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Thread: Oh dear... noticing the many mistakes....

  1. #1
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    Oh dear... noticing the many mistakes....

    I sewed my first quilt top a few weeks ago trying to use what is probably a very simple pattern.

    Anyway, as I was ironing it in preparation of finally making my sandwich, I noticed how off it is in areas...

    I wish I would have known of (or preferably, HAD) all of the awesome measuring tools and rulers I've just learned about in the past day or two.

    I think my whole darn quilt is going to need some serious squaring up and will probably still be somewhat askew. (I'm just hoping that as my girls grow up, they find the imperfections endearing). So, what are your favorite tools for squaring up a whole (crib sized) quilt?

    I've made a wishlist of rulers that I think will really help me with this and future quilts - what does everyone think of the items below? (if you know of another version or something else entirely that might help make the measuring/cutting of quilt pieces easier (and consequently, more fun!), please feel free to give me your input!

    June Tailor 2.5" binding buddy ruler
    5" x 24" lip edge ruler
    12" x 18" June Tailor shape cut plus ruler
    Quilt in a Day 12.5" x 12.5" shape up ruler

    Thanks again (and again!) for any input.

  2. #2
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Pending on the size of your blocks with determine the size of ruler.....
    for the past several years all I use is my 12" square ruler, as a general rule none of my blocks are bigger than that,
    so it works for everything smaller. I really only use two rulers, my 6 x 24" for cutting my pieces and my 12 x 12....
    yes I do have some specialty ones....but there use is very limited.
    Yes that is a real picture of my hometown Temecula, California. We feature premiere Wineries, World Class Golf Courses, Pechanga Indian Casino and Hot Air Balloons

  3. #3
    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
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    Don't be so hard on yourself!! It will always be a treasured quilt because it was your first!

  4. #4
    Super Member quiltjoey's Avatar
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    I use a drafting T-square for the final squaring. Also, 6 x 24, and the June Tailor rulers. Accurate cutting is also key. I have learned to square-up form the first piece of the block. I think squaring-up takes a lot of practice. I just have learned on my through trial and error. The T-square along with another ruler to make sure the corners square-up is the best to me. I'm sure everyone has there on ways of "squaring" a block or quilt.

  5. #5
    Super Member laurafet's Avatar
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    I don't think it matters which tools/rulers you use, as long as you use the same one to measure and cut all the pieces. Rulers will vary, believe it or not. But the best advice I got when I started was to take my time, pin EVERYTHING, and press as you go. My first quilt was pitiful!!

  6. #6
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    Don't be discouraged, remember this is a hobby and we are having fun!!

    I am also a beginner and what I have learned is "unsewing" is a pain but the end result is worth the effort. It really helps to make sure your blocks are squared and the seams in each block are straight and in the right place. I have found if you ignore a little oops in a block, it is magnified when you piece everything together.

    I use only the basic 24 x 6 1/2, 15 x 15 and 6 1/2 x 6 1/2 rulers.

    Hope this helps and good luck with your next project.

  7. #7
    Super Member katesnanna's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board.
    You don't need all the fancy rulers. You need to practice cutting accurately. That is one of the first rules of quilting. You may think 1/8" isn't much but add up 8 blocks and you are off by one whole inch which is a lot. Practice cutting on old sheets or tablecloths from the good will shop. Your straight ruler will do all the things the fancy ones can do. Same as Deborahlees I mainly only use two rulers 6 X 24" and my 8 1/2" square.
    Come back anytime and remember we are all here to help and be helped and there is no such thing as a dumb question. Happy quilting.
    PS If you only want a square to square up blocks go to a plastic specialist and ask them to make you an accurate square in the size you want. Much cheaper.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    The brand of the ruler does not matter to me but the size does. Here are the rulers I have in order of their importance to me: 6"z24", 12.5"x12.5", binding buddy, 6.5"x6.5" and 3.5"x3.5". The last two I keep next to my machine along with a small cutting mat for last minute snips.

