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Thread: blocks not the same size, what to do?

  1. #26
    Senior Member Pat M.'s Avatar
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    Have you tested your machine to see if where your needle is to make a 1/4" seam? Just because you think the edge of the foot is 1/4" could be wrong. Get a ruler and measure from the needle to the edge of the foot. Lower the needle to the ruler and look at the line it lands on. Adjust your needle to make 1/4" from there. It take practice to sew 1/4". Good Luck.

  2. #27
    Super Member Edie's Avatar
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    I do 12" blocks all the time and I have yet to hear of a 12-1/2" finished block. Mine are always 12-1/2" unfinished and 12" finished. That being the case, that may be why your blocks aren't right! Check that one out. It may be it should be 12-1/2" unfinished, 1/4" off for seams, you have a 12" block.

    Edie
    Home is where the rags of your life are turned into quilts, lemons become lemonade and a few extra pounds are simply welcomed as "more of you to love."
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  3. #28
    Senior Member qwkslver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mommabear62 View Post
    No the pattern is not online. I joined a quilting guild (neighbor convinced me to join) and one of the ladies is designing the blocks herself. I really think I have gotten in over my head. I keep thinking things will get easier as I proceed but I continue to rip out and resew as nothing ever seems to work out. Maybe quilting is not for me.
    It's for you. If you have the interest you can do it. I can't tell you how many failures I have turned into dog blankets. They're so forgiving. They never say "Mommy, your block is crooked." The kids will walk by and look and say why did you give that to the dog? When I make all my blocks I measure and see if I need to shave a bit here and there. A lot of it will "ease in" once you sew the sashing on. Don't be too hard on yourself. the only person who might see your booboos is another quilter. None of those around here so I'm in good shape. Bless you. Don't give up.

  4. #29
    Super Member MaryKatherine's Avatar
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    Been there.
    I would just wait until you've done them all then cut them to match the smallest.
    Another alternative would be to sash them.
    MaryKatherine
    marykayhopkins123.blogspot.com

  5. #30
    Super Member Amythyst02's Avatar
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    Oh, don't give up, my first quilt I cut completely wrong, and honestly there was no way to save it, well that I know of anyway, but I did set it aside and started another. It came out really great. Not perfect, but alot better than my first try. I think as new quilters sometimes we bite off more than we can handle! I found a nice simple pattern, that was pretty mistake proof for my 2nd attempt. I can move on to those fancier things as I get the concepts better understood. Best of luck and I hope all the blocks end up working out for you.
    Amythyst

  6. #31
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mommabear62 View Post
    Thanks so much ladies for the advice. I sure hope things start to work out better. Gets very frustrating.
    More than 30 years ago I tried to do a Bear Paw block because that's what my husband liked. This was before the days of specialty tools: rulers, rotary cutters, cutting mats. Well, I haven't tried one again. Go to a simple pattern you like and try that. P.S. Some guilds get ridiculous with what they expect. Just sayin' it may not be the quilting that's not for you, but that particular guild.
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

  7. #32
    Senior Member Shrink42020's Avatar
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    I have been quilting about 18 months. Initially I would become very frustrated when I had to redo something that I had pieced and would find that I became anxious and did not enjoy what I was doing! After a few talks with myself, I decided to make the seam ripper my friend! Now, if I need to remove a seam or something I find that I am more exacting and do a better job, consequently less rippin out as well - It is amazing how you can turn a negative into something positive. Just don't be so hard on yourself, rather, note the improvements that you make as you go along!!
    Sondra

  8. #33
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    When I have blocks that aren't the same size and they are going to have sashings I cut the sashing fabric 1/2" larger. Say you want your sashing to be 2 inches. Cut the strips 2/12 inches then after they are all sewn cut the sashing to the same size. This happens to me a lot and I have never had a problem with this method.
    Texas raised, Texas Proud

  9. #34
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    I hate when that happens!
    If a woman's work is never done....why start?

