Hi there! I chose these two stitching challenges because it’s something I’m asked about often. I hear “How do you keep your points from getting chopped off?” and “How do I align the seams when I’m piecing units or blocks together?” all the time! Getting both of these things as close to perfect as possible will make your blocks and your quilt that much more beautiful.
Tips for Crisp Points
This is one of the things that dogs a lot of quilters. I find that many times this is due to impatience (rushing through chain piecing) and not being being aware of where your points are in relation to the seam you are stitching. I’ll describe how I achieve crisp points in a series of photos.
Flip over a flying geese unit like shown below and you will see a point created in the seam allowance when the unit was made.
Paying attention to where this point is while you are stitching is an important key for getting crisp points. Notice I have pinned the pieces so they won’t shift. Now, as I am stitching I keep an eye on the point. I want to keep my stitching above it. Hopefully, if I made my geese unit correctly, the top of the point is 1/4″ from the edge of the unit.
I am using a pin to show you where the point is as I am stitching. In the photo below you can see my needle is going to pass the stitching above the point but still be an accurate 1/4″ seam (see where I am pointing with the pin). You want the stitching to stay above but not too far. If your stitching touches the very tippy top of the point, that is still OK.
Here is the finished seam with my point intact!
Turn the piece over and you will see that the point is not cut off!
Here’s the star block finished with nice crisp points.
If you slow down while you are piecing and pay attention to where your points are on the unit you are stitching, you will have nice crisp points every time.
Most designs in a traditional block or quilt depend on seams being lined up when you stitch them together. Here’s a photo of one of my recent patterns:
The Jacob’s Ladder block that makes up this table runner has a seam that needs to match up so the four-patch units in the block are aligned correctly and then when the blocks are pieced together, the middle seams of each block need to align. Here’s how I make sure seams align when piecing blocks together:
The two blocks on the left are the ones I am stitching together. I lay one on top of the other and then I peel back the top one so I can align the seams. I try to bend it back where the 1/4″ seam line will be to make sure they are aligned. Once I am satisfied, I will pin the unit there first so my alignment does not move when I pin other parts of the block. When I am done, the seams are matched perfectly on the front!
Hopefully these two brief tutorials will help you to achieve crisp points and aligned seams. Once you master those skills, your quilt blocks and quilt tops will look better and better!