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�Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

Posted by imrainey (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 7, 10 at 13:24

It happens all the time: the seams that don't want to match, the ones that got pressed the wrong way and you don't notice it until it's too late, the seam that isn't quite 1/4" (or even 1/8"), or is it maybe just a hair deeper than 1/4" (and who knows which when it's headed under the foot?) etc.

What do you do to fix these things and, even more importantly, what do you do to avoid them? What other ways do you have to encourage your quilts to lie flat and avoid the puckers?

Personally, I'm not sure I'll ever master the scant 1/4".


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: �Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

When pieces of the block are a little long on one side or in one area, I use my "sliver" technique: if one area of the block is a little bigger than it should be, say it is 1/8' longer, I don't cut off the entire 1/8" that is too big; I cut off only a sliver of the offending area, say, 1/16 or 1/32 of an inch. I use a ruler and a rotary cutter to cut off the sliver. It may be necessary to cut another sliver to get things more or less evened up, but don't ever whack off an eighth-inch or especially a quarter-inch to even-up an area! Just a sliver will do!

Teresa


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RE: �Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

Yesterday, I just read that using a better thread, may help achieving the scant 1/4" - the theory being less bulk when you press over a thicker thread or one with slubs. I use Connecting Threads Essentials to piece-I find it slubby and linty,but the price is right. I am thinking of trying a few different brands. I have to move my needle position, and I hate it when I forget - usually after sewing a diagonal line.

Thanks Teresa for the sliver trick.


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RE: �Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

I got a 1/4 inch presser foot that has a metal tab that make a guide wall right at your needle. I put a few layers of painter's tape down on my foot plate as another guide to help me keep straight.

I chain piece off a piece of scrap to start a seam so I don't wobble there, and I bought a Clover sewing awl to hold my last little corner so my seams don't wobble at the end, either.

I cut all my pieces scantly big. Instead of eyeing my fabric edge in the middle of my ruler line, I eye it so that I can see about three threads on the the other side of the line. This is pretty easy to do, and then every piece is about fours threads too big. I eat them up later in a true 1/4 inch seam.

I set my seams with a shot of steam before I press them open, and I press a lot as I go along.

I measure units as I go along, too, trying to keep things square and true all along the way. I make good use of the sliver technique mentioned above, and if something is a little off I'm more likely to be able to compensate early on rather than further along when I don't know exactly where my first wonky started off.


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RE: �Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

I'm a pro at sewing block pieces together to correct cutting errors. You just line them up first, maybe measure, and see what is wrong and sew a seam accordingly, a little narrower here and a little wider there. Amazing what you can do. And, if you have a seam sewn pressing the wrong way, just clip it to the seam and leave the sewn part alone, pressing the rest the other direction. Once it's quilted, no one knows how you made it behave. It's your quilt.


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RE: �Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

If seams don't want to match, it's best to take care of the problem right then and there rather than trying to make it fit.....unless it's just a smidgeon. I also measure as I go so there are no surprises when the block is sewn together. And, I clip like toolgranny does if the seam allowance needs to be sewn opposite of how I want them to be pressed.

SharonG/FL


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RE: �Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

I totally agree with all the hints. One other thing that I have found is when sewing long strips together, is that the fabric on the bottom gets away from me. So now when I press I make sure that I am looking at the bottom fabric so that I will see any problem areas while it is easy to fix.
Marge


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RE: �Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

Here's my suggestion: Phewwey with that 1/4" seam allowance!!

There are definite times when that 1/4" is important, like in a block swap or BOM exchange...Then all the blocks must end up roughly the same size.

But when you're doing all the work yourself on a quilt, worry more about a CONSISTENT seam allowance, even if it's slightly larger. Ultimately, consistency makes for a more accurate block/quilt than does a 1/4".

Just my .02...


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RE: �Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

When I got a machine with the 1/4" foot, it made a huge difference. I also try to keep my grain of fabric going the same way when possible - when I first started quilting, I did not pay that much attention to the grain. I also love my Fiskars rotary cutter ruler.
Karlene


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RE: �Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

Mary Ellen Hopkins says"the seams don't have to be 1/4 of an inch,as long as they are all the same"!! I do as the other poster does,lay down layers of painters tape and line up with that.
Kathi


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RE: �Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

When putting 2 blocks together, then sew twice on the diagonal to make HSTs. I eyeball 2-3 threads toward the center & mark/cut there. The extra threads gives me a bit of wiggle room before squaring up.


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RE: �Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

I used to be of the consistent-not-quarters camp but I found that it really does make a difference when you get away from squares and move onto more complicated blocks that have things like diamonds and several components to the finished block. Like this one for example:

A closer look at the Blackford's Beauty block

There were just too many elements relating to one another to fit them all together without precision.

I've also tried cutting slightly large and trimming at each stage, but that got old and, since patterns don't always tell you the dimension of each partial unit, I was always doing a lot of math to do my squaring up. Eleanore Burns is great about furnishing that info. But not too many others I can think of.

So I've had to learn, like toolgranny, how to boss them around a bit. ;>


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RE: �Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

There used to be a sewing show on Cdn. tv many years ago and the one thing I remember specifically from that was her use of the rule "Precision, Precision, Precision", which applied both to cutting and sewing. I think it fits particularly well in quilting. So if we cut "precisely' all pieces for a block and sew "precisely", it should work out perfectly.


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RE: �Tips for making things work when they don't quite want to?

Lots of good information.
Although I strive to keep a 1/4", the seam ripper still rules. I do a lot of measuring, checking blocks and allowances often. When 2 blocks are a bit off I try and adjust the squares so there is one side that is "true" leaving an uneven edge that will have a square with a narrower seam. I do feel the sq. should come out close to the true measure if things are to work.
I believe in pinning tricky points, doesn't always work but helps. I don't think the seam it self is as critical as keeping the sqs. the correct measurment. I would like the back always to be "pretty" but it is the front that generally means the most. Jayne


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