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Thread: More Practice and Lessons Learned

  1. #1
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    The middle of an IL cornfield
    Blog Entries
    I spent a good part of Saturday trying to piece the perfect block. Since I was cutting imperfect strips, it wasn't an easy task.

    After much reading, the best advice I could find on my impferct strips was it came from an imperfect fold of the fabric. I decided I'd have a perfect fold one way or the other. It involved pins and irons and starch, but I got there! My strips were very nearly perfect by the end of the day! Yeah!

    The next thing I learned is starch is a beautiful thing. I love it. If I starch the fabric into cardboard, it cuts much nicer. :) Maybe I spent too many years working with construction paper.

    The last thing I learned is square rulers are the best invention ever! I want one in every size possible.

    These practice blocks are still not exactly perfect. My points have a habit of running away, but I'm getting there and having fun doing it.


    Mr Roosevelt's necktie - again slightly undersized
    Name:  Attachment-47027.jpe
Views: 34
Size:  51.9 KB

    Shoofly variation - perfect size - a little funky on the points
    Name:  Attachment-47028.jpe
Views: 35
Size:  54.7 KB

    Friendship star - about 1/4 undersized
    Name:  Attachment-47029.jpe
Views: 40
Size:  51.7 KB

  2. #2
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Well, I think you're doing just GREAT!!!! :D

  3. #3
    Super Member KGoodhand's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Ontario Canada
    You keep saying - slightly undersized - have you checked your 1/4"?!? That will make a big difference too!

  4. #4
    Esqmommy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Tied up in Thread
    You are doing amazingly well. Keep up the learning and practicing.

  5. #5
    Super Member Ducky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Lisa, they look wonderful! You've done a great job. Keep going -- you're on a roll!

    I had to laugh when I was reading what you said about starch. I learned that if I starch the heck out of something, I can do anything! I just discovered that with binding strips.

  6. #6
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Very pretty and bright looking.

    Have you checked your seams?

    This has been mentioned here more than once, but it's still worth doing just to check on your "personal measurementd" - Mary Ellen Hopkins' term -

    cut three strips 2 inches wide - they only need to be about six inches long

    sew them together with your 1/4 inch seam - press like you usually do - measure -

    the three strips sewn together should measure 5 inches -

    if they measure more or less, then you need to do some adjusting with either how you cut or how you sew -

    Some of the places where differences can happen:

    In the original cutting - where do you put the line of your ruler?

    When I cut a "two-inch strip" - even though I have the line at 2 inches on the fabric, it's a smidge wider than that because of the extra width gained from the distance the rotary blade is from the edge of the ruler and I sew with about a "real" 1/4 inch seam.

    I've seen people use the lines on their mats as guides - the fabric they are cutting off is not under their ruler - so they might end up with "skimpy" two-inch strips

    But if you are cutting "exact" two-inch strips, maybe you need to sew a "scant" quarter inch (which is somewhere between 3/16 and 15/64 of an inch)

    Your pressing looks nice. If seams aren't pressed properly, little tucks or pleats can gather there also, and make the block "smaller"

  7. #7
    Super Member Kyiav10's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Williamsport Pennsylvania
    I think you are doing great!! I learned the hard way about folding too! But I have never used starch. Maybe I should try it sometime.

    The blocks are coming together nicely.


  8. #8
    Senior Member sandybeach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Ridgecrest, CA
    Blog Entries
    I learned this from a quilt guild member. If your blocks are slightly too small, you can iron them a little larger.

    Take a piece of heavy muslin about 15 inches square. On it draw squares with a permanent marker starting about 5 or 6 inches. Go out 1/4 inch on all sides until you get a square about 12 1/2 inches. I keep this under my cutting board.

    Now when you want to square up or enlarge a block, simply lay it evenly on the muslin, and, using a STEAM iron, iron it until it fits perfectly on the size square you need.

    I hope this makes sense. I have a tendency to sew a little larger than 1/4 inch seam, so my blocks have a tendency to be a little too small.

  9. #9
    Super Member Quilt4u's Avatar
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    May 2008
    Merrimac, MA
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    Great job.

  10. #10
    Junior Member Auntie M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    I shrink with sprayed water and stretch 'em out with starch. It's amazing what can happen.

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