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Thread: Getting discouraged

  1. #1
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    Getting discouraged

    No matter how hard I try I can't seem to line up my seams when hand piecing my squares. I'm getting really discouraged with this. I was using pins through the seams but it didn't seem to matter, any tips for hand piecing?

  2. #2
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    I don't hand sew, but search the board for glue basting. I bet it would work well for you. But again, I don't sew by hand.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Try not to pin right on the sewing line, Meldmac. I put the pin through the sewing line so everything is positioned right, pinch the pieces together and pull the pin out and re-pin by putting the pin above and below the seam line. That way I don't accidentally move the pieces while I pin. And you know, if I'm off by a little bit, who cares?!

    Janet

  4. #4
    Senior Member craftygal63's Avatar
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    Scrapbooking glue sticks and elmer glue sticks work well and are water soluable

  5. #5
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    My only reservation about using glue for hand piecing is that if it hardens, you will need a jackhammer to get the needle through the fabric.

    Janet

  6. #6
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    First of all, more pins! I pin every two inches or so when hand piecing.

    Next, try sticking all of your pins in horizontally before securing them vertically. That may help you keep everything lined up.

    Also, lay the hand holding the fabric on the arm of the sofa or something to keep it stationary while you sew. This should reduce any strain you might be putting on the fabric that's making it lose its shape.

    Finally, wash the quilt when you're done and you'll never, ever see anywhere those seams aren't perfect.

  7. #7
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hinterland View Post
    My only reservation about using glue for hand piecing is that if it hardens, you will need a jackhammer to get the needle through the fabric.

    Janet
    Not true. Now if you put a blob or glob of glue, yes it will harden beyond imagination but you should only be using a dab of glue. I use glue for basting and I hand quilt. Only once had an issue, then I quickly learned to smooth out ALL blobs.
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
    Done is better than perfect.

  8. #8
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    Elmer's school glue works great and is washable. I used it recently to match up open seams and it worked beautifully.

  9. #9
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    I'm guessing you're speaking of matching seams when sewing 2 blocks together? I would pin for hand piecing the same way I pin for machine piecing...I put a pin straight down top to bottom through the seam on the top piece, then take the bottom piece and place that pin through that seam. With that pin still vertical, I place a pin as closely as possible on both sides horizontally through both pieces of fabric and then remove the vertical pin. I do this at each intersection. I also pin with the head of the pin on the outside edge of the fabric. You could then hand sew with the edge of the fabric towards you to reduce pin sticks. Hope this helps.

  10. #10
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    You could try an Elmer's Gluestick if you want to glue baste...they work really well and are pliable enough after they dry that pushing a needle through wouldn't be an issue.

    Do you have your heart set on hand piecing? Or are you hand piecing because you think it will be easier than machine piecing? If you really WANT to hand piece, try finer pins...sometimes the big thick pins they try to pass off as "quilter's pins" at big box stores will shift your seams. You can find extra fine quilting pins from Nancy's Notions or another specialty catalog like that.

    I personally think that machine piecing is easier...if you're trying to perfect your hand quilting skills I totally get it...but if you're thinking that hand piecing will be easier to start with I totally am from the school of thought that thinks it's easier to quilt on a machine to avoid what you're going through right now. Just my two cents!!

    Good luck, I hope you find something that works for you!!
    Valerie Smith - pumpkinpatchquilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pumpkinpatchquilter View Post
    You could try an Elmer's Gluestick if you want to glue baste...they work really well and are pliable enough after they dry that pushing a needle through wouldn't be an issue.

    Do you have your heart set on hand piecing? Or are you hand piecing because you think it will be easier than machine piecing? If you really WANT to hand piece, try finer pins...sometimes the big thick pins they try to pass off as "quilter's pins" at big box stores will shift your seams. You can find extra fine quilting pins from Nancy's Notions or another specialty catalog like that.

    I personally think that machine piecing is easier...if you're trying to perfect your hand quilting skills I totally get it...but if you're thinking that hand piecing will be easier to start with I totally am from the school of thought that thinks it's easier to quilt on a machine to avoid what you're going through right now. Just my two cents!!

    Good luck, I hope you find something that works for you!!
    I would gladly piece on a machine but I don't have one and really can't afford one. Not only that but we live in a 2 bedroom apartment and don't have the room to set one up. I really want to get one but we are trying to downsize first.

    To answer some other questions it's not matching the seams on 2 pieces but at the intersections I'm having problems with.

  12. #12
    Power Poster gabeway's Avatar
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    I agree with pinning every two inches. It works well.
    Wayne & Gabriele, the married quilters.

  13. #13
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meldmac View Post
    I would gladly piece on a machine but I don't have one and really can't afford one. Not only that but we live in a 2 bedroom apartment and don't have the room to set one up. I really want to get one but we are trying to downsize first.