  9. #9
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    I would suggest, if you can find/afford it, an 8x24 ruler. I have a 6.5 x 24 that I use all the time. But I do find alot of patterns call for cutting 7 or 8 in strips. I have yet to find an 8 x 24 that I like and I HATE having to butt 2 rulers together or cutting by the lines on my mat. If I have to do either of those I will usually cut a bit wider and trim when I get down to smaller units. I have a 12.5x12.5 a 6 x 24 lip edge that I rarely use anymore and a 3.5 x 12 that I use for trimming. I find I can do just about anything with these and no need for specialty rulers or gadgets.

  10. #10
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Right now you will see every mistake because you are working so close to the source. Trust me, when the top is turned into a sandwich and the sandwich is quilted, you will not notice the mistakes as much. Some of the smaller inconsistencies will quilt right out and you won't notice them at all. For the rest, pat yourself on the back because you did it and finished!

    As for rulers, I don't know anything about the June T. series. I have a 6.5, 9.5, 12.5, and 15" square because those are the blocks I make the most. (Particularly the 6 and 12 come in handy). I spend the time to square my blocks.

    Then I have a 6x24 that I use in conjunction with the largest square ruler to square up my tops. Works fine for me.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Patti25314's Avatar
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    Make sure that you are pressing and not ironing. Ironing may stretch the material and make it look uneven. Here's a trick: tape it to something (like a plastic piece) or pin it down really well to the floor (carpet). Take a spray bottle of water to it and get it damp. Then let is dry. This may help to straighten it out some. Also, it helps to have something with good right angles to lay it on to see how it looks in terms of straightness. Make sense?

  12. #12
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    I found a 8x24 ruler and love it. Now I don't use my 6x24 anymore. I have a 15 1/2 x 15 1/2 that I love also. And then I have the smaller ones that I can't live without. But the 8x24 is so great! It was hard for me to find. I think they are all over now, but when I found it, I lucked out. Those are so nice to have.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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  13. #13
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    Thank you, thank you, thank you ladies! When I cut my quilt originally, I relied heavily on the markings of my cutting mat (which I've since learned is a no-no!) and a yard stick. *sigh* And I made "templates" out of some heavy card stock-type material and laid that on top of my fabric to cut out my squares.

    I definitely need to start building up a honest-to-goodness quilting ruler stash.

  14. #14
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I only use three rulers regularly enough to need them. One is my 5x18 inch ruler with lip. I find the 6x24 awkward, guess I am weird. Can't live with out my june tailor shape cut plus ruler. I use that out of all my rulers the most for all my strip quilts. and the other one would be my 6 inch or 8inch square rulers. I find if you square up as you go the blocks, there is less need to square it later
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  15. #15
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    I use a 6 x 24 and an 8.5 square, decent cutting mat and a thin 24 inch metal ruler. As the others have mentioned, you don't need a vast collection of expensive stuff. Make each block, sash and seam accurate and keep check as you go....the end result should be pretty spot on. Don't be too hard on yourself, or lose your motivation. Each quilt or project teaches us a new technique and is a step in the learning process. Another thing is to press your work as you go....not iron...wiggle and move that iron a lot and you will get a lot of distortion. Now, have a think and make some adjustments and get your top morphed into a quilt.....look at it, love it and see how much better your next one will be. Oh, and don't forget to show us....we love pics and you will get lots of encouragement and ideas for your next one.....happy quilting from the land of Aus.

  16. #16
    Senior Member asimplelife's Avatar
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    Making your 1st quilt is a major accomplishment and you should be proud! We all have our inner perfectionist to deal with... but you will learn with each quilt you make and that is what keeps it fun. Good luck!

  17. #17
    Senior Member happyquiltmom's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice from the folks here!

    Perhaps you haven't heard of the "rule of eight"...stand back 8 feet from your quilt and the mistakes disappear!

  18. #18
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    I also use a metal t square. Like 6$ at Lowes. The best tool i've found for squaring up a finished quilt. Have fun!

