Hi everyone! This is my vacation week blog post. I’m going to review some quilting tips that I have shared in the past and have made into mini video tutorials. I get asked questions about these things I’m covering here the most. That’s why I made a lot of these tutorials to begin with. Since I’m heading out for a few days, I thought this would be a good time for a refresher. Enjoy!
Pressing v. Ironing
We all know how to iron clothes. You run the iron back and forth across the item to remove wrinkles, sometimes using steam. Well, when it comes to quilt blocks and pieced quilts, we need to press not iron. The difference is not moving the iron back and forth across your seams (whether you press open or not). Ironing can distort your seam and end up distorting your unit or block(s). Here’s my mini tutorial:
A cool trick I was shown by a student who was a Home Ec. teacher is to to press a piece of wood down on the seams after pressing. It holds in the heat and creates flatter seams.
Looking at my ironing board pad in photos shows me I need a newer, cleaner one… yikes!
Stitch & Flip (or Folded Corners)
This technique is used to create angles in block designs, like the snowball block. It’s important to do this accurately because picking out a bias seam can distort the pieces you are working with since the bias of the fabric is not as stable as the crosswise and lengthwise grains.
The key to making these units successfully is careful stitching and measuring as you go. Here’s a unit I was working on recently.
Once you stitch the unit on the diagonal, flip the corner open and see if it matches up with the corner of the larger square.
Once you visually see that it matches up, measure the whole unit.
For this unit, it was a 4 1/2 x 4 1/2″ square made of strips to start. After I stitched the smaller square and flipped it open, it still measures 4 1/2″. That means my stitch and flip was a success and I can now cut off the excess fabric in the seam allowance. Here’s my mini tutorial on this:
Crisp Points and Matching Points
A few of the problems encountered by quilters when piecing blocks and quilt tops are getting crisp points, aligning seams and matching points. All of these can be solved by carefully pinning units together and also using an accurate 1/4″ seam when stitching.
How do you avoid cutting off points? Here’s a few handy steps:
Tip#1: If you are joining a unit with a point to another piece without a point, my first tip is to keep the unit with the point on top when you pin them together. This way you can see the point as you are stitching the units.
Tip#2: Keep your eye on the point as you are stitching. I am using a pin as a pointer in the photos below to identify where the point is as I stitch. You want the seam that you are stitching to pass right above the point.
The photos below show how the seam looks on the back and how your point looks on the front once you press the unit open:
Now that you know how to achieve crisp points, what happens when you join two units or blocks together that have points you need to match up? Here’s a few tips before you watch my mini video tutorial:
Tip#1: When pinning the units together, you want to start by lining up the points of each unit and pinning there. Once you are confident the points are matched, you can pin the rest of the unit.
Tip#2: Like in the tip above on crisp points, keep the seam above the point as you are stitching. Since you took such care in aligning the points, the seam should be above the point on the back unit too.
Below is my video on matching points. You’ll notice that aligning your block seams also helps in matching your points when joining blocks.
Well, that’s it for this week. I’ll see you next week with more fun tips that are hopefully useful to you! If you have any questions, ask away!