Suspension Bridge piecing

As promised here is how I am piecing the suspension bridge blocks.

Before I describe how I am doing it I need to explain why.  I hate paper piecing…..I just hate it! I know that it has become very popular, and I know that it is a very accurate way to piece, but I still hate it.  It is just no fun at all for me…printing patterns, folding and pressing, trimming and pressing, and folding …….working from the back….having paper to remove…..I guess I am way to lazy to go through all the trouble, and I can live with the imperfections to keep it fun.  Having said all that here is the process.

Start by cutting 2 colors of fabric into strips, for the size of my blocks the strips are cut 2.5″

Sew them together and press the seams to the dark fabric

suspension bridge steps 002

here is the template I use to mark the pieces

suspension bridge steps 003

here they are marked to cut…I need to cut 28 of them for one block

suspension bridge steps 004

cut them out

suspension bridge steps 005

sew them together in groups of 7

suspension bridge steps 006

press them  and group your pieces together

suspension bridge steps 007

sew the arcs to the corners…lots of pins helps

suspension bridge steps 008

pin carefully so they come out even…I stat by placing a pin in the center and then the 2 ends and then work out from the center to the ends….

suspension bridge steps 009

sew the 4 corners and press.

suspension bridge steps 010

Next sew the center square to the center pieces….in this case the center square is 6 1/4″

suspension bridge steps 011

Next sew the corners to the center…just like before lots of pins helps

suspension bridge steps 013

So there it is finished, easy sewing and I didn’t drive myself crazy, and did NOT need to paper piece.  It still needs a good pressing…next time I will do a post about how I will do the sashing….it will be something like this

suspension sashing

I might make those cornerstones into stars

suspension bridge layout star

Happy Quilting


44 thoughts on “Suspension Bridge piecing

  1. karen says:

    very good idea on how you do this instead of paper piece – I don’t care for paper piecing either although I know some love it, I rarely do it.

    • timquilts says:

      glad that I am not the only one who doesn’t like to paper piece!….I do so little machine sewing that I am having to really practice, I know I could get better match points and curves by hand, but I just wanted to try one all by machine….and I cant say why

  2. Ardis Bucy says:

    awesome – creative thinking to make this template – and what are the dimensions or how do it get this template? Please = inquiring minds need to know.

    • timquilts says:

      well it depends on the size block you want to make, it took me some math to get the size if the template and fabric strip size to be right…the size they are now makes an 18″ block… was easier to figure out the system in a larger size, I might try to do a smaller one, be that as it may…when I get a few more done and am sure I dont need to make any adjustments I will draw up a pattern and post it here….I want to work out the sashing plan first

  3. Sharon Snow says:

    That’s something new to me. I have never paper pieced or seen anyone paper piece. I usually use a rotary cutter & different size rulers.

  4. Kathi says:

    Tim, thanks for the awesome tutorial.. I love the way your blocks go together… I love puzzles but not paper ones… I have more fun playing with fabric instead of remembering what number I am on like foundation piecing… do like those sharp edges but yours look AMAZING to me 🙂 Kathi

    • timquilts says:

      thanks Kathi!!….I think with a bit of practice I can get better at the sharpness….I just done do very much machine sewing so it takes me a while to warm up

  5. That’s a good way to do it. I remember piecing something like that in the good ol’ bad ol’ days (before rotary cutters became popular and I could actually afford one!)

    I also hate paper-piecing, but mostly because of the waste of fabric. Well, I hate the taking the backing off, too (although if you use muslin (or very, very light interfacing instead of paper, that becomes a non-issue.) …And, of course, there’s the grain issue… OK, I’ll stop now.

    For me, though, hand piecing is still the most accurate and my PPing friends cannot convince me otherwise… that said, I’ll still do it under duress, but I won’t enjoy it!

  6. Valerie says:

    Your method is just genius! I can see applying it to other patterns that need sharp points–thank you. And I don’t get paper piecing at all.