  10. #35
    Member bonnielass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mommabear62 View Post
    No the pattern is not online. I joined a quilting guild (neighbor convinced me to join) and one of the ladies is designing the blocks herself. I really think I have gotten in over my head. I keep thinking things will get easier as I proceed but I continue to rip out and resew as nothing ever seems to work out. Maybe quilting is not for me.
    Don't quit. I have torn apart many blocks and when I got finished with the quilt I was happy with the work. Just use the suggestions given, to fit the quilt. Quilting is not perfect, and you may have some boo-boos but if you don't tell anyone they will assume you meant it that way.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter View Post
    You may be able to "block" the block by using starch and a steam iron. I have pressed some blocks into submission and pinned them to the correct size on the ironing board. Not sure what the fudge factor is though. Sometimes the only option is a do-over. Like the other comment said: Wait until all of your blocks are finished. By then you will have gotten more experience too and it may be clearer why the block is off.
    A Youtube tutorial says the fudge factor is 1/8". I've just finished 20 blocks for a red and white sampler quilt and when measuring and squaring up, I realized I had some problems, too. Two had points with not enough seam allowance so I replaced a square on one and completely remade the other. When I discovered most of my blocks were 12 1/4, I trimmed the others down to get in that ball park. I'd never thought or heard of adding a tiny amount but it's something I'll keep in mind.

  12. #37
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    Sharon Craig did a lecture at our quilt guild and introduced me to coping strips. See if your library has a copy of her setting solutions book. Basically, when she is gifted a bunch of blocks made by various quilters and they are different sizes, she "floats" the blocks by adding coping strips to all the blocks. These coping strips then become part of her design and it is no longer noticeable that the blocks are slightly different sizes. I tried to post a pic of one I did this way but guess the file was too large. Guess I will have to figure out how to post pics.

  13. #38
    Super Member Pollytink's Avatar
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    Unhappy blocks not the same size, what to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by mommabear62 View Post
    I am doing a block of the month club. Blocks of course are to be 12 1/2 finished. I am on the fourth block and just finished it. Cut everything correct but there are so many seams in this block that obviously my 1/4 seams are off. My block is measuring 12 inches or close to 12 1/8 to 12 1/4. I really do not want to make a new block, this was a difficult one. Is this going to work out OK in the end? I am a novice quilter and need your advice. Thanks everyone.
    Oh Boy! Do I know how you feel!! I was trying to take part in a block swap on one of my sm lists and it was a Disappearing 9 patch block, using Civil War repros. And it HAD to be the right size because it would be put together with other people's blocks. Try as I could I could NOT get it right....it would end up 1/4" or more off. I finally gave up but I loved the block I'd made so kept it and decided I'd just make enough blocks for my own little quilt! I also got a couple of things online that are supposed to help make SCANT 1/4" seams.....but haven't tried them yet. That was the last swap I tried on that list. I'd done other swaps earlier but they were simpler blocks and didn't have so many seams.

  14. #39
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Most times the block cannot be trimmed a smaller size because points will be cut off and if a border or sashing is sewn on, even a coping strip, there is not enough seam allowance to keep the points. This is what frustrates me. If you have points on the edges of the unfinshed block, there has to be a seam allowance to allow the points to stay sharp. I have taken blocks apart in the middle and adjusted the size that way.

    Forgot to say many times when a block has lots of pieces I will sew using a 1/8 seam allowance on every other seam. It works for me to have the fudge room.
    Last edited by BellaBoo; 07-16-2012 at 10:18 AM.
    Got fabric?

  15. #40
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    If necessary, until you gain more experience, draw the 1/4" seam line on each piece. Tedious, I know, but when I was a rank beginner, I could not eyeball the seam allowance and 1/4" piecing feet were not available. Also, are you hand piecing these blocks, or are you machine piecing? Pin every little interval to keep those pieces in order and starch if you have to. Use a little piece of fabric to start sewing on (Fons and Porter) and then slide your seam underneath. This helps to guide the small pieces smoothly under the needle and don't forget to use a skewer or pointed tool to guide the pieces under the needle.

