Leader and ender at beginning and end of chain

Hey Everyone, welcome back to Technique Tuesday.

You may have heard quilter’s talk about using leaders and enders. I had heard these terms many times and didn’t have a clue what they were talking about until I went to a trunk show last fall and was enlightened as to what they were. In the picture above you can see the different fabric at the start and finish of the chain – the leader and ender.

I am sure we have all had these problems while sewing at one time or another – the thread bunches up into a bird’s nest under the fabric as we start out sewing or the fabric gets sucked down into the bobbin area or the piece just doesn’t go anywhere and the needle keeps going up and down forming a small thread ball on the backside. Leaders and enders can help eliminate these issues.

What is a leader?

A leader is when we put a small piece of scrap fabric under the foot to start the sewing off with. Not only does it prevent the issues listed above but it also ensures a ¼″ seam from the edge of your pieces.

Use a piece of scrap fabric for the leader

Scrap fabric as a leader

What is an ender?

An ender you guessed it is a small piece of scrap fabric at the end of the piecing to ensure a ¼″ seam to the edge.

Use a piece of scrap fabric as the ender

Scrap fabric as the ender

Instead of using a piece of scrap fabric that just gets thrown away why not have squares to sew together that will eventually be a quilt. These can definitely be scraps of fabric from the scrap bins or coordinated fabrics and when there are enough sewn together a quilt can be created.

Squares for leaders and enders

2 ½″ squares to use as leaders and enders

I decided to sew some 2 ½″ squares together as my leaders and enders that are part of another project.

A piece of fabric to start the sewing

The leader

A 2 ½″ square as the ender

The ender

Leaders and enders are a great way to help ensure the ¼″ seam is accurate at the start and finish of piecing as well as eliminate some of those other issues we sometimes have. The best part is that you can create another quilt at the same time or at least get started on one.

Now I have many 2 ½″ square pairs sewn together – what am I going to do with them?

Have you made a leader/ender quilt?

Happy Quilting!

Jen Transparent Signature