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Trial and Error - Rotary Cutting and Piecing - HELP!!

Trial and Error - Rotary Cutting and Piecing - HELP!!

Old 08-22-2008, 12:45 PM
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Aaagh! I am making a quilted window seat cushion for my cats. This is my first patchwork/quilting project where I am using proper tools and patterns (my first quilt was just easy squares).

I did these two blocks using Marti Mitchell templates (2nd pic), but am finding that they are not such 'Perfect Patchwork' as they could be. After pressing, the blocks aren't matching up in size and the edges are all over the place.Not sure what I am doing wrong. Maybe I am not doing the 1/4 inch seams 'scant' enough?

Am I trying something too complex for a beginner? I have just rotary cut a simpler block(1st pic) just using the cutting mat and ruler to measure, and even before I have pressed it, it seems to match up much tidier.

I know this is a learning curve, and the whole point of this project was to do something small to learn these techniques, I am just such a perfectionist I want it to be right first time!! :?

Blocks done using ruler, no template.

Blocks using Marti Mitchell templates
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:06 PM
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Hi, donīt think you are too off the mark here. Unpick your block and starte from the centre and work toward the edge. Pin carefully and sew. Use a 1/4" seam (SCANT), okay. Just unpick and you will be fine.

You are doing good, donīt get disheartened.
Believe me we all unpick...... lots

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Old 08-22-2008, 01:12 PM
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This is my tried and true method for HST (half square triangles)
If you pattern calls for a 3 1/2" unfinished HST, I cut my squares 4".
On one square, draw a diagonal line then sew a scant quarter inch on each side, press then cut apart on the drawn line.
Press (not iron) open then using a square up ruler, trim to 3 1/2".
This way if there is any stretch at all to your seam or pressing line, it will be squared up to the perfect size each and every time.
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:21 PM
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Wow, I like how these fabrics are comming together.

Let's see. First after you make a square it helps to cut the "dog ears off" that's the pointy part stitcking off your half square triangles in your first picture.

Like Elle said "pin" this is very important, when I began I didn't pin, but I learned that it really helps to keep you square and lined up.

Are you using a 1/4" foot? These seem to really help also. I hated that the answer was to spend money, but in this case it's worth it, just be careful which one you get because mine doesn't make quite enough contact with my feet dogs so it's hard to get it started and then it will try to slip if I don't watch.

Some people recomend the guides, but as I make two bias square triangles at a time (cut two squares draw a line over the middle and sew 1/4 down both sides of the line then cut apart down the line), I thought the guide would be much more of a pain than a help.

I know you're trying to use the templates, and I've found sometimes it really helps to make them 4" say instead of 3 7/8" and then trim them to the correct size after they are sewed.

There is no such thing as to hard for a beginner. I PROMISE! You want it you'll make it. :twisted: The end.

If you're having trouble with your overall block measurements not being the same, don't worry you can "square them" to be the same size when you're done making the blocks, no big deal. Please note, do not square as you go! When you're done with your blocks measure ALL of them and cut to the smallest one.

Your points don't have to be exact. Think of it this way. Aim for perfection and pick out anything that will make you crazy when you look at the finished project. No "I should have ripped that" just dig in and get the seam ripper out. Completed projects draw the eye to the whole not to the one corner that didn't line up exactly right.

And everytime you need boistering, come here. :D
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:22 PM
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Oh and one last thing, when you sew remember the eye sees up the center line less side to side, so pin to make sure that the inside works, the outside is okay to be off a bit.

That one there all the way on the bottom? Remember it's not the finished project that one looks funny because it hasn't been sewed in yet. If you don't believe me, fold it down at the edge 1/4" and look again, it's fine. :D Triangles look funny at the edges it's nothing to worry over.
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Old 08-22-2008, 03:02 PM
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Before you assembled the four little blocks, did you check to make sure they were the same size? It was hard for me in the beginning to square things and measure twice after each part, but it really improves accuracy.
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Old 08-26-2008, 04:52 PM
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Doesn't look too bad to me but something I didn't see mentioned was ironing!!! PRESSING, NOT ironing. I learned this the hard way. It's amazing how much you can change the size of quilt pieces with an iron! Everything I read says "press" but it also says to cut slightly bigger & cut down at the end. I also found that if I cut a piece of freezer paper the size of the block, then I can take my sewn block & iron it to fit the freezer paper. Trim off anything too big but only slightly. You'll be surprised how well this works! Good luck. You will find which 'trick' works best for you. I am always thrilled when my peices match the first time!! Good luck & have fun! Otherwise, what's the point?
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:38 PM
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[quote=sewin'sam]I am always thrilled when my peices match the first time!![quote]

Me too! Just wish it happened a little more often! :) Good advice from all. I also find I'm more successful if I make my hst's a little bigger and then trim to the right size.

I don't know why this is posting inside sam's quote.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:41 PM
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:lol: If you made the quilt in the picture, it's beautiful!!! What more could you ask for? I make it a point to look at expensive quilts in stores & mostly, their points don't match any better than mine! That makes me feel better! :thumbup:
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Old 08-27-2008, 04:43 AM
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I have just learned a new method to make those little buggers. Take two squares of fabric and put them right sides together. Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other and a line 1/4' from each side of that line. Sew on lines 2 and 3 and cut apart on line 1. I am not an accurate sewer or piecer but they come out great each time. It can go one step more to make quarter square triangles. After cutting your squares apart and pressing place them on top of each other so that opposite colors are on top of each other. Draw another diagonal line so that it will cross over your seam allowance and draw sewing lines 1/4' from either side of your first line. Once you cut them apart agian, you now have 2 hour glass blocks. I have tried other methods before, but has been the best method for me so far.
Don't know if this is the method you used or not, but if it wasn't might want to see if it will work for you.

good luck
Janet Wickell talked about this method on the forum that she hosts called http:/ [email protected]
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