  16. #41
    Junior Member SandyQuilter's Avatar
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    In that case, talk to someone in the group who is experienced and ask her to verify that the blocks are really accurate. It happens more than you think. Quilt patterns in books and newspapers used to be horribly inaccurate. The easiest way to see if any block is accurate is to redraft it on at least 4 to the inch graph paper. Another tip is to NOT watch the needle while it goes up and down. Watch where the fabric goes under the presser foot at a 1/4 inch mark. You can use a small stack of Post-It Notes or a permanent marker as a guide. Measure from the center of the needle out a 1/4 inch. That's where the cut edge of the fabric should be when it goes under the presser foot. And keep your at least two fingers on your left hand together and hold the left side of the fabric as it moves through the presser foot.
    Good luck, we've all been there. It takes time to be accurate, so don't give up.
    SandyQuilter

  17. #42
    Super Member MacThayer's Avatar
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    I don't know any new quilter who didn't spend as much time with her seam ripper as she did with her sewing machine. I'm new, and I'm doing a "Block of the month" and my blocks are supposed to be 12 1/2", and they are averaging between 12 1/4" and 12 3/4", and I'm doing a lot of whining. My Darling Hubby Unit listens patiently, and then quietly notes that my "points" are lining up, my blocks are meeting up correctly, and in fact, my blocks look pretty darn good! So I have a problem with seams. I am not perfect -- yet! I whined to the Quilting Board. They were more sympathetic.

    Try getting some graph paper, putting it under your needle, and then moving it so your needle comes down just to the RIGHT of the 1/4" mark. Then use blue painter's tape, or border guards, or whatever you need to mark that "scant 1/4" border" so you are guiding your fabric to exactly the right place under the needle. I was trying to use a 1/4" foot, and it wasn't working. I was too focused on what was happening right at the foot, and not paying attention to how I was feeding the fabric into the needle. And I really needed that "scant" 1/4". My next two blocks came out at 12 1/2", right on. Not perfect blocks, but gee, I was happier.

    Becoming a quilter is hard work, or so I've discovered. But there is nothing else in the world that compares with the joy, the creativity, the sheer pleasure in this work. Am I addicted? You bet!

    Don't give up! You'll get it!
    MacThayer

  18. #43
    Super Member KathyKat's Avatar
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    Keep going! You are not in over your head and once you finish you will be so happy and excited that you'll want to start another quilt immediately. Remember, while you are ripping out seams you are also learning. It took me over a year to get my 1/4" seams even close.
    Kathleen, a lass with a bit of the Irish in her blood and a whole lot of Irish in her heart

  19. #44
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    I am on my very first quilt ever and I am doing it all by hand. I am just starting out in easy 4" squares. I do two of each for a total of 24 squares. Then I connect all of those squares. Now I am connecting the rows of 24 squares and doing 12 rows at a time. I am finding that a few of mine are not exact and I can pull just a little to get the seams to line up. One square I did need to cut down and re do it, plus I put one square on backwards! I am just going to keep going because some of them are not off by that far. I am trying to secure the corners as I go, so there is no spacing in each corner.
    What kind of design are you doing?

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by mommabear62 View Post
    No the pattern is not online. I joined a quilting guild (neighbor convinced me to join) and one of the ladies is designing the blocks herself. I really think I have gotten in over my head. I keep thinking things will get easier as I proceed but I continue to rip out and resew as nothing ever seems to work out. Maybe quilting is not for me.
    Don't quit! If it gets to be too much, put this aside and try something simpler to help you feel better. You do not have to stay in this quilting club or you can opt out of the project. But continue to explore quilting. Go to a quilt shop an talk to the gals there about doing a simple quilt that you can enjoy. Tae a class or do whatever you want!

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