I think about time saving tricks a lot when I am quilting. I have always been an impatient person, so if I can find a way to save time…. I do it! I want to share a few of those with you today in this blog posting.
One of the first things I recommend that will save you a lot of time is to read through the pattern you are planning to work on and create a “test” block out of scrap fabric. This is a great way to find out if you understand the instructions! It’s also a way to “audition” color choices.
Here is a test block I made for one of my projects:
So, you are thinking…. what am I to do with these “test” blocks that I make? They’re not for the actual quilt project so do I just toss them into a UFO basket and forget about them? Well, you can do that, but I recommend using these test blocks for instant gifts! All you have to do is add some borders using scraps and before you know it, you have a mini wall hanging, table topper or candle mat!
I added borders, quilted the piece and finished it with binding. This then became a fun Christmas gift for a friend who is not a quilter! She loved it!
When buying your fabric for your project, add a little to the amount you purchase to allow for shrinkage (if you pre-wash your fabric) or for squaring up. We all know that fabric needs to be squared up before cutting. Sometimes, when fabric is rolled onto the bolt at the factory, it can get rolled on a little askew. You don’t want to get home and not have enough fabric for your project! Here’s an earlier blog post I did on squaring up fabric if you need to familiarize yourself on doing this:
I often buy an extra 1/8 yard – this also allows for a possible cutting error.
This sort of goes with tip #2. Cut all the pieces for your project at once. I like doing this for 2 reasons. I like to get all the cutting done at once and it allows me to make sure I have enough fabric. If I cut in stages, by the time I figure out I’m short of fabric, the quilt shop may be out of that particular fabric!
Also when you are cutting, label and organize your pieces based on when they are used in the pattern. Most patterns will have pieces numbered or lettered. If that’s the case, keep all the similar pieces together as this will make it easier for you to find them when they are needed. Here’s a project of mine all laid out and labeled:
Chain piecing! I love to chain piece when I can. Whether it’s piecing a unit or piecing rows for a block. I start my chain piecing with a leader/ender piece to keep threads under control and make sure my seams start evenly. Here’s some photos of my chain piecing:
Like I said earlier, chain piecing can also be used when piecing blocks. It’s a good time saver technique to use when your blocks are made up of rows and you are making a lot of the same block.
So, those are a few of my time saving tips for this week. Let me know if you have any to share. Post them in the comments below so everyone can benefit! I will have blog posts with other time saving tips in the future. In the meantime…..