Serge On!

Because April is National Serger Month, I decided to time myself making a serger quilt. Serging is a nice way to get a quilt done quickly and to use up bigger pieces of scraps. I think serger quilts are ideal charity quilts or car quilts.

I started with a layer cake from P&B Textiles called Bear Essentials 2 – pretty blenders in several different prints. There were 64 10-inch squares so I made my quilt 8 squares by 8 squares.

I have another quilt in progress on the design wall so I used the living room floor to plan the placement of the squares. I decided I liked them in diagonal rows of color and I was ready to begin serging at noon on Saturday.

Serger quilt 002 2 Serge On!

Here’s the Plan

It only took one hour to get the 10” squares serged into rows.

Serger quilt 006 2 Serge On!

The Blocks Are in Rows

Then after one false start (I wound up with the seam on the outside of the back), I started putting the rows together. I use Linda Lee Vivian’s technique of attaching the back and the batting at the same time as serging the rows together. When I get the top assembled, the back and batting are in place and the horizontal “quilting” is done.

004 2 Serge On!

Close-up of Serged Seam

The only part to think about is what order to put the different pieces in.

Serger quilt 008 2 Serge On!

Nearly Done

I took this photo at 5:00. I knew that I’d be losing the natural light soon and my photos wouldn’t come out as nicely so this is where I was then, with just two rows to go.

Serger quilt 010 2 Serge On!

Done with the Serger

I had the whole thing put together at 7:00. I could have stitched in the vertical ditches and it would have been ready to bind but I decided I wanted to make the quilting go diagonally. I marked several quilting lines and quilted a while. Then I had to change bobbins and just like that, I was done quilting. My sewing machine didn’t like the bobbin thread when the bobbin was full. I’d used a partial bobbin of the same thread to start the quilting and it was fine but with the full bobbin it just wouldn’t work. Now I have to decide whether to take out what I’ve done already or just find another spool of thread for the bobbin that is close in color. I will probably leave in the quilting that is done. It is a utility quilt after all. The bobbin thread is navy cotton. Surely, surely, I have something similar so it won’t be obvious that I have two different bobbin threads on the back.

002 2 Serge On!

I like it!

The back is not as interesting as my quilt backs usually are. The idea was to get something done as quickly as possible so I didn’t do a bunch of piecing for the back. It is just 10” wide strips of fabric. I did put in one pretty piece of Lumina by Peggy Toole for Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

003 2 Serge On!

The Back

A fun thing about serger quilts is that you can use leftover strips of batting. I had quite a few scraps of Warm & White by the Warm Company. Warm & White and Warm & Natural are probably my favorite cotton battings. I used my batting scraps for the top 5 rows of the quilt, but I took home a couple of samples from work and I used them for the bottom 3 rows of the quilt.

The third row from the bottom is Quilters Dream Poly, the second row from the bottom is Quilters Dream Angel (a flame retardant batt) and the bottom row is a mix of the two. The Quilters Dream Angel was wonderful. It handled nicely, laid smoothly and I had no problems whatsoever with it. The Quilters Dream Poly stuck to the cutting mat a bit when I cut it with my rotary cutter and that edge had to be smoothed back down. That would not be an issue at all if you were using the batting without cutting like you would normally do in a quilt. I marked the edges of the rows with the type of batting used. I’ll probably machine quilt that info into the quilt so I can see how the three different types of batting compare as I wash the quilt and use it.

Yesterday, if it had been an ordinary day, I would have easily finished the quilt. It wasn’t an ordinary day. I woke up at 4 in the morning with a nasty headache that lasted the entire day. What a waste! Hopefully tonight, I’ll be able to finish the quilting on this quilt and get back to the quilt that is taking up the design wall.

Now I’m wondering if some of you have other interesting ways to use your serger when you are quilting. Please share your ideas. I would love to hear them.

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About Lori Baker

Lori is the creative editor at Quilters Newsletter.
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12 Responses to Serge On!

  1. Karen Reagan says:

    Love this! I will have to try it for a quick project!

  2. Loriann Sanders says:

    Lori, how interesting that our “sewing lives” intersect so much of the time. I too am making a serger quilt (the bow tie) and it is working out beautifully!

  3. Sue says:

    I’m thinking seriously about getting a serger so I’m interested in any quilting done on them!

  4. Margo says:

    Very interesting, thank you. It seems a good way to use serger. I’ll have to try it soon since my serger is sitting in the corner most of the time. :)

  5. Linda Ruff says:

    I want to hear the serger quilt ideas too, Lori! And “we” would love to see your finished serger quilt!

  6. Sharon Highfield says:

    I used my serger years ago to piece a simple jeans quilt top. The serger flowed through 2 layers of heavy denim.

  7. Elsie Bulva says:

    I love it and will probably make one similar. Its fast for using up scraps and giving to charities. Well sewn and long lasting. I have done the Kaye Woods Strip quilt but like the blocks. Thank you for test driving for us. Elsie

  8. Shirley Walmsley says:

    I have used this method for quilts and table cloths.
    Table cloth was done in log cabin style.

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