Every once in a while, I like to compile quilting tips I have shared in the past in an updated post. I think we all can benefit from these tips whether we are beginners or experienced quilters. Some of the tips I share are time savers and some are on technique. Let’s have some fun this week by sharing some of your favorite tips in the comments. We all learn something new everyday and we may here!
Here’s an example of a cutting instructions page from one of my patterns:
Notice how the largest pieces to be cut from a specific fabric are listed first. I recommend always cutting the largest, longest or widest pieces first and work down from there. Some patterns may not have the cutting instructions listed like this. If they don’t, I recommend you write out the pieces you need to cut from largest to smallest on your own.
I also recommend that you add at least 1/8 yard onto the fabric required by the pattern, unless the pattern maker indicates they’ve already added in additional fabric. I like to do this for my patterns to account for shrinkage if you wash your fabric or for cutting mistakes…. and we all know those happen!
As you are piecing units, measure your completed units to make sure it measures as it should according to the pattern. If you measure units before piecing them into the blocks, you can be assured that your finished block will measure correctly.
To be able to measure by my machine, I like to keep a wood pressing stick and small rulers close by.
The pressing stick lets me press seams on the unit while sitting at the machine so I can measure them right there. Here’s how the pressing stick works:
If your units don’t measure correctly, then you will have a lot of difficulty piecing the block and your block will not measure correctly. So, this is actually a time saver!
Well, if your unit or block does not measure correctly or you make a mistake, you’ll need to rip out stitches. One of my least favorite thing to do is to “un-sew”. But if it needs to be done, do it carefully so you don’t damage the fabric pieces. Here’s how I do it:
I cut a stitch every 4 or 5 stitches in the middle of the seam and then gently pull apart the pieces.
The seam comes apart fairly easy and then all you have to do is finish cutting the threads on each end of the unit.
It’s important to be gentle when ripping seams out so the fabric is not stretched and the seam allowance isn’t frayed. Especially when you are ripping out seams on the bias.
This may seem like a simple tip, but you’d be surprised how many people skip it. Back stitch to lock your stitched seam at the beginning and end of a seam.
The unit on the left has back stitching at the beginning and end of the seam. The one on the right does not. The next photo shows how the seam can easily separate, which can cause your quilt to come apart at the seams … literally!
The unit that has the back stitching is nice and secure, even with seams pressed open.
This can be done whether you are just stitching one unit at a time or you are stitching a chain of units. It only takes a brief second to backstitch at the beginning and end of each unit in a chain.
Finally, here’s a time saving tip when you are making HSTs using the method where you get two at a time. Instead of having to draw lines on the back of all your top squares, try the “crease” method. This keeps you at your machine and you can use the pressing stick (shown above) to make crisp creases.
Use the crease at the guide and sew a scant 1/4″ on each side. Then cut them apart and press open for two HSTs!
So that’s it for this week. Share in the comments below some of your favorite tips. I may just feature you in an upcoming tips blog post! I will also enter you into the drawing for a Clover Finger Presser (I don’t think they make the wood ones anymore!)
The drawing will be next Monday, October 12…. so you only have this week to comment. Until next week, ***We have a winner. Congrats, Donna Reeves!***