Bargello Piecing Tip

Posted by Ruth on 20 February 2015 | 5 Comments
This content belongs to Arbee Designs.

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A lot of thought goes into designing a Bargello quilt. It is not just a matter of drawing a few lines or curves. As you design you will discover how one little change to your design can create a whole new look. One attribute that will make a big difference is whether you use staggered seams or matching seams. Let's take a closer look at these two options.

Staggered Bargello: All seams in each strip will be centered between the two seams in the previous strip (image on the left below). However, all odd numbered strips have their seams in line with each other, as will all even numbered strips. Each strip is moved half a rectangle up or down from the previous row to create the design. We use staggered seams to create Bargello Blues

Matching Seams: All seams match together. Each fabric moves one complete rectangle either up or down from the previous row to create the design.

bargello blues staggered seams

staggered seams

bargello blues matching

matching seams

These become quite noticeable when you compare the same design as you can see in the images above. I have used matching seams in the right Bargello and staggered seams in the left, yet the design is otherwise the same - the fabrics are the same, the strip widths (height of each section) are the same, the Bargello strips (width of each column) are the same, number of rows and columns are the same, yet the design line is quite different. Matching seams produce deeper curves and steeper grades than the staggered seam does which has softer curves and grades. 

Along with these two methods, comes different pressing instructions too.

For staggered strips, it is simply a matter of pressing the seams towards the darkest fabric. For strips with matching seams, alternate their direction, e.g., first seam press up, second seam press down, third up and so forth. With each seam facing opposite direction, the Bargello strips will butt up together easily and match nicely.

butting seams

looking at the seam from a side, when seams are pressed in opposite directions, the butt up neatly together

These are just two of the options you have when designing a bargello. My Bargello Blues, which is the forefront of the class, gives you an understanding of how detailed and complicated Bargello designs come together. This helps you gain insight for the designing part of the class where lots of amazing Bargello quilts are born. I hope you will be joining me!

About Bargello Blues onlineMaster advanced techniques in Bargello by constructing this design step by step. Making Ruth's Bargello Blues quilt will help you discover the techniques used in advanced Bargello and prepare the groundwork for creating your own design. Understanding the construction will allow you to move to the next level - designing your very own bargello. This class is an advanced workshop in Bargello making and designing. Read more...


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  • I don't treat staggered bargellos any differently than non-staggered when it comes to quilting. Often I follow the design lines of the bargello and depending on the design, I may quilt down the background area.

    Posted by Ruth, 17/12/2018 4:01pm (4 years ago)

  • any suggestions on how to quilt a staggered bargello? I just can't visualize it..thanks

    Posted by gayle negri, 17/12/2018 2:59pm (4 years ago)

  • Yes, it does make it easier with no matching seams, although one still needs to be aware of aligning the seams in alternate rows. Many of my students forget that part :)

    Posted by Ruth, 23/02/2015 7:27pm (8 years ago)

  • Personally, I'm a big fan of offset bargello. No seams to match!

    Posted by Lily Kerns, 23/02/2015 7:23pm (8 years ago)

  • Yes, designing bargello is a world of fun. It is amazing how much difference little things like this will make. You will enjoy this class!

    Posted by Lily Kerns, 22/02/2015 2:09am (8 years ago)

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