Ever have difficulty with cut off points, matching up points or matching up seams? Well, you are in luck because that is what this week’s post covers. In last week’s blog post, one of my beginner’s tips was pinning units for stitching to make sure your piecing is accurate. This tip really comes in handy when matching up seams and points too. I’m going to dive a little deeper into matching up seams and points because it helps to make your quilt design look the way you want. So let’s go!
First up, let’s look at those points. We’ve all had this happen. You stitch the units of a block together and press the seams only to flip it over and see this:
One of your points is cut off by the seam. It’s frustrating when it happens. If you only have a few cut-off points in a large quilt, they may not be noticeable to anyone but you. But if it’s a smaller quilt, like a wall hanging or table runner, it can be very noticeable. So, here’s some steps to practice to get crisp and not cut off points.
First: If you are joining a unit with a point to another piece, my first tip is to keep the unit with the point on top when you pin them together. This way you can see the point as you are stitching the units.
Second: If your unit with the points was pieced correctly, there should be 1/4″ from the point to the edge of your unit (see below). Measure to make sure. Measuring completed units as you go will save you headaches later!
Third: Keep your eye on the point as you are stitching. I am using a pin as a pointer in the photos below to identify where the point is as I stitch. You want the seam that you are stitching to pass right above the point.
The photos below show how the seam looks on the back and how your point looks on the front once you press the unit open:
These tips are for when you want to piece together 2 units where there are points on each that need to match up.
First: When pinning the units together, you want to start by lining up the points of each unit and pinning there. Here is how I line up the points. I lay the units right sides together and then pull the top unit down to get the point lined up with the point of the unit below. I slowly inch the top piece back, eyeing the points the whole time to make sure they stay lined up. Then start by pinning in the center before pinning the rest.
Second: Follow the stitching instructions above to stitch the seam, keeping it above the point. Since you took such care in aligning the points, the seam should be above the point on the back unit to. Hopefully you can see in the photos of each side (below) where the stitching line passes above the point:
My thread is a little dark, but because the other fabric in the unit is a tan print you can tell the seam doesn’t go into the point. Now press the unit open and you have points that are matched.
The steps to aligning seams are similar to aligning points, except when you are piecing a quilt, you may have a lot of seams to line up accurately to keep your design flowing. For example, when joining these two Jacob’s Ladder blocks (below), I have squares and the diagonal lines of the half-square triangle blocks to match up.
I start by matching the center seam of the two blocks using the same method I used above in matching points:
I then pin starting in the center to make sure nothing shifts and then I pin the rest. Stitch the seam and press open. The two blocks joined look like this:
Notice how the corners of the squares and the diagonal seams of the HST units of each of the blocks match up, all because you carefully lined up the center seam. Perform this seam alignment steps for as many seams as there are in the blocks you are joining. A challenging design could have seams and points to align at the same time, so it’s a good idea to practice this skill.
The main point is to line up seams and points carefully first and pin where you want NO shifting whatsoever. If you do these steps, you should be successful in achieving units and blocks with no cut off points or unaligned seams.
That’s it for now! Join me next week for some more piecing techniques. Leave me a comment or ask questions and be entered into a drawing for my pattern Star Wheels. This pattern has a lot of points and seams to align to give you lots of practice!
The drawing will be on Monday, March 14th so you will have this week and next week to enter! ***We have a winner. Congrats, Pat!***
Cheryl L Leabo says
Excellent explanation. Thank you!
Jeanne E says
Thanks for the great info.
It makes such a difference when you follow these tips. Thanks so much!
Your step by step directions are always right on. Thanks
Sally Garon says
Beautiful tute. Thanks so much!
I normally press to one side from the front of the fabric. I am going to try your method. Thanks!
Great step by step instructions. Thanks for your time and talent!
Christine Prager says
Thank you so much for sharing your sewing tips with us. I know it takes a lot of time to give such detailed, step by step instructions and it is greatly appreciated.
If I’m trying to get two points to line up, I’ll sometimes stick a pin through both points and make sure that pin stays perpendicular to the fabric while I stick another pin in next to the point to make sure I don’t shift the fabric while pinning. Then I remove the perpendicular pin because it’s just there to make sure I keep those points together while pinning.
I am also going to try pressing like you show here. Seems like things would lay much flatter.
Thanks again for the awesome tutorial!
Excellent Tutorial! As a retired teacher I appreciate the clarity of the instructions and photos in your tutorial.
Thanks for the tips, those points are always a problem for me!!
Great tips for lining up points and seams. When I am unable to see the point on the bottom unit, I often will poke a pin through both layers at the point and use that pin-point as my guide. It has given me better success at keeping my points.
Oh my goodness another stunning quilt!
I smiled when I saw the red wagon in the photo; you have a knack for staging quilt photos. 😊
Patricia Wojciechowski says
Your tips are right on point! They will help me with the quilt I am currently piecing. Thanks! Love the close-up photos.
Cristina Romero says
Perfect tutorial. Thank you
Great examples and tutorial guidelines – thank you for the pointers.
Do you usually iron your seams open?