    To answer some other questions it's not matching the seams on 2pieces but at the intersections I'm having problems with.
    When you're ready, look on Craigslist for an inexpensive machine. You dont need anything fancy for piecing.

    I prefer hand piecing, myself.

  14. #14
    Super Member noveltyjunkie's Avatar
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    What she said! Pin perpendicular to the sewing line, not parallel to it.
    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    I'm guessing you're speaking of matching seams when sewing 2 blocks together? I would pin for hand piecing the same way I pin for machine piecing...I put a pin straight down top to bottom through the seam on the top piece, then take the bottom piece and place that pin through that seam. With that pin still vertical, I place a pin as closely as possible on both sides horizontally through both pieces of fabric and then remove the vertical pin. I do this at each intersection. I also pin with the head of the pin on the outside edge of the fabric. You could then hand sew with the edge of the fabric towards you to reduce pin sticks. Hope this helps.

  15. #15
    Super Member karenpatrick's Avatar
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    Have you tried the new 2-prong pins that are meant to straddle the seam? They work really well except I think that they could be a little more sturdy. I really like them.

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    I've been reading all the posts, and I thought I'd share some information I obtained fom customers when I worked in a fabric store. They used "Washaway Wonder Tape". It apparently disappears in the first washing. Just a thought. Another idea I have is to use the Heat and bond hem adhesive.

  17. #17
    Suz
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    Hand piecing problems

    My very first quilting course was handpiecing. We were taught to mark the 1/4" stitching line. We marked dots at corners where intersections would appear. For longer lengths, we did use pins every 3 or so inches. We were taught to check the back side to assure we were stitching on the 1/4" line.

    The stitches and seams were not pressed like we do when machine piecing. Stitch to where two seams meet at an intersection, stopping at the dots, taking one stitch. Hold the fabric with the left hand fingers and thumb allowing both seams to stand up straight - one up and one down. Take a second stitch on the right of the seam at the dots making sure all four dots are "kissing". Carefully stitch through the intersection coming up on the opposite side of the intersection. The seams are still standing straight up. Take a second stitch on this left of these seams and continue to the end. ALL of the seams will stand until you press the entire block.

    Hope this is clear. Ask for clarification, if not.

  18. #18
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    I would suggest a glue stick. I use Elmer's liquid school glue when basting a quilt and putting on the binding, but the glue sticks work well to keep your seams aligned.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Quercus Rubra's Avatar
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    I do alot of hand piecing and I have added an extra step to my stitiching just for this same issue. What I do is I cut my pieces out per directions, then I go to "my" next step.

    I draw a stitch line by measuring an 1/4" from the cut edge using a nice sharp white crayola pencil (for dark colors) or mechanial (?) pencil (for the light fabrics) on each side of each piece. And since I've started doing this things line up for me regardless if it's a big block or a 2" square for my doll/mini quilts.

    I also always use the same ruler and needles for the whole project. Since then I started that, all my seams match up so I have less frustration and found it so worth the extra step.

    Hope you might consider adding this in your hand quilting project.

    Tricia
    http://tricia-ramblingsofaquilter.blogspot.com/
    Currently working on a "Flat Curtis" Quilt with boy child .

  20. #20
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Are you pressing your seams open or to one side? I found that pressing the seams to one side, then nesting them, makes it easy to get the seams to line up.

  21. #21
    Super Member starshine's Avatar
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    The posts by Suz and Peckish sound like the way I learned to hand piece.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Delilah's Avatar
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    I saw Jinny Beyer on Simply Quilts a LOOONG time ago demonstrate hand piecing. Here is the initial link.
    http://www.hgtv.com/video/quilting-b...deo/index.html
    Here is the second link, where she shows how to match up her points. Interesting that she does not sew through the seams pressed to one side or the other showing how different hand piecing is from machine.
    http://www.hgtv.com/video/quilting-b...deo/index.html
    And, finally, her third video. And all without glue.
    http://www.hgtv.com/video/quilting-b...deo/index.html
    BTW, I do NOT hand piece but if I did I would employ her methods. The up-side of hand piecing is that you can take it anywhere, do it watching TV when the machine is in another room, or work on a quilt at a family picnic. It does have its' advantages over machine piecing.
    OCD in the OC

  23. #23
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    Does anyone know if the Elmer's glue for keeping the seams together will do damage to your sewing machine if you glue a bunch of seams? Was just wondering, know this is a new technique and it works, but was wondering if the inside of my machine will have all the slivers of glue all over it like my fingers and what it might do.

  24. #24
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    I agree with trying the glue basting method. There was a thread on here just last week with many positive things to say about this method. I'm sure you could find it by doing a search for glue basting. Good luck.


    Linda

    Sew little time and sew many ideas

  25. #25
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I pin before and sfter the seam. If you pin in the seam, the pin makes a space and will not be matched. I only sew by machine.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

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