Hi and welcome! I don’t profess to know everything about quilting, but I like to share tips from time to time. Sometimes it’s a tip I’ve just learned about or its a tip for a technique I happen to be working on at the time. Some of these may be new to you or they might not be. Learning is always a good thing and something we’re always doing through our quilting life.
Tip #1: Reading all the pattern directions is very important before beginning a project. Doing this will familiarize you with all the steps involved and you can get questions answered before you begin.
This also comes in handy when cutting out your fabric pieces. Most patterns will have you cut all your pieces up front, but some won’t. Reading the pattern all the way through will guarantee you don’t miss anything.
Above is a look at one of my patterns. As you can see, I have you cut the largest pieces from a piece of fabric and then have you work your way down to the smallest pieces. That is the most efficient way to cut.
I also recommend purchasing a little extra fabric than is listed on the pattern. This will allow for shrinkage, if you are a fabric washer, or for cutting errors. The last thing you want is to run out of fabric!
Tip #2: Measure, measure, measure! Measuring in quilting is not just important when you are cutting out the pieces for your quilt. It’s important through out the piecing process. If you have quilt blocks made up of many different units, I recommend measuring each unit when it’s completed before piecing them into a block.
By doing this, you guarantee that your quilt block will be the accurate size. If the units making up the block are off even by a tiny bit, that mistake will multiply while piecing and you will end up with blocks that do not measure correctly. That will result in your quilt blocks not fitting together smoothly.
Tip #3: This may seem like a simple tip, but you’d be surprised how many people skip it. Back stitch to lock your stitched seam at the beginning and end of a seam.
As you can see, the unit on the left has back stitching at the beginning and end of the seam. The one on the right does not. The next photo shows how the seam can separate, which can cause your quilt to come apart at the seams … literally!
The unit that has the back stitching is nice and secure, even with seams pressed open.
Even if you are chain piecing, it’s a good idea to do a quick back stitch as you move from one unit to the other. It takes a little bit more time, but it will be worth it when your quilt stays together!
Tip #4: Pressing versus ironing. Do you know the difference? There is a big difference! Pressing is when you use the weight of the iron along with the heat to flatten a piece of fabric or seams in a unit or block, basically going up and down. Ironing is moving the iron back and forth over something to smooth out wrinkles. Guess which you should do when your quilting? You want to “press” units and blocks so you do not distort seams or weaken stitching. I did a mini-tutorial on this earlier this year:
So that’s it for this week. Join me next week for some more handy tips!
Share a tip in the comments below and be entered in a drawing to win my newest pattern: Stack O’ Sheep!
The drawing will be held on Monday, July 29th. ***We have a winner! Congrats, Rebekah!***
Kimber Smith says
Thanks for the tips! Good demonstration and great tips. I enjoy your blog and quilts.
Karen Shurts says
Keep a stiletto handy when sewing… sometimes the ends of a seam get a little “waggly ” and my stiletto keeps them lined up straight 😊
Pam Pokragac says
I square up all of my units too! Every. Single. One. It’s a pain in the neck sometimes, but it makes all the difference ;D Another tip that I follow is to set/press my seams – especially long strips – helps to keep them from going wonky!
Mary Two says
Use you ruler to measure your fabric for cutting and not your mat, it is more accurate.
Rebekah Cornford says
My tip when measuring lots of units the same size is to put a piece of Washi tape on your ruler so you can find the right measurements super quickly. This speeds you up and reduces mistakes from cutting fatigue, especially if cutting smaller increments.
Write the date you start your project on the pattern AND if possible, cut & prep the binding when cutting the rest of the fabric for your quilt before you put leftovers in your stash – trust me, you won’t be able to find it again when you go looking for the fabric you wanted in the first place! (speaking from experience here-ha). Thank you for all of your great tips you share with us! HUGS… and stitches
Lewcrese Shields says
I starch my fabrics before I cut. This helps stabilize the fabric and helps make sure my cutting is accurate!!
Your tips are always good. Sometimes you just need a little reminder. Two things that have helped my acuracy is starching my fabric and using the “wool mat” for pressing. Can’t get over how that Matt helps.
Great tips and love your patterns.