My advice to quilters just beginning is to practice, practice, practice. You may not achieve crisp points, accurate flip & sew units or aligned seams when you are just starting out, but that does not mean you won’t get there. I tend to be a perfectionist and I don’t recommend it! LOL! Often I see imperfections that someone else would never be able to see, especially a non-quilter. It’s good to strive for the best, but don’t get upset if everything is not perfect. I’m going to share some tips to help you improve. You’ll find the more you piece quilts, the more accurate your piecing will become.
This week, I will cover crisp points and aligning points when piecing blocks or units together and aligning seams. So, let’s get started!
Crisp Points – Only One Unit with a Point
We have all done this. You’re piecing a quilt with a lot of stars or flying geese units. When you’re all done, your points are cut off!
Notice the point on the left is cut off compared to the point on the right. That’s what we’re trying to avoid. So, here’s some tips.
First, If you are joining a unit with a point to another piece, my first tip is to keep the unit with the point on top when you pin them together.
Next, pay attention to the point as you are stitching. That’s why we want that piece to be on top. If your unit with the points was piece correctly, there should be 1/4″ from the point to the edge of your unit. I am using a pin as a pointer in the photos below to identify where the point is as I stitch. You want your seam that you are stitching to pass right above the point on the back.
This is what it should look like when you are done:
Now when you flip it over and check… crisp point!
Like I said earlier, the key to getting these crisp points is to make sure you piece your units that have points, flying geese in this example, have the correct seam allowance. 1/4″ from point tip to edge of the unit:
Crisp Points – Matching Units both with Points
As in the tip above, the first key is to have your units with point measure correctly with the points 1/4″ from the edge of your unit. For this example, I will pretend I have a pattern where two flying geese units are joined on the point sides. Here’s my geese units:
When pinning the together, you want to start by lining up the points of each unit and pinning there. Here is how I line up the points. I lay them right sides together and then pull the top unit down to get the point lined up with the point of the unit below. I slowly inch the top piece back, eyeing the point the whole time.
Then I pin the center first before pinning the rest.
Now, follow the stitching instructions in the first section of this blog post to stitch the seam keeping it above the point. Since you took such care in aligning the points, the stitching should be above the point on the back unit to. Hopefully you can see in the photos of each side below where the stitching line passes above the point:
And after pressing, here is how the unit looks with the points matched!
So, that’s crisp points and matching points. Now onto aligning seams.
The steps to aligning seams are similar to aligning points above, except when you are piecing a quilt, you may have a lot of seams to line up accurately to keep your design flowing. For example, when joining two Jacob’s Ladder blocks, I have squares and the diagonal lines of the half-square triangle blocks to match up.
Like the geese units above where I was matching points, I start by matching the corners of the squares:
Then I pin the center first and move out to pin the rest of the unit. Stitch and press and my Jacob’s Ladder block should look like below:
That’s the end of this week’s lesson. Come back next week for creating units and blocks using flip & sew corners and having them measure accurately! Leave a comment below and enter my drawing for pattern, Twinkle, Twinkle which will give you a lot of practice on crisp and matching points!
The drawing will be on Monday, November 30th so you will have two weeks to enter! **We have a winner! Congrats, Mildred Plaskett!**
Robin McGuire says
Great tips! Practice makes a big difference for me. Thanks for the chance to win the wonderful pattern!
Rita Manetta says
Awesome piecing tips! Thank you!
Thanks for the tips. I find your notes very helpful, even for a seasoned quilter.
Toni Horvath says
Awesome advice. Even though I have been quilting for years I still struggle at times with points. Your advice is exceptional and I will try it with the next quilt. Thank you for posting
Eugenia Read says
Thank you so much for great tips and tricks. I will definitely be reviewing this page again when needed.
Mildred Plaskett says
Great tips. I’ve had cut off points, so these tips will help. I need to practice.
Viviane Pfitzner says
Thank you so much for all your very helpful tips which are very detailed, even with accompanying photos for visual learners so I really appreciate your efforts you’re putting into this.
Also thanks for a chance to win this beautiful pattern – I love all your quilts. <3
Donna Schulz says
Your photos & descriptions are so precise & clear. Even those of us who have been quilting for quite awhile can gain or be reminded on “how to”. Thanks!