  7. Like you Tim, I HATE HATE HATE paperpiecing, I usually use the individual template method. But I must say…..YOUR way is fabulous!!!
    I have been quilting since 1980….and I never thought of something as easy or clever as that…it is so simple … I feel like that Homer Simpson character…..DOH! I will definiyely be giving that pattern and method a try! Thanks so much…. 😀

  8. seapunk2 says:

    Enjoyed the process very much. I haven’t tried paper piecing, but will, just to try it. I’m not one to seek perfection at every point, angle or seam, instead, I enjoy the process. Also I don’t particularly like waste.
    Thank you for this post – I’m sure to refer to it in the future. Oh, and I prefer the solid cornerstones.

    • timquilts says:

      thanks!….I am still working the sashing out …..I did a sample and it is just toooo wide….so I am going to do a narrower one and see how that looks……with the narrow sashing I think the solid cornerstones are going to be batter

  9. Kate says:

    I always learn something when I read your blog and Iove your approach, this looked so complicated when you posted it first but you make it look like something I might be able to have a go at. I’ve never paper pieced because I don’t think I’d want to spend all that time with tearing out the paper. I love the colours of this block.

  10. I hate paper piecing too it seems counter intuitive to me, and I hate ripping out the paper (carpal tunnel) Your idea seems much easier and strait forward.

  11. Connie Johnson says:

    Thanks for all the time you take to share your process with us. Sets the mind to thinking of other applications for this method. I dislike paper piecing, too. Tried a small block once and drove myself crazy. I’m happy with handpiecing, but do some machine piecing,too. You’re such a wealth of information !!

  12. Mary Britton says:

    Thank you again, Tim, for all your good tutorials and education. I also dislike paper piecing. Last year I followed Gay Bomers “Just Takes 2” block of the month and she did A LOT of paper piecing. The quilt (It’s just a top so far) turned out very nice, but I will avoid pp at all costs from now on. I usually do machine stitching, but will do hand piecing if necessary.

    • timquilts says:

      Wow…I have seen the “just takes two” design and its very pretty….I didn’t know there was paper piecing in it…..but Im with you, hand piecing would be easier

  13. Fantastic. Thanks for sharing the how-to.

  14. Mary Britton says:

    Tim, after watching that video, at the first she pinned the fabric on the unprinted side of the paper, but then switched and was pinning the fabric on the printed side. I was under the impression that the fabric always went on the unprinted side so you could stitch on the printed lines. Am I missing something???

  15. audrey says:

    Wow! That actually makes sense and works out wonderfully! Congrats on working around the paper piecing dilemma. Thanks for sharing your very interesting process!

  16. myrosesindecember says:

    Oh I like your method so much better than foundation piecing which I really do not like at all. What a great 30s print. Is it a current one? You certainly have a knack for choosing the best coordinating solid.

  17. Karin Peirce says:

    I too am a hater of paper piecing, you are such a skilled quilter, it is neat to watch your progress with the suspension bridge, it is going to be a great quilt…

    • timquilts says:

      thanks Karin…its is always me belief that once the top is done I can hide most of the faults with the hand quilting….so perfect is not always necessary for me!

  18. You Are So Clever!! What a great way to do the triangles!! Like you, I’m no big fan of paper piecing – give me hand piecing any day! Thank you.

  19. Janet O'Dell says:

    I machine piece and cut with rulers every time in preference to paper piecing. I have tried paper piecing several different ways and they are the projects that always become the UFOs 😉
    I like the way you have used the printed 30s fabrics as the background.

  20. Dawn Fox Cooper says:

    I like this pattern. I enjoy the precision piecing.

    As for your opinion on paper piecing: you are preaching to the choir, Brother!!

    • timquilts says:

      LOL…..seems like there are lots of people who think that way based on the responses here….makes me wonder why so many of the mags keep doing the patterns for paper piecing

  21. […] have so much yard work to get done!  But I have been obsessed with this Suspension Bridge Quilt I have been working […]

  22. […] to the posts about it here  and  […]

  23. […] For those who have not been following that long  I started the Suspension Bridge quilt here ( and here ( and the pattern is here […]


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s