Sunday, March 4, 2012

How to make chenille strips tutorial (part 1)

When I  posted my Lily's flowers quilt people were commenting on the chenille part. Mary was asking me if I had a link to how to make it. I've searched on Youtube hoping that I could find a video tutorial, but only found the ones that were the whole chenille fabrics, but not the strips that you brush in the end. I don't want to disappoint, so I decided to do my first tutorial. Hope the explanation will be clear, if anyone has any questions please leave a comment below.
Please read from beginning to end before you start working so you can understand all the steps clearly.
To start You'll need:

  •  background fabric with any shape of  flower fused on it. It doesn't have to be stitched down at this point, it's your choice (mine wasn't stitched before the chenille strip was sewn on)
  • 5 pieces of  12" squares of plain solid fabric, the color of your choice. I made the demo with white muslin
  • enough freezer paper to cut a 12"  square 
  • rotary cutter, ruler with 1/8 inch markings
  • iron, ironing board
  • pencil
  • regular ruler, preferably with 1/8 inch markings
  • pins
  • sewing machine, thread

Here's what you'll need to do:

Take 5 pieces of 12"squares of muslin:
How to make chenille strips tutorial
Step  1 

Cut a 12" square out of the freezer paper ( I did it with  the  rotary cutter and ruler)
Step 2 

Iron the freezer paper square shiny side down (very  important!) on one of the muslin squares.
Step 3 

With a pencil draw a line on the freezer paper diagonally from corner to corner.
Step 4 

Draw parallel lines 3/4 " apart starting with the one in the middle. I did not draw it all the way to the edges since those were not going to be  long enough for my project.
Step 5  

Layer fabric squares, keep the drawn freezer paper on top
Step 6 

Pin the layers together. Note that I did not pin on the center line which will be my fist sewing line. Also note that I pinned perpendicular to the lines.
Step 7 

Sew on the lines with a shorter stitch length.  You need shorter stitches to make sure to be able to remove the freezer paper easily.
Step 8 

After it is sewn it'll look like this:
Front after sewing 

Back after sewing 

Now it's time to tear away the freezer paper! In order to do that fold the freezer paper and crease it really good with your fingernails or a creasing bone before tearing.
Step 9 

After all the freezer paper is gone you'll have your square looking like this:

Now you'll need to take a long enough ruler and cut the strips 3/8 inch from the sewing line. Start in the corner by cutting off the triangles first. I suggest using the rotary cutter in this step because the strips could shift when you use scissors since you have to cut through 5 layers of fabrics.
Step 10 

Voila!  You have your chenille strips ready to be sewn on your project!

More coming up when I demonstrate how to sew the chenille strips on the flower petals and get the final fluffy chenille look.
You can find these tutorials pinned to pinterest: part 1 part 2


  1. GREAT tutorial!! I am so excited to try this on my next sweet quilt :) (you did a great job on clarity, I know exactly what to do! I love the pictures!)

  2. Thank You Marion, I tried really hard! This was my first one and wanted to do it right. I knew it takes a lot of time so I just ran out of steam to keep going to the flower part:) I'll try to do that in the afternoon and post it later.

  3. You should put a picture in this post so that it can be pinned on pinterest :)

    1. It is actually pinned to my pinterest board under tutorials if you want to check it out. If you pin the first picture with the rotary cutter and fabric squares on it it will take you back to here when you click on it, I tried it :)

    2. Here's the link to it:

  4. I pinned it! Can you link part two in this post so folks can find it easily when they come to this one?? Love it!!

    1. Hi Katie, I did, but here's the link for part 2:
      Thanks for the comment!

  5. I saw a package of chenille strips for sale at the sewing and craft festival yesterday. It was 25 feet for $12.99. I would need three packages minimum for the quilt I'd like to make. And more if I wanted color variety. I started talking to a lady and she said "You can make your own. Check out YouTube." So here I am. Thank you for posting this. If I had to buy those three packages, my quilt wouldn't have happened. Just too expensive. Thanks again.


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