Every once in awhile, I like to give you some time saving tips that will make your quilting days go smoothly. When things go smoothly…. you have more fun! The last couple of weeks, we talked about fabric, cutting safety and using quilt rulers. Today, I’ll share some tips
It’s always a good idea to read a pattern through from start to finish before beginning. Especially since sometimes a pattern may not have all the cutting instructions up front. My cutting instructions are usually right up front for everything. Here’s a look:
Also, notice how I have the largest pieces cut from the fabric first. This guarantees that you get all the pieces cut from the piece of fabric efficiently. Another reason to read the pattern…. some will not have the pieces listed like this.
Another tip when cutting out your quilt pieces, label and organize them while you cut. As you can see from the photo above, I label my pieces to be cut with letters. It’s a good idea to stack the pieces by the fabric and by letter. This will make piecing the blocks easier because you won’t have to stop and hunt for pieces! This is how I label my pieces:
A little bit of masking tape or painter’s tape will do the trick!
Chain piece units and blocks when you can. Chain piecing is when you continuously feed units that need to be stitched together one after another without cutting the thread. It’s a thread and time saver.
Just be sure to check that you haven’t run out of bobbin thread while you’re stitching. I’ve done that before and have ended up with a pile of un-stitched units at the back of my machine. Oops! I also chain stitch block rows together. As long as you have them stacked up and ready to go, you can chain stitch those too.
A really easy way to keep pieces for blocks arranged and ready to go to the sewing machine is …. mini design squares!
I made this by cutting out squares of card board about 13 x 13″ and then covered them with scrap wool or cotton batting. Here’s what it looks like when you have block pieces laid out:
Make several of these squares. Then you can stack up the blocks for your quilt, one on top of the other, and just sit and sew. The cover of batting keeps your pieces in place as they are stacked.
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:
So, those are some tips to get you started on stitching your new project! I hope they’re useful. Now for the new drawing… leave me a comment below and you will be entered into a drawing for my pattern Twinkle, Twinkle.
This is a fun, scrappy one and also good for confident beginners. Drawing will be on Monday, August 3rd. **We have a winner…Congrats, Eileen!**