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Thread: Newby with question

  1. #1
    beccaabug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    I just found this message board, when I was looking for some help.

    I bought a bag of fabric scraps at a garage sale. There are squares and scrapes of material (looks like material left over from making quilts.)
    I was going to join a quilt along. I made 5 9 patch squares. Only two came out 6 1/2 in. I know your suppose to wash and dry your material, you think she would have done that. Are you suppose to use steam when you press your seams. Could this be why some of my blocks shrunk?
    Do you think I should wash all the material and dry it? There's some 3" squares in there, would It be safe to wash them.
    The material is pretty, I hate to throw it out.
    Any help would be very much appreciated.


  2. #2
    Moderator tlrnhi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    In the middle of a mess...
    Welcome and Hafa Adai from Guam!

    Pieces that small, I wouldn't put in the washer.
    If you want to wash them, I'd put them for a "soak" in a dishpan, then rinse very well.
    But, if it were me, I WOULD NOT wash them.

    Your blocks could be off because your seams are not a "true" 1/4 inch. You could have ironed them wrong, meaning that instead of the seam being flat, there is a bit of a "ridge" in it. Kinda hard to explain it.

    You could use some starch on them. Just give them a spray and iron them down, would give them a bit of body to make them sew better. If the piece is too wet from the starch, just let it dry, then iron.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Blog Entries
    A big welcome to the board from Ireland. With the little squares, you perhaps could sew them together and then wash.

  4. #4
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Hi and Welcome from southern Indiana!!

    No, I wouldn't wash and I wouldn't throw them away either!! If your blocks aren't the same size, you might want to recheck your 1/4" seam allowance. I have a 1/4" foot for my machine and I move the needle over 1 spot closer to the edge. This helps me with my problem of being "off" on sizes....If you don't have a 1/4" foot, put some brightly colored tape on your machine at the 1/4" mark and see if this helps!

    But most of all, have fun!!!!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Welcome:) You'll find some great advice and inspiration here.

    I would not wash the squares either. the problem is most likely the seams as stated before. But, to answer your other question: You should NOT use steam when ironing. It may have a little to do with the shrinking problem.

    I didn't notice anyone else answer that question so I thought I would give you my opinion.


  6. #6
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    St. Louis, Missouri
    I agree about not washing the fabrics if they are already cut out. They WILL fray! Also, no steam when pressing. And press from the back AND the front to get rid of ridges. Also, it is hard to maintain a good quarter inch seam at first. That will make a big difference in the size of a square, especially if they are small already. It does take practice. But do try to have fun with this. :lol:

  7. #7
    Super Member dvseals's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    *Waves from Iowa* :)

    Maybe some of the fabric isn't 100% cotton and is instead a poly blend.
    That could be why some shrank and others didn't.
    I wouldn't wash them either, pieces that small would more than likely fall apart.

  8. #8
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Out searching for some sunshine :-)
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    Hello and Welcome :D :D :D I agree with what is already posted :wink:

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Port Angeles, WA
    Welcome from Washington :D

  10. #10
    Lisa T's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Menominee, Michigan
    I would bet that being a new quilter you are making your seams just a teeny bit too big- even 1/16th of an inch will add up and make your block "off". I tend to do that, too, which is fine as long as I am consistent and am the only one making squares for a quilt. When I do something for a swap I try to make a "scant" 1/4" seam. It takes a LOT of practice to get that right. I have been quilting for years and still have trouble with it.

    One thing that helps me is to cut the squares just a little bigger and trim the block back to the right size after sewing the pieces together into the block.

    Do you have a rotary cutter yet? If you do, what you can do is make all your squares and then find the smallest one and trim the rest to that size. I have done that many many times! I did a drunkard's path (curved seams) quilt recently and squared up every single block after stitching them together. It was my first quilt to come out exactly square and that is after about 18 years of quilting. So don't be hard on yourself- this is supposed to be fun! You didn't spend much on your fabric so it won't be a huge loss if it doesn't turn out exactly perfect. You will still be able to use it and say "I made this!"

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