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Thread: blocks not same size

  1. #1
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    hi everyone new to quilting still learning i am making a quilt; but when i go to put my blocks together they end up being smaller or some larger than others i pressed i starched but i need help what am i doing wrong? please help

  2. #2
    Super Member Deb watkins's Avatar
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    Accurate cutting is a must, as well as accurate seams. Press not iron as this can stretch your block even a little which will make a huge difference.

  3. #3
    Senior Member quiltingaz's Avatar
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    If possible you can square up the blocks. Find the smallest one and square all others to that size. Of course this will not work if you are cutting off points.

    As said above, accurate cutting, seaming, and pressing are the only real solution. Watch that 1/4 inch seam, that is usually the culprit.

  4. #4
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    Before you sew them together square them - find the smallest one and cut the others to match that size. It could be cutting, it could be the fabric is stretching, or it could be the seam allowance isn't consistent. Cut them square and constant, then sew them together.

  5. #5
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    Trust me, with practice you do get the hang of it! You should see some of my early work! It was awful, but at the time, I liked it! Don't get discouraged!

    I had a "friend" tell me, I had only been quilting for a few months, that "I would never get it". Well, guess what? That was a challenge!

    We both put quilts in our local quilt show, and I placed, she didn't even get anything! HAHAHAHA Don't tell me I can't! And, yes, she was MAD!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by joan_quilts
    Trust me, with practice you do get the hang of it! You should see some of my early work! It was awful, but at the time, I liked it! Don't get discouraged!

    I had a "friend" tell me, I had only been quilting for a few months, that "I would never get it". Well, guess what? That was a challenge!

    We both put quilts in our local quilt show, and I placed, she didn't even get anything! HAHAHAHA Don't tell me I can't! And, yes, she was MAD!
    just wanted to say - this tickled me. In an evil kind of way. heh-heh-heh... :twisted:

  7. #7
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    Practice sewing "scant" 1/4" seams until you can get a consistent measurement. Find a spot on your sewing machine or mark with tape where you can end up with a "scant" 1/4" seam. ("Scant" means a thread ot two just short of a measured 1/4".)

  8. #8
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    If your blocks are just a little off (1/4" or less) you can often block them up to size. I use a cork bulletin board. For a 12 1/2" unfinished I took a permanent sharpy marker and drew a perfect 12 1/2" square on my cork board (used my square ruler). I then pin the block to the board matching up to the drawn lines. First I pin opposing corners (diagonal opposing corners) then work my way around the block pinning and stretching the block to fit. I use however many pins are necessary to get the block strectched out to size. Sometimes this can take up to 10 pins per side. Once pinned I take a spray mister bottle with just plain water and spray the block until it is wet. Leave it to air dry. I usually leave it overnight. This blocking procedure will often get your pieced blocks up to the correct size and square them up at the same time. When you remove all the pins the block will stay the size it was stretched to. If your blocks are smaller than 12 1/2" unfinished you may not be able to get as much as a 1/4" out of them. You will know once you start pinning them to the board if they won't make it at all.

    I prefer this method to cutting down when points are involved. If the block is all squares and rectangles with no points, like a 9 patch or 4 patch, cutting down to smallest size may be more desireable.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic
    If your blocks are just a little off (1/4" or less) you can often block them up to size. I use a cork bulletin board. For a 12 1/2" unfinished I took a permanent sharpy marker and drew a perfect 12 1/2" square on my cork board (used my square ruler). I then pin the block to the board matching up to the drawn lines. First I pin opposing corners (diagonal opposing corners) then work my way around the block pinning and stretching the block to fit. I use however many pins are necessary to get the block strectched out to size. Sometimes this can take up to 10 pins per side. Once pinned I take a spray mister bottle with just plain water and spray the block until it is wet. Leave it to air dry. I usually leave it overnight. This blocking procedure will often get your pieced blocks up to the correct size and square them up at the same time. When you remove all the pins the block will stay the size it was stretched to. If your blocks are smaller than 12 1/2" unfinished you may not be able to get as much as a 1/4" out of them. You will know once you start pinning them to the board if they won't make it at all.

    I prefer this method to cutting down when points are involved. If the block is all squares and rectangles with no points, like a 9 patch or 4 patch, cutting down to smallest size may be more desireable.
    never heard of this method, but sounds like it is worth a try...
    thank you.

  10. #10
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I have done this method, but used spray starch. I'm going to try plain water next time.

  11. #11
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanTx
    Before you sew them together square them - find the smallest one and cut the others to match that size. It could be cutting, it could be the fabric is stretching, or it could be the seam allowance isn't consistent. Cut them square and constant, then sew them together.
    Just be sure you don't cut the points off any triangles - mistake I made. :) Depending on your pattern you could also add sashing to make the blocks all the same size.

  12. #12
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    I was hoping a beginner didn't have any points to fool with! Sorry - that worked for my first couple of quilts, but they were simple blocks - rails, 4-patch, etc.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Dani's Avatar
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    Hi Barbrose, practice sewing a 1/4" seam by cutting three 1-1/2" strips 10" long. Sew the three together and measure the center strip in width. It should measure 1" exactly. If it doesn't, do it again, and again, until you can get that 1" exact measurement in the center strip every time. Practice does make perfect!

