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Thread: Do your quilt blocks differ in size?

  1. #1
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    I have made quilts for my kids but used big pieces. I am now trying some with smaller pieces and the squares aren't the same size when I am done. It is a small difference like 1/8 inch but If I trim them all to the smallest, the block will be cut off a little. I hope this makes sense. Has anyone else had this happen and how did you deal with it if you have.
    Lynda

  2. #2
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    Oh Yes. I find the problem is in the cutting or not consistent seams. Sometimes you can force the seams to match, sometimes I take out the problem seem and redo it and sometimes I live with it and try to do better. I feel it is part of the learning process.:)

  3. #3
    Super Member LeslieFrost's Avatar
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    Oh, yes, many times!

    Can you make them a little oversize, then cut them all down?

  4. #4
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    I am not sure what to do. Maybe it won't make a difference. The last one I did had very small pieces and I found the pattern was wrong and I redid it and the squares are very close but still not exact. I will try to upload a picture of the squares. Haven't done that before.
    Lynda
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  5. #5
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    Yes, it happens to me too. I tend to make over size blocks as much as possible so I have some wiggle room.

    It's either inaccurate 1/4" seams and/or a smidgen off on cutting

  6. #6
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    The seams match pretty well. I had to ease some. It is the finished square that is a little large
    Lynda

  7. #7
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    If you look at the block on the right, the points go to the edge, but on the left block, they don't quite go to the edge. Could that be your 1/8 of an inch difference? I'm talking down the center line - does this make sense? It's very hard to get the exact seam just right. I know sometimes I have trouble with it.

  8. #8
    Marion T's Avatar
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    Happens all the time. With minor differences - I resew if slightly larger. Slightly smaller blocks can be dampened, and either pinned out on a board to dry or ironed or both - make that stretch work for you! I use a piece of paper the size I want the block to be, and pin and iron to that.

  9. #9
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    Yep that is my 1/8 inch difference. I know it is hard to get everything exact but I want them to be anyway. I will try it the way it is. And maybe as I make more blocks they will work out. I am going to use a sashing and maybe the problem won't be so noticable.
    Lynda
    PS not a great speller they need a spell checker here.:-)

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfkitty
    If you look at the block on the right, the points go to the edge, but on the left block, they don't quite go to the edge. Could that be your 1/8 of an inch difference? I'm talking down the center line - does this make sense? It's very hard to get the exact seam just right. I know sometimes I have trouble with it.

  10. #10
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    I draw the correct sized square on cardboard, spray the block with starch (nice and wet) stretch it and pin to the cardboard (good idea to pin though multiple layers like through a seam allowance). Then just let it dry overnight.

    I think it was a tutorial from Sharon Shamber (sp?). Seems to hold the size well.

  11. #11
    Member melissa Dove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsie
    I draw the correct sized square on cardboard, spray the block with starch (nice and wet) stretch it and pin to the cardboard (good idea to pin though multiple layers like through a seam allowance). Then just let it dry overnight.

    I think it was a tutorial from Sharon Shamber (sp?). Seems to hold the size well.
    How much will the block stretch ?( and what kind of spray starch do you use), the stuff in england seems sticky I don't think it will make the block damp.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by lwbuchholz
    Yep that is my 1/8 inch difference. I know it is hard to get everything exact but I want them to be anyway. I will try it the way it is. And maybe as I make more blocks they will work out. I am going to use a sashing and maybe the problem won't be so noticable.
    Lynda
    PS not a great speller they need a spell checker here.:-)
    Let's deal with the spell checker first. You need to turn on that option in your browser. It's not a function of the board.

    I use Firefox. From the menu to:
    >Tools >Options >Advanced> General
    Check the "Check my spelling as I type" box.
    Probably have close the browser and start it up again.
    Now, each time you misspell a word, it should be underlined in red.
    Easy.

    I haven't used Explorer in years, so I have no idea on the process. Probably similar. There is, however, an IE add-on http://www.iespell.com/ so you can choose that option if you want.


    Now on to your other problem:

    If your blocks are not coming out to be the same/right size (and you want them to be - I'm not trying to be the quilt police here), it can be one or all or a combo of three things.
    Cutting, Sewing or Pressing.

    If any of those are off, it will result in your final units/blocks not being the correct size, which can result in lost points when sewing blocks together, among other mishaps.
    And the smaller the block, and/or the more pieces it has, the more the evident the problem will be.

    Rather than reprinting what I've written in a previous post ;-),
    here's the link (which has another link in it). The OPs on those threads had the same problem you did and my advise was the same:
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-113150-1.htm#2936996

    Bottom line, if you want to perfect the technique, you have to learn the steps.
    Sally Collins is the queen of precision. Here's the link to her book ($under 10 incl shipping used - a fabulous deal),

    http://www.amazon.com/Art-Machine-Pi...2758662&sr=8-1

    and Sally's segment on Simply Quilts (which I hope you can see if you're in the US).
    http://www.hgtv.com/video/the-art-of...deo/index.html

  13. #13
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by melissa Dove
    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsie
    I draw the correct sized square on cardboard, spray the block with starch (nice and wet) stretch it and pin to the cardboard (good idea to pin though multiple layers like through a seam allowance). Then just let it dry overnight.

    I think it was a tutorial from Sharon Shamber (sp?). Seems to hold the size well.
    How much will the block stretch ?( and what kind of spray starch do you use), the stuff in england seems sticky I don't think it will make the block damp.
    I just use a diluted ( 1 cup water, 1 cup starch) cheap starch like Sta-Flo liquid and just spritz it on. Works well for me up to about 1/4".

