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Thread: Desperate for help with my first quilt.

  1. #1

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    I am attempting my very first patchwork quilt as a gift to a friend. I am following instructions in a book and so far everything has gone smoothly. That is until now. I have cut 11"x11" squares and am sewing the squares together with a 1/2" seam allowance. The rows are turning out nicely, until I laid them back down on the floor and realized that the intersections weren't lining up. Some line up, some are off by at the most 1/2". What do I do? When I sew the rows together the intersections need to line up just right or the quilt won't look right. Please help! :?

  2. #2
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    Welcome and congratulations with your first quilt.

    Keeping 1/2 inch seams is hard to control. I suggest you keep your seams to 1/4 inch and use a 1/4 inch foot. If you don't have one, select a foot and keep the fabric aligned with the edge of the foot for all the seams, but make sure the seams are at least 1/4 inch so the quilt can hold strong.

    Maria

  3. #3
    TX_Cutie's Avatar
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    Congrats on beginning your first quilt!

    One idea is to match up the middle seams and cut off the extra fabric on each side so that all the block pairs are now equal sized.

    The other idea is to introduce yourself to your seam ripper. I have a long standing love-hate relationship with mine - he's like family. :D

    I agree with Maride that 1/4" seams are easier to handle. A 1/4" foot can be purchased at any hobby store, even Walmart, for about $5-$7. It's such a simple thing that makes a world of difference.

    Also, if you can post a picture of what your blocks look like, we'll probably be able to give you better feedback on how to fix it.

  4. #4
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    You may want to lightly mark a 1/2" line on the back of your blocks to sew on, just be careful what you use so it comes out in the laundry and does not bleed or show through the front of the block.. Make sure you line up the "intersetions" and pin as needed.

    Most patterns use a 1/4" seam and the presser feet that are made for sewing these seams are very helpful to accurate seams. You will find that if every block is 1/16 of an inch off...after 8 that is a 1/2" if you are making small blocks for a large quilt, those discrepancies can really add up on each row.

    Your pressing can also lose or gain inches. If you iron the seams they can stretch the block, if you don't press them open enough you can lose fabric in the seam lines...

  5. #5
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    The traditional seam for quilting is 1/4 inch. I suggest you steam "press" all of your blocks very carefully and handle them with a very gentle touch. Fabric stretchs at the blink of an eye. It usually helps if you pin the blocks carefully at each intersection and in the middle. If one block seems bigger than the next put it on the bottom when you sew two together. Let the feed dogs on your machine ease it to fit the block on top. I have been quilting for more than 40 years and I still have trouble getting the seams to line up perfectly. Fabric is almost like a living thing. Be sure you "press" which is an up and down motion with the iron not a slide which can stretch your fabric.
    Good luck.

  6. #6
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I have always used a 1/4 inch seam for quilting. When I am trying to get my seams in one row to match seams in the next I pin, pin, pin. Otherwise I have problems too.

  7. #7
    FabricFusion's Avatar
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    Great idea to lightly draw lines to follow! I love my air erasable fabric marker, and it would be perfect for this.

  8. #8
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    if they are really off- make that work for you. I'd move the next row over almost half a block and cut the excess off the end of that row. do that with every other row. lots of quilts out there do this design. works well and looks great. hope this helps.

  9. #9
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nativetexan
    if they are really off- make that work for you. I'd move the next row over almost half a block and cut the excess off the end of that row. do that with every other row. lots of quilts out there do this design. works well and looks great. hope this helps.
    Great plan! I'll try to remember that one because I'm sure to be off. I good at off. :roll:

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