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Thread: Patterns?

  1. #1
    Super Member Twisted Quilter's Avatar
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    Question Patterns?

    It is so frustrating to try a new block and it comes out the wrong size. I thought I would take the challenge and try a new block, and it happened again. The block was short by 1/4" so I had to play around with the seam allowance to get the right size. My question is: Is this normal? Do I have to play around with the #'s everytime I try a new pattern?

    Thanks.
    If you choose the behavior, you accept the consequences...Dr. Phil

  2. #2
    Super Member Havplenty's Avatar
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    there are usually two things that go wrong if the block sizes come up short and that is proper cutting and correct seam allowance. hopefully you have either tape marked a 1/4" seam allowance on your sewing area or you have a 1/4" foot for your machine. i also keep a seam gauge by my machine when sewing to double check my seams. next make sure you cut the pieces correctly. plus there is the OMG scant 1/4" seam, which is just to the inside of the 1/4" seam mark.

    double check your work (cutting & seams) and perhaps you will find where you were off. happy block making. i was trying to find the diagram where it shows the scant seam marker one a 1/4" seam foot. i will post if i find what i did with it.

    mary
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  3. #3
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Havplenty View Post
    there are usually two things that go wrong if the block sizes come up short and that is proper cutting and correct seam allowance. hopefully you have either tape marked a 1/4" seam allowance on your sewing area or you have a 1/4" foot for your machine. i also keep a seam gauge by my machine when sewing to double check my seams. next make sure you cut the pieces correctly. plus there is the OMG scant 1/4" seam, which is just to the inside of the 1/4" seam mark.

    double check your work (cutting & seams) and perhaps you will find where you were off. happy block making. i was trying to find the diagram where it shows the scant seam marker one a 1/4" seam foot. i will post if i find what i did with it.

    mary
    I'd also like to add to this good advice. Every now and then your ruler could be off or your 1/4" mark on your machine foot could be off. Double check those too.
    Bernie

  4. #4
    Super Member Rose L's Avatar
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    I don't always think it is us who is off in our work. I recently made a quilt where triangles pieced into squares were used as part of the design and the blocks when pieced were a full inch too small to match up to the plain blocks that went on each side of them. There were numerous errors in the fabric yardage needed also. I sent a note to the quilt designer and much later got a note back saying the corrections had been made on the fabric website (free fabric mfg. pattern). Well they corrected the yardage amounts but never did a thing about the pattern being incorrect. I had to re-draft the triangles/squares and some other pieces as the quilt went along. I also had to end up buying almost twice as much fabric as the pattern stated was needed, mostly because I had to re-cut so many pieces that were incorrect. Never again will I use a free Mfg. pattern!
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  5. #5
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    I have a lot of orphan blocks for that reason. I always do a test block before I start a quilt. It is a pain but I don't like surprises when doing a quilt top. It also one of the reasons I don't do exchange blocks. If a block is going to be off, that's when it will happen.

  6. #6
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Heavier fabrics also take up a tad more space, when seams are turned. It may be just a thread's width difference but over several seams, it adds up.

  7. #7
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    Another little bit of help is to press the seam flat (laying it flat exactly as it looks when coming off the sewing machine) and then press it to one side. I THINK it is called setting the seam. This has helped me.

  8. #8
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    If you are printing patterns from your computer, your printer might be the culprit. Check to be sure, when you print something that the scale is correct. Many times you'll have to tweek the printer settings to get the correct size. I know how frustrating it is to believe you've done everything right...and then the block not quite be right. Most of us can share how you feel -- having been there too.

    Good luck.

  9. #9
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    I've found lately that I have to do a scant seam allowance for all the parts to match up and the final block to be the right size.
    Wouldn't want to try parsing that sentence.

  10. #10
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    Even books have mistakes in them. Im making Sylvias Bridal Sampler. Before I started I went to the web site and sure enough there it was, a list of several of the patterns and their mistakes. Was glad I checked. I used to make samples for our LQS, I could'nt believe all the patterns that had mistakes in them.

  11. #11
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    I don't even bother looking at the measurements they are supposed to be anymore. One of the best books I own is triangle free quilts. The reason being is she has you cut for your blocks out those together and then has you remeasure to see what size blocks you have then cut for the next part and so on. I hardly ever match up with the perfectness of the pros and your looking at a picture there is no proof even there sample was perfect to the measurements in the pattern. I'm not picky on a particular size though so I always square up my blocks and go from there and all my quilts have turned out so nice and I have always been happy!
    *Rachel*

  12. #12
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have found mistakes in some patterns too. If squares match up and quilt comes out a bit smaller than what I want I increase the border sizes to get it the size I want.
    Another Phyllis
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  13. #13
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    I learned the hard way that following the edge of my quarter-inch foot does not guarantee a quarter-inch seam -- I actually need the fabric to run just under the edge, not at the edge. It's very frustrating, and I have had blocks turn out too small and been unable to send them to swaps.

