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Thread: New Quilter Needs Help

  1. #1
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    Question New Quilter Needs Help

    This is probably a dumb question but can you use a 1/2" seam allowance on some of the blocks in a quilt and 1/4" on the rest of the quilt without messing everything up? I have never made a quilt and I'm trying to follow a pattern.

    I'm using 5" charm squares for most of the quilt but the pattern also requires that some of the 5" charm squares be subcut into four 2" squares. These subcut pieces are then sewn together into a 9 patch that is supposed to come out the same size as the 5" charm square. I used a Sizzix die to subcut the squares but realized the die if for 2 1/2" "unfinished" squares -- not 2". Instead of having to cut all of these little squares down into 2", I wondered if I could just use a 1/2" seam allowance on these blocks. Hope I have made sense in what I'm saying.

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    I would try a block with some scrap fabric and find the seam allowance that works to get the size block I need. People adjust their seam allowance often to achieve the size blocks they need.
    Welcome and enjoy the process.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
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    Thank you. I think I am just afraid of making a mistake after spending so much money on this pre-cut fabric. I think I need to relax a little!!

  4. #4
    Super Member Maureen NJ's Avatar
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    This is my thinking. Three unfinished 2 1/2” squares lengthwise x three unfinished squares widthwise will equal 7 1/2” unfinished square. You will have 2 seams in the center both lengthwise and widthwise so if you make the seams 1/2”, you will have 2” less when the center part is joined. The 5 1/2” square will not butt up to the 5” square. Do you have a rotary cutter, mat and template? Sorry, but I’d recut the small squares. Welcome to the board. You will learn so much here.

  5. #5
    Super Member eparys's Avatar
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    I agree wit ckcowl - try it on scrap pieced first. The other thing you could do - is sew the 1/2" seam and before pressing it trim it slightly to cut down the bulk.
    Betty

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  6. #6
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    Why not just take them apart and recut the 2 1/2"?

  7. #7
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Maureen is right. If you make a 9-patch from the 2.5" squares, using a 1/2" seam, it will measure 5.5" unfinished. When joining the charm to a 9-patch you would have to align the pieces so that you have a 1/2" seam allowance on the 9-patch and a 1/4" seam allowance on the charm. It could be done, but it would be difficult and confusing. Can you get another 2" die to make cutting the 2.5" pieces down a little easier?

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    Welcome to quilting! That being said, I would add that sometimes (almost always!) it pays to back up-rip stitching out- and do things as directed for best results. Making 1/2 seams creates all kinds of difficulties as the process goes forward. As mentioned by several others, the proposed solution will not work. We all have to back up from time to time. It is just part of the process. Please know that we have all been there; fixed the problem; and, moved forward to happy success. My bit of advice is to fix your problem before you put your project away rather than have to come back to a project that has to be fixed before going forward. I still love new challenges after 50 years of sewing and quilting.

  9. #9
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    I would also recut them into 2 inch squares -

    I have attached a drawing that might help explain what would happen if you used the 2.5 inch squares with 0.5 inch seam allowances.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    Or use graph paper and save your scraps!
    http://s1248.photobucket.com/albums/hh485/KitsieH/
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  11. #11
    Super Member quilting cat's Avatar
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    Yes, your 9-patch with 1/2 seams ends up 5 1/2" because you still have the 1/2" seam allowance around the outsides. You could trim the 9-patch edges back to 1/4" seam allowance, returning it to 5" square. This at least lets you use those already-stitched 9-patches instead of ripping them all apart.
    Retired math teacher --
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  12. #12
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Welcome to this board, lots of knowledgeable people on here. They are all willing to help.

    I am with most of the others. Just rip, trim and move on. I rip so often it is second nature to me.
    Another Phyllis
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  13. #13
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    How many squares do you have to cut down? Do you have a long cutting ruler and rotary cutter? Lay the squares out in a line and cut them down. Turn and cut down again. You only have to cut two side to get the 2 inch square.

    Break the task into 15 minute segments. You can do anything for a short time. You will soon have them ready to piece again.

  14. #14
    Junior Member mmac71's Avatar
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    I first thought they meant to take 5" charm and cut into four squares (2.5 x 4) and have 2" finished square?

  15. #15
    Super Member Irishrose2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmac71 View Post
    I first thought they meant to take 5" charm and cut into four squares (2.5 x 4) and have 2" finished square?
    That wouldn't fit the 5" charm. It has to start at 2".
    OP, you need to recut them. Join me - I just did a bunch of Quarter Square Triangles wrong. Cut every 5th stitch on one side, them turn over and pull the thread from the other side. It should come out easily.

  16. #16
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    First - if you are a new quilter, making those tiny 9 patches are going to be difficult. I would save doing the tiny blocks for when you are a bit more experienced. Second, yes you can use 1/2" seams, but they bring with it their own set of challenges. I often have my very young students use 1/2" just because it it easier for them to watch and get correct. But, it can add quite a bit of bulk on the backside. So, it would be dependent on the block. Third - IT IS YOUR QUILT! You get to decide what you want to do and how you want to do it. There will be things that you try that don't work out and you will learn not to do them. And, there will be things you try that just make things so much easier - you are the boss! Only super rule is to have fun and learn stuff.

  17. #17
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    in this case - if it were mine - I would just recut the squares to the proper size - it will make the rest of the process much easier.

    But - some of us have to try it "our way" - to believe/understand what the rest of the people are saying.
    Last edited by bearisgray; 07-09-2018 at 11:56 AM.

  18. #18
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    Thanks to everyone for all your help and suggestions and I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner. I am not very good at cutting and my blocks never seem to come out accurate. I have also learned very quickly that the cutting is not my favorite part of the process. The good news is a friend told me about the Sizzix and Accuquilt dies. I had one of the dies for the 2 1/2 (unfinished squares) and that's what I used initially by mistake. Sizzix does have a 2" unfinished square die and I have ordered that. I'll just recut them once the dies come and use the squares I've already cut for something down the road.

    I am just so happy to now have a place that has so many people willing to help a new quilter. Thank you!!

  19. #19
    Super Member running1's Avatar
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    There is a lot of good advice here...not only for this question (I've learned from reading these responses), but throughout the board! Hang in there and don't let this one moment discourage you!! We've all been there!! Welcome to the board!!!!
    "... let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

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