  19. #19
    Senior Member batikmystique's Avatar
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    Yes, T-squares are great! An easy way to square up a finished quilt top no matter the size is to use a snap chalk line in conjunction with the T-square. Lay the quilt top on a hard surface, making sure it is as flat and smooth as possible. Taping it down with blue painter's tape will help! Place the T-square on one of the corners and line it up until you are happy with the placement, then line up the chalk line container with the t-square and secure the container to the floor or get someone to hold it for you. Stretch out the chalk line following the edge of the T-square to the opposite end of the quilt and snap the line. Nice thing about the chalk is that it is easily erased so that if your cutting lines are off you can snap new ones. Same method can be used for squaring blocks, but you could use a kitchen countertop or other hard surface. Hope this helps!

    Quote Originally Posted by quiltjoey View Post
    I use a drafting T-square for the final squaring. Also, 6 x 24, and the June Tailor rulers. Accurate cutting is also key. I have learned to square-up form the first piece of the block. I think squaring-up takes a lot of practice. I just have learned on my through trial and error. The T-square along with another ruler to make sure the corners square-up is the best to me. I'm sure everyone has there on ways of "squaring" a block or quilt.
    Creative clutter is better than idle neatness.

  20. #20
    Senior Member batikmystique's Avatar
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    This is funny...love it! I've also heard that if you are galloping on a horse and you ride past your quilt and can't see your mistakes, then you are good to go! :-)


    Quote Originally Posted by happyquiltmom View Post
    Lots of good advice from the folks here!

    Perhaps you haven't heard of the "rule of eight"...stand back 8 feet from your quilt and the mistakes disappear!
    Creative clutter is better than idle neatness.

  21. #21
    Senior Member batikmystique's Avatar
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    Great advice, Patti25314! I will have to remember the spray bottle trick. Would also like to add that I always press my seams on the back of the blocks to set them before pressing the seam from the front. Helps avoid the distortion. As Patti25314 mentioned, I can't stress enough the technique of pressing vs ironing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Patti25314 View Post
    Make sure that you are pressing and not ironing. Ironing may stretch the material and make it look uneven. Here's a trick: tape it to something (like a plastic piece) or pin it down really well to the floor (carpet). Take a spray bottle of water to it and get it damp. Then let is dry. This may help to straighten it out some. Also, it helps to have something with good right angles to lay it on to see how it looks in terms of straightness. Make sense?
    Creative clutter is better than idle neatness.

  22. #22
    Super Member Jeanette Frantz's Avatar
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    None of us will ever be "perfect". There was only one man who walked this earth who was perfect, and He (the son of God) was nailed to a tree. We can certainly pursue "Excellence" which is knowing in your heart you've done the very best you are capable of doing (at that particular time). I am still a "newbie" when it comes to quilting, but I've made my clothes for 50+ years. I think I do a pretty good job at the clothes, but I'm not perfect. The more you make quilts, the more you will improve. Experience is a great teacher. I've never seen a "perfect" quilt, but I have sure seen some beautiful quilts. As another member of this board stated, don't be too hard on yourself. Your quilt will always be treasured because it was your first one! I have made some really bad mistakes, but I just keep trying not to repeat those mistakes! Ladies, it's late and I have to hit the floor at 6:00 a.m. to go to work! Good Night all! Jeanette Frantz

  23. #23
    Senior Member sammygirlqt's Avatar
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    You sure brought back some memmories of my first quilt. I was so excited to get it finished I never even thought about it being square. It ended up with some lumps and crooks here and there and it has been loved to pieces (literally). Just finish your quilt and love it as your very first quilt. It is your first step to greater things and 20-30 years from now you will have fond memmories of making this quilt.
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  24. #24
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    You ladies are so wonderful and have made me feel a lot better! I managed to get my big pregnant belly on the floor and basted my quilt (with curved safety pins - next time when I'm not worried about possible fumes, I might give some of those sprays or glue a try!).

    Tomorrow night I'll start sewing! Wish me luck!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by lap quilter View Post
    This is funny...love it! I've also heard that if you are galloping on a horse and you ride past your quilt and can't see your mistakes, then you are good to go! :-)
    And if the galloping horse is 8 feet away, that's even better

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