    Also use the same brand rulers for cutting your pieces and place edges in the center of the line on your rulers.

    I think these are the two basic reasons why your blocks would be different sizes.

    Ironing the blocks too vigorously (press the blocks) can also lead to stretched blocks.

    You know it doesn't matter much what seam allowance you make (except it changes the size of the finished block) as long as you make all seam allowance the same size.

    Good luck on this...you will get it!

  14. #14
    QuiltingLee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joan_quilts
    Trust me, with practice you do get the hang of it! You should see some of my early work! It was awful, but at the time, I liked it! Don't get discouraged!

    I had a "friend" tell me, I had only been quilting for a few months, that "I would never get it". Well, guess what? That was a challenge!

    We both put quilts in our local quilt show, and I placed, she didn't even get anything! HAHAHAHA Don't tell me I can't! And, yes, she was MAD!
    You show her girl! :lol: and she probably said you would never get it because yu caught on faster than she did :)

  15. #15
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joan_quilts
    Don't tell me I can't! And, yes, she was MAD!
    I would NEVER tell anyone that they can't do something. lol

    If you are working on the same block and they are off, then your problem is either with the preparation in cutting, with the seam allowance being inconsistent, with the pressing, or a combination of all of the above. One of the well-known teachers suggests that you measure every piece of your construction when you first start to determine where you might go off the plan.

    Sometimes, it is possible to cut the block down (when there are no matching points) and sometimes it is possible to starch, press and pull the block into submission. In general, it is the practice that will get you there. Don't fret. I think we've all been there.

  16. #16
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    I don't believe there is such a thing as "a scant 1/4" seam". It either is or it isn't and you need to find out where an exact 1/4" seam is on your sewing machine plate. I use 70 microytex sharpie needles and 60wt 100%cotton thread..it is just as strong and less lint than 50 wt. These 2 items take less space for the seam, thus more perfect piecing. Press each seam line as you go and then press each seam in the direction it should go in the whole piecing. Measure ea.block as you complete it and if it isn't the size it should be, get it right before you continue any further with another block.

  17. #17
    Jeanne girl's Avatar
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    Sorry---correct spelling: Microtex sharp needles

  18. #18

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    another suggestion: if your blocks are not squaring up and close to the same size, you might think of adding a border around each block. This border could be 2-3 inches. Then cut each block the exact same size. The border could even act as sashing, depending on the overall design of your quilt. All the best. You'll get it. :)

  19. #19
    dls
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    How to Square Up Quilt Blocks
    Squaring Up Quilt Blocks - Learn How to Fix Problem Quilt Blocks
    By Janet Wickell

  20. #20
    dls
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    How to Square Up Quilt Blocks
    Squaring Up Quilt Blocks - Learn How to Fix Problem Quilt Blocks
    By Janet Wickell

  21. #21
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    You can vary the width of you sashing, too, so all the blocks fit together. It happens even to the most experienced quilters, so just have fun!

  22. #22
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    After many years, I finally 'got' the seaming pretty exact. Good for you for keeping on. Good for you onthe 'place'.

  23. #23
    dls
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    This is good advice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeanne girl
    I don't believe there is such a thing as "a scant 1/4" seam". It either is or it isn't and you need to find out where an exact 1/4" seam is on your sewing machine plate. I use 70 microytex sharpie needles and 60wt 100%cotton thread..it is just as strong and less lint than 50 wt. These 2 items take less space for the seam, thus more perfect piecing. Press each seam line as you go and then press each seam in the direction it should go in the whole piecing. Measure ea.block as you complete it and if it isn't the size it should be, get it right before you continue any further with another block.

  24. #24
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    Since you already have the blocks made and discovered some smaller than others, this is what I would recommend. What ever you do, don't cut the larger ones to fit the smaller ones. Depending on how much smaller the small ones are, you could: Make a tiny border around it to bring up to size, or you could stagger the blocks and just put the border on just two sides of the smaller block.l Remember this: There is no one in this world that is perfect, especially a new quilter. I have quilted for years and still come up with errors. Someone a long time ago said, "There is always a mistake in every quilt." I've found that to be true, but usually the viewer can't find it. So, don't dispare, there are many of us with you. Keep on stitchin' it will get better.

    Quote Originally Posted by barbrose
    hi everyone new to quilting still learning i am making a quilt; but when i go to put my blocks together they end up being smaller or some larger than others i pressed i starched but i need help what am i doing wrong? please help

  25. #25
    Junior Member ga447's Avatar
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    I am new to quilting also, I just realized that the charm squares I was cutting will not equal to 10 1/2 in squares, da so I will probably have to add a sash or just chain all the square together. Luckily I am not following a pattern, I just learned to do the "Ohio Star"and I had to frog at least six of the squares till I got it right. Don't give up we are newbies but I know in the future we will get this.

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