Sunday, September 17, 2006

A few more hints . . . .

Eileen asked how closely to the seam should she clip. I clip right up to the seam without clipping through the seam. You want each half to fold nicely the direction you want it to go.

Use a short stitch -15 to the inch. That way the seams don't come apart without backtacking, and you can be confident they will hold well even when you clip right up to them or "pop" them at the ends when crossed by another seam so as to press them in a little whorl.

Use spray starch or fabric sizing to make your fabric nice and stiff-crisp before cutting - especially if you are cutting small pieces for a fairly intricate block. (Stick to fabric sizing if you might have a bug problem where you live, because bugs like to eat starch.) This gives the pieces a lot of body and helps you control them while stitching. I'd do this even if you are using "new" fabric that hasn't been prewashed.

If I am stitching something that I often have trouble turning out the right size - like a square in a square - I cut the triangles oversized and then square up the block part after stitching. You should be able to figure out the proper unfinished size of the block part, but if you can't just be sure to center your ruler over the block and leave your 1/4" seam on all sides. This probably often occurs for me when part of the block is set on the bias, like in a square in a square or this basket block or the points of this star.

None of these hints will help you sew the block together correctly, however. You are on your own for that. I freely admit that I am "spatially challenged" and do this much more often that I'd care to admit. So I still keep a "reverse sewing machine" handy at all times.

4 comments:

Silverthimble said...

I have been enjoying your tutorials. Do you have any tips for making accurate 1/2 square triangles. I see the next hour a day project from Judy has half square triangles. These have not been my most accurate things to piece.

Darlene said...

You know I love your tutorials - you could and should write a book! I'm serious!

Katie said...

Don't know if you read old comments. I put one under the brain thing. Really great hints too. I always use lots of sizing when letting a newbee or child quilt. And I use it a lot too.

Gail said...

spatially challenged? good term, and I am sooooo glad to know that I am not the only one prone to doing this! I tried building a new fence. I have used them before but what I notice is thatthe .25" includes a bit of feeddog. Think I'll dig out another machine and see if I can get a better seam allowance on it.