  14. #14
    Super Member Judith1005's Avatar
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    oh yes, i am notorious for being off. no matter how careful i try to be when i cut the fabric i am always a bit off. i actually try to cut them a bit bigger just in case i have to square up. good luck. :-)

  15. #15
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    I had a neighbor and friend who was in her 80's or 90's when I was a kid. She was a beautiful quilter. She had an expression that I still use today... If she had a slight imperfection she would say, "Oh well, a blind man on a galloping horse won't even notice it!"
    I love when my stuff comes out perfect but sometimes it just doesn't. I use the oversize method and the one mentioned using the spray starch, but sometimes I just gotta do the frog stitch... Rip it, rip it, rip it! But,if occasionally a star point gets the tip cut off I refuse to worry about it. Most times "it will quilt out," and my quilting is my stress buster and my fun.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Jan
    I had a neighbor and friend who was in her 80's or 90's when I was a kid. She was a beautiful quilter. She had an expression that I still use today... If she had a slight imperfection she would say, "Oh well, a blind man on a galloping horse won't even notice it!"
    I love when my stuff comes out perfect but sometimes it just doesn't. I use the oversize method and the one mentioned using the spray starch, but sometimes I just gotta do the frog stitch... Rip it, rip it, rip it! But,if occasionally a star point gets the tip cut off I refuse to worry about it. Most times "it will quilt out," and my quilting is my stress buster and my fun.
    JustJan, you will fit right in here. We use those sayings, too! And quilting helps a lot of us relieve stress. (Of course for others, it may cause some stress - LOL!)

  17. #17
    Senior Member sammygirlqt's Avatar
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    This delema haunted me when I first started quilting and still does on a bad quilting day. My problem was in my cutting. I was holding my ruler too tight on the edge of the fabric and then when I let a tiny bit of the edge show, my blocks were a better size. Another thing a friend taught me was to square up as you go. First it might be a HST, next into a 4 patch and so on. Square the block at each step and the end results are very good, often with no squaring up needed. Good pressing also helps, set the seams before pressing to one side and then press again. I don't believe in this scant 1/4" seam and I believe using the above suggestions will solve the problem.

    I know you will find your own little thing that is throwing your size off.

  18. #18
    Super Member kiffie2413's Avatar
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    I sometimes will take the seams out on the smaller block and resew with like 1/8 inch seam...and, my quilting guild sisters would hate me saying this...but, I have been known to spray and stretch, and press with iron...finally when all else fails, and my type A takes over, I redo the whole thing! :shock: When I am making half square triangles, I have gotten to where I cut the square bigger, and trim the hst down, otherwise mine never do come out the right size, square, and with points intact...good luck to you!

  19. #19
    Senior Member sandilee's Avatar
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    Relieved to hear that I am not the Lone Ranger here!

    I am having this problem with the quilt I am working on now.
    Its a 4 patch and I think I didn't "center" the 4 patch with the focus fabric when I trimmed it and my blocks were off and the 4 patch squares are not even.

    Live and learn!

  20. #20
    Super Member vivoaks's Avatar
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    Oh yes! Been there, still do that! Make sure your cutting is as accurate as possible. Then take a small pile of post-it notes, and line it up so when you sew, you get a SCANT quarter of an inch. If you do a perfect 1/4" seam, the block will be too small. Try for 1 thread-width smaller than 1/4" on each seam. The more pieces in the block, the easier it is to screw it up! Ask me how I know??? :oops:

  21. #21
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    As you get more experienced in both cutting and sewing your pieces, your blocks will become more uniform. Meanwhile, how about putting a 1-1.5" frame around each block and then cutting them all the same size? You can then use sashing between the blocks, too, if you wish.

  22. #22
    Super Member Weenween's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lwbuchholz
    I have made quilts for my kids but used big pieces. I am now trying some with smaller pieces and the squares aren't the same size when I am done. It is a small difference like 1/8 inch but If I trim them all to the smallest, the block will be cut off a little. I hope this makes sense. Has anyone else had this happen and how did you deal with it if you have.
    Lynda
    Mine always were off using1/4 seam allowance then i started using 3/8 seam allowance don't ask me how it makes a difference but honestly it did.

  23. #23
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    I found it helps to check the size of each sewn piece. For example, I would check the size and square up each HST before I added it to the next piece. For me most of the time my squares are off if my seams are off. My 1/4 foot has helped tremendously. My seams are always consistent.

  24. #24
    Junior Member onthelake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Jan
    I had a neighbor and friend who was in her 80's or 90's when I was a kid. She was a beautiful quilter. She had an expression that I still use today... If she had a slight imperfection she would say, "Oh well, a blind man on a galloping horse won't even notice it!"
    I love when my stuff comes out perfect but sometimes it just doesn't. I use the oversize method and the one mentioned using the spray starch, but sometimes I just gotta do the frog stitch... Rip it, rip it, rip it! But,if occasionally a star point gets the tip cut off I refuse to worry about it. Most times "it will quilt out," and my quilting is my stress buster and my fun.
    Jan, I love your reference to the frog stitch...I'm an expert at it! You have just given me courage to start adding the sashing to the 20 blocks of my first quilt. I KNOW they're not all exactly the same size. I've remade one block and will try the starch and stretch on the others. Today, I cut the sashing.

    :)

  25. #25
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    If I square as I go, my block is way too small. I guess if I did it consistantly they'd all be the same size...hmmmmm..a thought to keep in mind.

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