converting machine quilting pattern to hand quilting

beginnerpiecerDecember 1, 2009

Hello,

I'm a beginner quilter and have joined a quilting club where we are doing several blocks a month. I started by hand piecing the blocks and then realized the patterns were for machine piecing and my blocks would be too big. I'd like to do the blocks with hand piecing but most of the patterns are for machine piecing. Is there an easy way that I can convert the pattern and make templates? Thank you for any help.

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calliope

I'm sorry, but I'm not understand exactly what you mean. Are you talking about the piecing-together part of it, or the quilting part of it. Also don't understand why your hand-pieced articles would automatically become too big. You can hand sew most any item the same size as you'd sew them on a machine. The patterns should be interchangeable. Yes, you can make your own templates, btw. I do it all the time and when I really started to get into quilting I began purchasing templates one by one as I could afford them, but still make templates in a pinch.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 10:02AM
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toolgranny

A quarter inch seam is a quarter inch seam. The fact you do it by hand should make no difference. You might have to get a pencil or marker and make lines to show your seam allowances and most importantly, the corner spots where the seams meet, to be accurate. But, you can do any block by hand just as well.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 10:51AM
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petalpatsy

Yup, I agree with the above posts. I do everything by hand, and I don't see how the blocks would automatically turn out too big just because you sew by hand.

I will say, though, that it is essential for me to have stitch lines drawn onto the pieces. From what I read, people on machines emphasize perfectly accurate cutting so that they can carefully sew a perfect 1/4 inch seam by a guide on the machine. Then, they don't have to mark at all, you see.

I have a couple of excellent books, "Quiltmaking by Hand" from Jenny Beyer, and "Mastering Precision Piecing" from Sally Collins. They both include sections on making accurate templates, and they both swear (at length) that templates should include the seam allowance. That way you can pin four or so layers of fabric together and your cutting goes a lot faster.

When you're making your template, you use an extra fine Sharpie to make dots at the seam intersections, and later punch them out with a 1/16 inch hole punch.

When you get to sewing, you line up your edges (very helpful here if the fabric was starched before cutting) and lay the template again to mark the dots on the top piece facing you. If you need help to sew a straight line (like I always do) you can lightly connect the dots, too.

For hand sewing, this way keeps the speed of cutting 3-4 layers at once, and eliminates the effort of drawing stitch lines and dots on every piece, that you then find yourself flipping over a thousand times checking the back stitch line.

If you draw the stitch line, and then eyeball the 1/4 inch seam as you cut it, planning to match the stitch lines as you hand sew, you have to draw and cut one piece at a time, and take extreme care as you pin through the dots, and since the seam allowances are uneven, you have to pin lots mores along the stitch lines as you flip back and forth to check alignment.

When you make a template, be aware that every time you draw around a shape, your line has added width to the shape. You always use the inside edge of your line as the cutting line, not the middle of your line. It's useful to have a very fine point mechanical pencil that will snug right up to your template, and even so, after you cut there shouldn't be any line left on your piece.

If you rotary cut, the same goes for the lines on your ruler. They have width. Always take care that the line obliterates the edge of your fabric, not just butts right up to it, and never showing a couple threads on the other side of the line.

It seems trivial, but if you add 1/32 inch to every edge, then that's 1/16 to each piece. If your block has a row with eight pieces to match up to some other part, then the eight piece row will be 1/2 inch (8/16) inch too wide.

Hootie hoot ! What a long mixed up rambling of a post! I'm leaving it anyway, since maybe it will help you. The main thing you could do is get either one of those books. They are both thirty bucks, and I enjoy Jenny's the most as a good and comprehensive read--even though I don't do the quilting like she does-- but Sally's is half as thick and straight to the point of accurate piecing, with some really good pictures, but nothing on hand quilting. (Be aware that I love books.)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 3:27PM
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solstice98

I'm so glad to read all these responses! I read the original post this morning and didn't understand why there would be a difference with hand quilting. I thought I was missing something important about hand sewing! BeginningPiecer, I think the advice you've gotten sounds just right: measure the 1/4 inch seam and it should all be OK.

Kate

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 4:28PM
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calliope

You really don't even need a quarter inch seam if you find it unwieldy for hand stitching. If you are making your own templates you can add a half inch, or whatever seam you are comfortable with using. But, be aware that wider seams mean more bulk. You may even want to stitch like that and then trim seams. If you are working with a simple pattern where a lot of corners don't intersect then bulk isn't a big issue. If you want a four inch square block, the template for the standard quarter inch seam would be four and a half inches long, and the same width wide. (quarter inch seam on all sides). If you wanted half in seams, then a four inch square block would be five inches square. See what I mean?

I didn't start quilting until just a few years ago, but have been sewing for most of my life. I adjust patterns when clothes making and it's the same principle.

But, if you are piecing your quilt totally by hand, even the small deviations from your blocks (by not being able to be as exact as when machine sewing) can be compensated for more easily if piecing the blocks together by hand, too. Machines are not very forgiving for being off tolerance a little but when hand sewing, I automatically ease the fabric in to match up seams without thinking. If you look at very old quilts most of which are done totally by hand, you will notice a lot of them aren't 'right' on the money and it's part of their homespun charm.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 9:21PM
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jbeee7

HI THERE ....CAN YOU HAND PIECE BLOCKS AS WELL AS MACHINE PIECE BLOCKS FOR THE SAME QUILT....THERE ARE TIMES THAT I WILL NOT BE AT A MACHINE FOR A TIME BUT WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO WORK ON THE SAME QUILT ....BIG THANX

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 10:21PM
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solstice98

Sure you can. There are no quilt police so you can do it any way you want and any combination of ways. As long as your blocks end up the same size, the methods used won't matter.
Cut the pieces carefully, maintain the same size seam allowance whether you are sewing by machine or by hand and it will all fit.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 10:49PM
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jbeee7

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PERMISION....SOME TIMES ALL YOU NEED IS SOME ONE TO SAY YES YOU CAN DO THAT ....I FELT I COULD JUST NEVER TOOK THAT STEP OUT THE BOX AND DID IT .... JUST NEEDED ANOTHER TO SAY... WHY NOT....DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?....ANOTHER QUESTION I WOULD LIKE ANSWERED ....CAN YOU DO PAPER PIECING BY HAND AS WELL ....ITS THAT IM NOT ALWAYS NEAR A MACHINE....BIG THANX FRANCES

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 5:20PM
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toolgranny

As mentioned above, anything you can do by machine you can do by hand. Sometimes it offers challenges unique to your way of doing it and you have to draw lines, use more pins, whatever. But, the fact it's done by hand makes it no different. Just think of your fingers as the sewing machine.

In PP, just follow the line on the paper the same as you would by machine, turn it, press and trim.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 5:32PM
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