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Thread: Lining up seams in quilt-help needed!

  1. #1
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    I have a quilt that I am making where there is a strip of fabric, then a square, then another strip of fabric, then a square.



    Well I need to line up the squares just right, but then when I do there is too much "strip" between the squares. Some of the strips seem to be just a little too long, but then some seem to be quite a bit too long.



    How do I find out where I went wrong with my piecing?

    It's the little blue squares on the quilt that I'm having issues with. I get those lined up and then the fabric strips to the sides are too long between the squares.
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  2. #2
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    Probably your seams aren't all perfect. BTDT (and still do). You can adjust some seams to try to get it to fit. Sashing seams (the strips) are fairly easy to adjust-just sew the seam a tiny bit smaller or take them out and sew a bit bigger, depending on how you need it. I wouldn't even attempt to adjust seams in a pieced block unless it's a simple one like a 4 patch or 9 patch.

  3. #3
    Senior Member pam1966's Avatar
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    Well, you would need to start at the beginning- did you cut all your fabric pieces the right size? Is your seam allowance the same on all seams? It should be 1/4". You might need to get a seam ripping session going and start again.

  4. #4
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    Just saw the picture. That is a neat pattern! There is a lot of matching up to do though, so it's one where your seams need to be spot-on. By too long, do you mean too wide? If they're too long you can trim them...

  5. #5
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    Pretty sure I cut all my fabric pieces the right size. Seam allowance should be the same, I line my fabric up with the end of my foot

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by gale
    Just saw the picture. That is a neat pattern! There is a lot of matching up to do though, so it's one where your seams need to be spot-on. By too long, do you mean too wide? If they're too long you can trim them...
    Yeah I guess too wide. I'm just not sure how I'd know how much I need to cut in order to get them to line up just right!

  7. #7
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    With a pattern like that seam allowances "the same" isn't good enough. They have to be a scant 1/4". In other words, the seam has to be just so that the seam allowance and the thread line is 1/4" plus accounting for the fold from pressing. It's too late now but before your next project, you can do a test to determine if your seam allowance is correct. Sew 3 1.5" strips together, press as usual, and make sure the center is exactly 1". If not, keep adjusting your needle position until it's exactly 1".

    Also, all feet are not necessarily going to give a 1/4" seam allowance. I have a patchwork foot that is supposed to be a perfect 1/4" but I had to adjust my needle position a bunch to get it just right.

  8. #8
    Power Poster dkabasketlady's Avatar
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    This is going to be a very Beautiful quilt when you get all the kinks worked out on it!

  9. #9
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    I think either your log cabin blocks are not all the same size or your sashing strips are not cut accurately. Remeasure everything. Then start frogging if necessary :-) Looks like it's going to be a great, beautiful quilt when you're done! :thumbup:

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by virtualbernie
    I think either your log cabin blocks are not all the same size or your sashing strips are not cut accurately. Remeasure everything. Then start frogging if necessary :-)
    No frogging! Please!!! LOL

    If I did screw up on the cutting or something, I don't exactly have enough fabric to recut the stuff.

  11. #11
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Your seams are likely a little too wide. That makes your blocks short for the length of the sashing strips. I would measure your blocks and adjust the cut-length of the sashing strips to match the unfinished length of the blocks.

    Actually, if you have already sewed the sashing strips to the squares, all you have to do is remove one seam (say, on the left side of each square) and re-sew to make the sashing length match the blocks. I would re-sew first and make sure everything is accurate before trimming the extra sashing from the seam.

    I am assuming that you have assembled the quilt in rows, with the blocks in one row and the sashing strips in a separate row.

    Hope this is clearer than mud!

  12. #12
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    I just looked at my machine to see about changing where my needle is and the only way I can do it is if I do a different stitch entirely.

  13. #13
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    There should be a stitch width setting that allows to do a narrower or wider zig zag. If you change that when your machine is set to a straight stitch, it should move your needle one way or the other.