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  14. #14
    Super Member cwessel47's Avatar
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    The best way I have found to make sure of your seam allowances - and I do believe this is the culprit in most cases - is to cut 3 strips 1 1/2" wide. Sew the strips together long ways. At the ironing board - set the seams and then press the seam allowances out. Measure the center strip. Is it 1" wide??? Too narrow? Your seam is too big. Too wide? Your seam is too small. Once you get it RIGHT - put masking tape on your machine in the right place! It takes only a little bit of time and saves so much frustration.

  15. #15
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I have to use a scant on all my blocks. Even using a quarter inch foot my blocks never come out full size.
    It dosnt matter for your own quilts but when making blocks with others they need to be the right size.
    So now I set my machine with smaller seams all the time even though it has a quarter inch setting.
    Even using different machines I still have to use scant.
    It is not my cutting as I measure to make sure the pieces are the right size.

  16. #16
    Super Member Twisted Quilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwessel47 View Post
    The best way I have found to make sure of your seam allowances - and I do believe this is the culprit in most cases - is to cut 3 strips 1 1/2" wide. Sew the strips together long ways. At the ironing board - set the seams and then press the seam allowances out. Measure the center strip. Is it 1" wide??? Too narrow? Your seam is too big. Too wide? Your seam is too small. Once you get it RIGHT - put masking tape on your machine in the right place! It takes only a little bit of time and saves so much frustration.
    Thanks guys! I've tried suggestions given and found out that my current system of using a sticky note pad next to the presser foot was off. I guess the rubber band I use to hold it in place got a little loose therefore it had shifted. Also, I misplaced the ruler I normally use. I'm hoping to have the 'perfect square' once I take care of these 2 problems.
    If you choose the behavior, you accept the consequences...Dr. Phil

  17. #17
    Super Member LyndaOH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackie Spencer View Post
    Even books have mistakes in them. Im making Sylvias Bridal Sampler. Before I started I went to the web site and sure enough there it was, a list of several of the patterns and their mistakes. Was glad I checked. I used to make samples for our LQS, I could'nt believe all the patterns that had mistakes in them.
    Hi Jackie,

    You should come join us in the Block of the Week that Jennifer Chiaverini sponsors. It's a lot of fun! Just visit the SBS website at www.sylviasbridalsampler.com.

    Lynda

  18. #18
    Super Member LyndaOH's Avatar
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    I've also found a big difference depending on the thread you use. Test your 1/4" seam with both a 30 wt. and a 60 wt. and you'll see the difference.

  19. #19
    Super Member Twisted Quilter's Avatar
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    I didn't know there was a 30 & 60 weight thread.
    If you choose the behavior, you accept the consequences...Dr. Phil

  20. #20
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    Lots of good suggestions -

    Double check your pattern pieces - if you used templates - make sure they are the correct size.

    I had bought some plastic templates with the pattern shapes printed on them. Turned out that the "square" was 4-1/2 x 4-5/8 - which explained why my pieces weren't going together very well. I didn't figure that out until the quilt was done, though!!! Hey - I bought it - it should have been perfect, right?

    Now I trust myself a lot more than I did then.

    Learn and live!

  21. #21
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    Bearisgray--absolutely right!! When it really matters, refer to the pattern and directions, but trust your instinct and don't blindly rely on the pattern. I always make a test block from cheap broadcloth. If the seams don't match, I start investigating.
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

  22. #22
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I use 50wt 2 ply thread or thinner for piecing. One thing is to be very sure there is no veering at the end of each seam. That will cock the edge of the block just enough to be wonky. One thing I did as a beginner was to machine baste the block, press and measure. If it was the correct size then I resewed it. If not exactly the right size, I found where I made the mistake. It takes practice but soon you will have the AhHa moment and you will be piecing like a pro.
    Got fabric?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo View Post
    I use 50wt 2 ply thread or thinner for piecing. One thing is to be very sure there is no veering at the end of each seam. That will cock the edge of the block just enough to be wonky. One thing I did as a beginner was to machine baste the block, press and measure. If it was the correct size then I resewed it. If not exactly the right size, I found where I made the mistake. It takes practice but soon you will have the AhHa moment and you will be piecing like a pro.
    How do you correct the veering? I think I tend to do that in some of my piecing!! Thanks for all suggestions and hints in advance!

  24. #24
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    I use the 3 strip test as explained by cwessel47 using the same fabric and thread as in my project.
    If you use different fabric and/or thread you might have different results.

  25. #25
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    If you are consistently off then I'd suggest that you find the true 1/4" on your machine. Can you change the needle position? I sometimes use that method. Or I use the 1/4" foot. Once you've done a few, you should get a feel for which ones will give you trouble and which ones should go smoothly. Just hang in there.

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