Piecing more accurate quilts is always at the top of our lists, here I have a list of the five things that will make the biggest difference in your finished quilts. I use these myself day after day as I piece my own quilts, and love to help you find success at the sewing machine too!
Trimming can be time consuming and overlooked when everything “looks good” but verifying that the pieces are the right size before continuing in the project will make a big difference!
This is most commonly practiced with half-square triangle units, and once a block is finished. For trimming blocks, I love my 12 1/2″ square ruler especially. It allows me to line up and trim all four sides of a 12″ block at once.
My speedy tips for trimming half-square triangle units are here. Don’t miss this link!
Use your iron, and use it often! Press your fabric before cutting pieces. Press your seams, open or to one side as you sew, before you sew the next seam. There’s quick ways to press too, I love to chain piece for as long as possible, then press everything at once. See my tips for “bulk pressing” here.
Verify your 1/4″ seam allowance
Every machine, and foot is different! Even if you like to us a foot with a guard rail, you may need to adjust your needle position. Test your seam allowance, by sewing two small squares together and measure the results. The finished unit should measure 1/2″ less than the combined cut sizes. I have a complete step by step tutorial here.
Starch is the quilter’s friend! Use it only at the beginning of a project, or the end. Never in the middle as this may cause your pieces to shrink. Starch makes the fabric nice and crisp, can help to keep it from fraying as you work, and shift less. There’s a variety of options available at the local quilt shop or grocery store, my favorites are the unscented and whatever is on hand! Read more about starch here.
Splurge on a new set of pins that are sharp, and tiny, so that they help you achieve accurate quilts! My favorite pins are by Clover, and glide through my fabrics. They don’t add bulk to the seams, and slide right back out of my fabrics, just before the needle. Keeping me on track and accurate.
Yes, taking the time to pin might slow you down a little, but in the end – it’s worth it! Pin perpendicular to the seam being sewn, or at a 45º angle as shown in the photo above. Using the angle allows me to catch both seam allowances with one pin, and quickly remove it before the needle goes over the pin.
Sewing accurate quilts, is entirely up to you! If you are a beginner, please don’t aim for perfection. After years of garment sewing, piecing accurate quilts still took time for me to master. But incorporating one or more of these tips will definitely set you on a good path – I wish someone had pointed all of these tips out to me sooner!
Thanks for stopping by & Happy Quilting,
PS – If you would like to learn more, sign up for my free E-course, Learn to Piece Like a Pro here.
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