How to Do Bargello Piecework in Quilting

Things You'll Need

  • 7 colors of fabric - 3/8 yard each
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron

How to Do Bargello Piecework in Quilting. Bargello piecework is a techniques of quilting that was inspired by a form of needlework. This type of quilting shifts colors to create curves and movement in the quilted top. Although the results of this quilt look complicated, it is an easy technique that even beginners can adopt.

Choose seven fabrics from the same color family. You will need 3/8 yards of each color. Pick shades that are light, medium and dark. The point of this kind of quilting is to have the colors flow through the quilt.

Wash and iron your fabrics. This makes the cloth easier to work with, and ensures that the dyes in the fabric won't bleed when you wash the final quilt.

Organize your fabrics from light to dark. An easy way to keep yourself organized is to take a small scrap of each fabric and make a chart. This will keep you from getting confused while you work.

Cut the fabric into strips 3 1/2-inches wide. Cut by the width of the fabric from one selvage to the other and cut one fabric at a time.

Stitch the strips together in the same order that you determined in Step 3. Use a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Stitch the strips together in just one repeat to create one block, and then create another. The square should be even on one end and ragged on another.

Iron all the seams flat and in the in the same direction.

Cut the 3-inch strips out of the sewn blocks. Cut perpendicular to the seams so you end up with strips of blocks of the fabric.

Determine your pattern. The easiest pattern is to lay one strip down, and then lay the next strip next to it a half a block lower. Repeat this three times with each strip a half a block lower. Line up the fifth and sixth strips and lay the seventh half a block higher. Repeat this until strip 10 is even with the first strip. You will notice a hole at the top where the blocks move downward and extra cloth at the bottom.

Sew two strips together and iron the seam. Maintain the repeating color pattern so that the last color of the strip and the first of the next are sewn together.

Sew together both ends of two strips with the right sides facing each other. You'll end up with a loop of fabric. Maintain the repeating color pattern by sewing the first color block to the last one. Iron both the new seams flat.

Find the block that represents the first color in your repeat and go up to the block before that. Cut the block in half. This would be the block that would normally be the last block at the end of the strip. Lay the strip next to the first that you created. Now you have all the blocks shifting downward, but all the edges are even.

Repeat Step 10 to create another loop of fabric. This time take a seam ripper and remove the seam between the last block and the next to last one. Lay the strip next to the others and all the color blocks will have moved down another half block and still be even.

Repeat Steps 10 through 13 once more. Create a strip that resembles the fifth one you created. The color blocks will line up on these two strips.

Move the blocks of color upward. Make strips that are exactly like the ones you made before. Strip 7 will be the same as strip 4. The same applies to strips 8 and 3, 9 and 2 and 10 and 1.

Repeat Steps 9 to 15 until you run out of strips or your quilt top attains the desired length.


  • You can move the blocks however you want to create a different effect in the ways the colors shift. You can use small or large shirts in the blocks and move the colors in arches or waves.

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