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Thread: New to quilting, and it shows...

  1. #1
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    New to quilting, and it shows...

    Hello from Wisconsin. I'm a new quilter who joined looking for some desperately needed help.

    SO I just started my third quilt. (My first two quilt tops would be disasters to you guys. LOL They look fine...but were sewn with 1/2" seams! Luckily it only took me one and a haf tops to realize why they turned out so much smaller than what they were supposed to be. HAHA)

    So now that I have my 1/4" foot, I decided I'm sticking to all simple patterns until I get everything else down. I thought I was doing great until after I pressed two blocks and found out they won't match up when I go to sew them together (one horizontal and one vertical). They're literally a good 1/2" short so it's not like I can muss with the seams and get by.

    Can give me an idea of what to check to find out where I went wrong? My seams measured to 1/4", I am fairly certain I cut my strips to the correct size, but I am going to measure those, as well. I'm completely crushed at this point, as I thought I was doing so well and everything would be fine now that I have the correct presser foot.

    Any help will be appreciated.

    Stacey

  2. #2
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    It can only be the seam allowance, inaccurate cutting or inaccurate pattern. Keep in mind that many, many 1/4 inch feet are not really 1/4 inch and many patterns really require a "scant" 1/4 inch seam.

    If you can show us a picture, we can probably help more.

  3. #3
    Super Member SandyinZ4's Avatar
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    Hi Cooksa, Please don't be discouraged. We are glad you joined us. Like Lisa said, it can either be cutting or sewing. Pictures would help a lot, too and what pattern you are doing. There are so many people here who can help so we will have you quilting better in no time. I wish you could see the first quilt I made. You would not feel so bad! Also, you might check in your area(?) and see if there are any guilds who can help out in person. Ok..your turn. tell us more about what you are doing. Quilty hugs!
    She who dies with the most fabric, didn't sew fast enough!

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies. Lucky for me, I cut enough fabric for two of these quilts, so I have abother set of the one color to try again.

    The pattern I'm using is the "Fat Quarter Four Step" by Harding Hill Designs. I'll get pics of the ones I didn't steam and pull the bejeebus out of to try to get that extra bit of fabric out of them...
    Last edited by cooksa; 12-05-2013 at 08:48 PM.

  5. #5
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    Don't be crushed! I've been quilting for 6 years and still can't get all my seams to match!

    If the blocks are off by 1/2", it's possible that the blocks are cut wrong. That can happen if the ruler doesn't 'grip' the fabric and it slides out of place while you are cutting. There are all kinds of aids to get the ruler to grip the fabric.

    The method I use is to spray the back of the ruler with a small blast of basting spray, use a soft cloth to wipe a lot of the basting spray off so that the sprayed side of the ruler is slightly tacky. I've only had to do that once with each ruler, and have been using this method for at least 3 years.

    Other things that improved my cutting accuracy:

    1) The fold of the fabric - when you cut over the fold, the cut is curved, kind of like an elbow. I read somewhere that pressing the fold into a sharp crease in the fabric reduces the size of the elbow. It works for me!

    2) I have no luck at all with cutting multiple layers of fabric. Since I know it is a problem for me, I don't do it.

    3) In the last year, i learned that my cutting is much more accurate if I use a piece of painters tape to mark the cut line on the ruler. It's hard for me to see the ruler lines, so the painters tape makes the 'cut line' stand out for me.

    4) Not sure how to explain this, but I'll try anyway. If, for example, you want to cut a strip that is 3" wide by the width of the fabric,

    a) Make sure your fabric is evenly folded and straighten the edge of the fabric where you will begin cutting.

    b) Assuming your ruler is 6" wide x 24" long,
    * align the ruler so that 3 inches of the ruler are over the width of the fabric and 3 inches are off the fabric. In other words, 3" of the ruler will cover the strip of fabric you want to cut, and 3" will rest on the cutting board.

    * Since our hypothetical strip -to-cut is 3", make sure the edge of the fabric aligns with the 3" line of your ruler before you cut!

    Then cut the fabric 3" in from the edge.

    c) I only recently learned that it is necessary to straighten the edge of the fabric after every third strip. It seems like we shouldn't need to do that, but we do. Apparently the fabric shifts a little bit with each cut.

    4) Many people starch their fabric before cutting. It's not something I usually do because of allergies. Starch turns into dust as you handle the fabric.

    Having said that, I learned the hard way that starching is extremely helpful when cutting on the bias or when you have a fabric that wants to shred itself back to threads.

    Good luck to you on your quilting journey!
    Last edited by cathyvv; 12-05-2013 at 09:05 PM.

  6. #6
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    Thanks again for the replies and tips. They are definitely being noted.

    My pictures have to be approved before posting, so when that happens they'll be here.

  7. #7
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    Don't be discouraged! There are many patterns that don't require matching seams. It takes time to get it to where you will feel it's "right". You'll get it, just keep trying.

  8. #8
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    Welcome from Adrian, MI

  9. #9
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    Hi from Ohio!
    SueDor

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    Welcome from Michigan!

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