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Thread: Marrying the seams

  1. #1
    Junior Member Joan Rosemary's Avatar
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    Hi
    How many of you newbies are having the same problems as me.
    It doesn't seem to matter how many times I have tried I am still having problems lining up the seams uuuuuuuurgh.
    I have watched tutorials time and time again and I still muck it up. I am probably being to impatient, but boy it is driving me mad.
    Joan

  2. #2
    Super Member quiltmaker's Avatar
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    Are you pressing your fabrics to the dark side? If you do this and butt your two seams together (which would have each seam facing the opposite direction) & pin you should have no problem.

    I hope this is what you are asking.....also that you understand what I'm trying to say. Unfortunately for me, it would be so much easier to show you than explain in words. Hopefully someone with more teaching words could explain this better.

  3. #3
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    Another trick is to not take your pins out until they are almost under the pressure foot...really close to but not under the needle...the farther out you take the pins, the more the machine can offset the seams.

    I usually place my pins perpendicular to the seam I'm sewing so the heads are to the right, making them easier to pull out...when I'm concentrating on keeping my seams lined up, I often put a pin parallel to the new seam but to the left of the pressure foot so I don't have to take it out when sewing...it seems to help keep the butted/crossing seams together better. Make sense?

  4. #4
    Super Member leatheflea's Avatar
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    That gave me problems for awhile also. Better cutting help me tons. And putting a wall of tape on my sewing machine to make sure I had exactly 1/4 inch seam. heres a pic of a wall of tape. I think once you get the seams more accurate they will be easier for you to line up. And pressing your fabric towards the dark always. Pin those seams if you have to. The first couple of quilts I made when putting the blocks together they never matched up, in order to match them up I had puckers. Cutting and 1/4 took alot of the aggrevation away.

    Run a piece of paper through your machine with no thread then measure to make sure its at 1/4 in
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    layer 15-20 strips of tape, I use painters tape becasuse its not so sticky
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    Straighten the edge at the cutting board
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    I like to place mine right next to the presser foot then move my needle back and forth till I'm at a quarter inch.
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  5. #5
    Junior Member Joan Rosemary's Avatar
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    Thanks leatherflea
    That is so neat and very clear. I must say that I do pick up things better if I can see it.and Thanks quiltmaker and ktbb.

  6. #6
    Super Member sunflower126's Avatar
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    I found that many of my 1/4" woes went away when I purchased a 1/4" foot for my machine. It has a little lip on it that keeps you from making the seam larger. They arene't very expensive. The tape looks like a good way if $$$ is an issue.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joan Rosemary
    Hi
    How many of you newbies are having the same problems as me.
    It doesn't seem to matter how many times I have tried I am still having problems lining up the seams uuuuuuuurgh.
    I have watched tutorials time and time again and I still muck it up. I am probably being to impatient, but boy it is driving me mad.
    Joan
    Joan I had the same problem as I am new to piecing, I found if I put long pins in side ways on to the seam instead of following the seam, you can leave the pins in as the needle slides over it okay and the seams don't move. Cannot explain any clearer i am afraid.

  8. #8
    Super Member mirabelle's Avatar
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    Hi Joan
    Make sure that you are setting your seams, ok if you don't know what I mean.
    When you lay your unit of patchwork on your ironing board have the darkest side on top then press the stitches,(just sit your hot iron on it for a few seconds) this sets the seam, then carefull lift the top fabric and with the tip of your iron just gently press the seam allowance down. This makes your work sit flat

    I hope I have explained that clearly

  9. #9
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    They are probably moving as you sew. Try this: When you get them right where you want them, put the seams under the presserfoot and take 3-4 basting stitches (large). Then after sewing your seam pull the basting stitches out. Voila!!! Perfectly married seams!

  10. #10
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    Another thing you might try: place the butted seams where the one on top has the seam going away from you, this way the 2 seams will nestle better. If the top seam is facing you the machine tends to spread the butted area apart. Clear as mud?

  11. #11
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    And if above tips don't help, glue baste! On the ironing board, line up the seams and pin. When satisfied that they match, put a small drop of glue in the seam allowance where they match and touch the iron to the seam allowance for a few seconds to dry the glue. I use Elmer's washable school glue. When your quilt is done and washed, the glue is gone. If the seams are matched when glued, they aren't moving while stitching.

