, sergers, coverhem machines - and MORE! Our Janome Canada head office; our Janome HQ, is the Janome Sewing and Learning Centre in Oakville, ON. Be sure to follow us here on Janome Life blog, as well as our other Janome Canada social media so you get the most from your Janome machine! @janomehq @janomecanada Janome HQ Facebook, Janome Canada Facebook Janome HQ You Tube channel, Janome Life You Tube channel
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8 Responses to SATURDAY SEWING with Janome: quick and easy serger quilting technique.

  1. CARMEN DAMICO says:

    very nice project, and well explained. Thank you for that. Makes me think I can take the leap to make a bag with my serger.


  2. Glenna says:

    Hello Liz. Thanks for the serger quilt as you go bag – I’m going to make one this week. The tutorial refers to a Hong Kong seam finish. Do you have instruction or reference for that technique? Glenna


    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Glenna

      If you google Hong Kong seam finish, you will find lots of links including videos. It is basically a seam that is neatened by being bound with bias cut fabric – so rather like covering the seam with a binding.



  3. Susan Walsh Mercer says:

    Hi Liz! I was delighted to meet you in January in Montreal. Seems like a lifetime ago. I love your wonderful project. I think I will definitely have to try it.


  4. noranevers says:

    This technique takes my bag making to a whole new level.


  5. Mary says:

    Great project. Really a good idea for quilts that will hold up to alot of use. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lizafrica says:

      Glad you like the post. For sure it is a sturdy quilt construction and the technique can be used for all sorts of different applications.



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