Chain piecing refers to a sewing process. When you chain piece, patchwork sets are sewn one after the other. You do not back stitch. You do not cut the thread. The second set goes right behind the first and you continue sewing. Then the third is added, and so (sew) on….
This can save you time as you do not have to stop, backstitch and clip the threads after each section is sewn. Instead you continue to feed more pieces into the machine until all have been sewn. Then you stop, clip once and take the “chain” to the ironing board.
This may feel awkward at first but it will become second nature after a few run throughs. No only will you save a lot of time using this method but your piecing may become more accurate. (Each time you start in on a new piece you usually have the tendency to veer to the left or right. With chain piecing we continue sewing in one continuous straight line.)
In the photo below triangles are being “chained”. The unsewn triangle is fed into the machine directly behind the sewn triangle.
NOTE: to enlarge the video, click the PLAY button, then click the full-screen icon at the bottom right of the video.
TRANSCRIPT: Chain Piecing; Encyclopedia
Chain piecing is a method that quilters like to use to help expediate the process of sewing many pieces of fabric together, instead of sewing one piece, putting it through the sewing machine, taking it out, clipping and then taking another piece and putting it through, quilters like to use this method called chain piecing.
So the first thing you do is you take your leader or small scrap of fabric, put it into the sewing machine, begin sewing. And get your next piece of fabric ready to go through. And as that one’s following through, I pick up my next piece of fabric that needs to be sewn and I continue sewing. Notice I do not stop and clip this while I’m sewing. I don’t have to be sewing rectangles. I can pick up other shapes, doesn’t make any difference. I just need to continue on, with my sewing.
This works great, as I said, with all shapes; in particular shapes that have pointy edges like this where as if you try to sew a quarter inch seam on this, often these pointy edges will get caught down in your v dog. So if you use the chaining method, the piece in front of it pulls those little ears through and makes it much easier to sew. Let me put another one of these pieces through. Notice I’m not using any pins. Whenever possible I try not to use pins because pins distort the fabric. When I have to match seams, then I use pins. And so let’s end that up with this follower. I’m going to sew all the way through, i’m going to cut my chain. And you’ll see that I have this chain of triangles, squares, rectangles. And I can take this to the ironing board like this so all my pieces come instead of gathering up. And once I get over to the ironing board then I can clip each one of these pieces.
So chaining is a great method that you can use to help with your accuracy and it also saves time.