    If you can't or don't want to move your needle position, you can use a stack of post it notes as a guide for the correct seam allowance.

  14. #14
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ammorgan
    I just looked at my machine to see about changing where my needle is and the only way I can do it is if I do a different stitch entirely.
    The other option is to move your fabric. Instead of using the edge of the foot as your seam guide, perhaps mark a line inside the edge of your foot to use.

    What I do is cut moleskin strips (moleskin is in the foot care area of pharmacies), which have an adhesive backing, to the bed of the machine and butt my seams up against it.

  15. #15
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board from Southern California!!!
    Looks like your're getting lots of great help already!!
    Looking forward to your posting the quilt when you have it together! It's going to be beautiful!

  16. #16
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    My machine is a Brother LS 2125i. I'm looking at the manual online and not seeing a way to fine tune the needle. There is apparently an option to do different stitch lengths with the needle in the middle, or just one stitch length with the needle to the left. Now the lines on the needle plate, are they based on the needle being in the center position or left position?

    ETA-Looks like it's based on the center position. Not that they are labeled with numbers or anything!

  17. #17
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have a machine with set length and width for each stitch. At some point you will want to graduate up to a machine that has variable stitch length and variable stitch width, plus independently adjustable needle positions.

    In terms of working on the quilt you have posted, now is not the time to be changing your needle position and seam width. Until you finish this quilt, I would keep everything as you have been doing it. Just adjust the sashing strip lengths (shorten them to match your blocks) and you are good to go.

  18. #18
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ammorgan
    My machine is a Brother LS 2125i. I'm looking at the manual online and not seeing a way to fine tune the needle. There is apparently an option to do different stitch lengths with the needle in the middle, or just one stitch length with the needle to the left. Now the lines on the needle plate, are they based on the needle being in the center position or left position?
    More than likely it is based on the center position. I would take some sample squares and stitch 1/4 inch seams and measure to see what it is compared to what it should be. For example 3 pieces that are 2" in width. Stitch together and see if it measures 5" I always do this with my students when I teach beginning quilting, before we even stitch their first blocks.

  19. #19
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    In terms of working on the quilt you have posted, now is not the time to be changing your needle position and seam width. Until you finish this quilt, I would keep everything as you have been doing it. Just adjust the sashing strip lengths (shorten them to match your blocks) and you are good to go.
    I agree.

  20. #20
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by virtualbernie
    I think either your log cabin blocks are not all the same size :
    I think this might be the case as well. Do you measure each block as you go? This can also help with matching up those sashing cornerstones. If your blocks are of unequal dimensions this will make matching up the sashing to them near impossible. With blocks a tad to big you can sometimes ease them to fit your sashing but if the blocks are too small you can maybe stretch them by blocking another 1/8" or so. anything much more then that can cause problems for you.

  21. #21
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Did you square up your log cabin blocks to the same (or close to the same) size? If they are off, then you can't really plan the sashing strip.

    You can still do it by measuring each square and cutting the sashing strip to match. It is a pain in the butt do do that though.

  22. #22
    Super Member noveltyjunkie's Avatar
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    You chose an unforgiving pattern there! You have some excellent advice above. You can learn a lot from this experience. That's life!

  23. #23
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I encountered a similar problem with my first log cabin quilt. My seams were just enough off to make the sashing too long. I cut the sashing to fit the blocks rather than try to redo everything, which is what it would have required on mine. The finished size of the quilt did not come out the same as the pattern, but it looked OK so I'm not complaining.

  24. #24
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    I did as someone suggested of doing the 2" strips and my strip came out to be 4 3/4 in wide instead of 5" It also seemed like I got one measurement on my rotary mat, and another on the clear plastic ruler I have.

  25. #25
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    I am willing to bet that most of us have blocks that don't always match up, this is when we use the well known art of "easing"! If you have a section that is longer, always put the long side on the bottom. The feed dogs take in the bottom fabric slightly more than the top. I have been shocked how much of a difference that can make. It won't help if you are off an inch, but for lesser amounts, it works.

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