There are many stitching tips and hacks that I have shared over the years and hope they have helped you enjoy quilting more. It never hurts to review some of these! Here’s some of my favorites:
Tip #1 – Always use a 1/4″ seam!
You can not piece and enjoy quilting without an accurate 1/4″ seam. The best way to accomplish that is to use a 1/4″ foot on your machine.
To use the foot, line up the edge of piece you want to stitch with the right edge of the foot. However, don’t just assume that it’s a perfect 1/4″. Needle position and thickness of thread can effect the width of your seam. The best thing to do is test it. Sew a seam and then get your ruler out to measure.
If it measures correctly, your ready to sew to your heart’s content! If it doesn’t, sew a few more practice seams on scrap fabric moving the fabric a bit left or right depending on if your seam was too wide or not wide enough. Once you know where you should like up your fabric for piecing, you can mark it on your machine using a strip of painters tape as a guide.
Tip #2 – Another way to make half-square triangle (HST) squares!
Yes! There’s another way to make multiple HSTs. I covered the way to make 8 at a time in this blog post: Piecing Techniques – Half-square Triangle Squares. Now here’s a way to make four at a time if you want more variety in colors or if you don’t need quite so many HSTs. Start with two different color squares that are 1 1/2″ larger than the size HST you want. For example, if you want 2 1/2″ HSTs, you need to start with two 4″ squares. Place those squares right sides together and stitch 1/4″ in on all 4 sides.
Now, cut the sewn square diagonally in both directions as shown in the photos below.
Now press them open for four half-square triangle squares!
Tip #3 – We all have to do it… the dreaded unsewing!
So I know you probably don’t like stitch ripping or “unsewing” as we quilters like to say. Here’s a tip to help that go more smoothly and also save you from shredding precious fabric in the process. What I do is 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 the cutting the threads on each end of the unit.
It’s also important to be gentle when ripping seams out so the fabric is not stretched. Especially when you are ripping out seams on the bias.
Tip #4 – Measure block units for smooth piecing!
Finally, one of the most important tips I can give you is to measure block units as you go to make sure your block fits together smoothly and measures correctly when you are done. For example, an evening star block that is made up of a large center square, four flying geese units and 4 smaller squares could come our wonky if you do not measure your geese units when you are done.
Most patterns will tell you how each unit should measure when you are finished piecing it. Use this to verify your units measure correctly. That way, your blocks will always come out the correct size. It’s better to measure units as you go than having to rip the entire block apart… wouldn’t you agree?
Well, that’s all for now. Share in the comments tips you use or if there’s anything you’d like me to cover in an upcoming post. I’m always up for suggestions!
Maureen Latta says
Thank you Deanne, your tips are very practical and are appreciated. Quilty hugs from an Aussie quilter