Sew a Straight Quilt Setting, the Most Popular Layout

  • How to Create a Straight Set Quilt

    What's a Horizontal Quilt Setting
    Examples of Horizontal Quilt Settings. Janet Wickell

    Straight Quilt Settings Are the Most Commonly Used Quilt Layout

    Straight quilt settings, also called horizontal quilt settings, are probably the most commonly used quilt layouts. The two terms are used interchangeably. When you visit quilt shows, look at quilt patterns, or browse pictures of quilts you'll notice immediately just how varied horizontal quilt layouts can be.

    What Is a Horizontal / Straight Quilt Setting?

    The three quilts on this page all represent straight quilt settings.

    • To create the...MORE layouts, quilt blocks are sewn together with their straight edges oriented up, down and to each side.
    • Quilt blocks can be sewn together in horizontal rows and then joined, or sewn in vertical columns and then joined.
    • Straight set quilt blocks can be separated by sashing or by a combination of sashing and cornerstones like the layout in Little Friendship Stars.
    • Quilt blocks are sometimes sewn into several vertical rows that are separated by a long strip of sashing, either plain fabric or patchwork. Those designs are often referred to as strippy set quilts but still fall into the general horizontal setting category.
    • Quilt blocks joined side by side into long rows, and then separated by a long sashing, are usually called row quilts. They can still be called horizontally set quilts.

    How to Sew Rows of Blocks and Join the Rows

    Rows of straight set quilt blocks can be joined in different ways.

    The most common technique used to assemble the quilt top is to sew blocks into individual rows and then join the rows.

    You can also sew blocks into groups of partial rows to complete the quilt top. Let's say your quilt is made up of eight rows, each with eight blocks. You could sew the blocks into groups of four and then sew the groups together to complete the top.

    The grouping technique helps avoid the stretch that sometimes occurs when working with long narrow rows of quilt blocks, especially rows made up of small blocks or quilt blocks made from small pieces of patchwork that are more likely to stretch as you work. 

    Use a design wall or another flat surface to keep the quilt blocks and other components orderly as you sew.

    Keep the Project Neat and Tidy

    No matter how you assemble the rows, press seam allowances in adjoining rows in opposite directions when possible, allowing opposing lofts to butt into each other for easier matching along the seam intersections.

    Seams that butt together are not always possible so use plenty of straight pins to keep the matched blocks from shifting as you sew. Remove pins as they approach the needle to prevent bent pins and broken needles.

    Becoming familiar with quilt layout options helps you choose the best patterns for your needs and will become even more important as you begin to design your own quilts.

    Try an easy straight set quilt layout that's designed for any twelve 12" x 12" quilt blocks.

    Quilts Illustrated