  12. #12
    Super Member mamaw's Avatar
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    I found it very helpful to pin each side of the seam after butting it together. I used to pin right up the seam and they would never come out perfect, now I rarely have to redo one.

  13. #13
    Super Member applique's Avatar
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    Too much pressure on the presser foot can also push the fabric around, especially with multiple seams.

  14. #14
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunflower126
    I found that many of my 1/4" woes went away when I purchased a 1/4" foot for my machine. It has a little lip on it that keeps you from making the seam larger. They arene't very expensive. The tape looks like a good way if $$$ is an issue.
    Here's a trick I've used for years to create perfect 1/4" seams and I sew strips together at warp speed using it!

    IF your machine's feed dogs are NOT wider than the regular presser foot you use ----

    1. Measure 1/4" to the right of needle strike (Use the stitched-paper method shown above).
    2. Line up the glued edge of a small Post-It note (I use the 1/5" x 2" size), sticky side down, parallel to the edge of your presser foot at that 1/4" seam mark. (Like the tape does in the idea above.)
    3. Use a fat rubber band from celery or broccoli stalks to wrap around your free-arm of the machine to hold the Post-IT in place. (I've found that the metal of any machine's throat plate will NOT allow the Post-IT to stick more than a few seconds.) This rubber band can usually be easily moved out of the way for refilling bobbins or making other than 1/4" seams.
    4. A long strip of Scotch tape will also hold down the Post-It if you don't have a rubber band.
    5. Align the edges of your strips/blocks with the edge of the Post-It and keep your eye on the front edge of it while piecing, instead of eyeballing the edge of the presser foot or the needle.

    It's like this.......When we "drive" our machines with our eyes on the needle or the edge of the presser foot, we are driving like a 90 year old lady who is looking just off the hood (front) of her car to steer...she's got to make lots of tiny adjustments to stay reasonably straight. Looking ahead down the highway makes for much easier driving corrections.

    Jan in VA

  15. #15
    Junior Member Joan Rosemary's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for all your help. I will give it a go again. I just had to walk away for a time as I lost heart.

  16. #16
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    I butt and pin my seams first and then work out to the edges, works great for men.

  17. #17
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    I think we all struggled with this when we started. My problem was sloppy prep work. (I don't iron my clothes - now I'm supposed to iron fabric? You gotta be kidding!) Then I realized that prep work (accurate cutting, careful pressing, even seam allowance, and careful AND planned out pressing throughout the process) MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD. Pay me now (time and effort but a good end result) or pay me later (ripping out and redoing or a sloppy end result).

    Don't give up on yourself. I think you are very smart for trying to identify WHERE your process goes wrong.

  18. #18
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    sunflower, where did you find the 1/4" foot with a lip? I have a plastic foot which has a 1/4" measure, but I think the lip would really be beneficial.

  19. #19
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janb
    sunflower, where did you find the 1/4" foot with a lip? I have a plastic foot which has a 1/4" measure, but I think the lip would really be beneficial.
    Janome makes (made) one originally, then other brands picked up on the idea.

    My Post It note idea above works the same way but is MUCH cheaper!

    Neither of them work all that well if your feed dogs are wider than your presser foot.

    Jan in VA

  20. #20
    Super Member LindaM's Avatar
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    Hi Joan - two things to try
    - add starch to your process - I starch my fabrics before I cut - this makes the fabrics really behave
    - I use a tailer's awl to hold the seams together right until the seam gets to the needle; I don't pin, just place the seams together as I'm going, then stick the point of the awl into the intersection and keep it there until it gets to the seam. You can still do this if you pin - when you take the pin out, stick the point of the awl in the intersection again right until it gets to the needle.

    Hope this helps!
    Linda

  21. #21
    Senior Member theoldgraymare's Avatar
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    Have you tried using a wallking foot?

  22. #22
    Junior Member Joan Rosemary's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone
    I think madquilter may be right as I do have a tendency to be in such a hurry to see my first block that I rush things and have not prepared prioperly, but everything that has been said by you all makes sence, I have just bought a walking foot, but I think thewy sold me the wrong type for my machine as I can not suss out a way of attaching it, and the shop is about 30 miles away so I will have to take it back first opportunity I get. When I do I think I will have to invest in a 1/4 " foot also.
    Thanks for all your help girls. The main thing is I must slow down and take heed of what you have all advised and not be so impatient. Lol

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