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Thread: What Is The Secret??

  1. #1
    Senior Member sunni's Avatar
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    I am trying to expand my sewing horizons and make an actual quilt, even a small one.

    I cut blocks all the same size but by the time I got done sewing them all together they wouldn't line up :(

    What is the secret to getting them to line up??

    robin

  2. #2
    Senior Member kraftykimberly's Avatar
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    Cutting, pressing, squaring, seam allowance, there's lots that could be your point of issue.

  3. #3
    Super Member athomenow's Avatar
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    Seam allowances have to be exact. If you're doing a 1/4 inch all the time they should line up. I have had problems with stretching the block when pressing so be careful of that. Someone with more experience will be along to help you out more.

  4. #4
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Seam size...

    How they were cut - did you use straight of grain, or are they cut on the bias?

  5. #5
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    It takes practice to make a perfect quarter inch seam. That may be off a little bit. It is wise to press and measure each component as you go.

  6. #6
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    Seam allowance. You have to be accurate. And a walking foot helps too. And double checking your blocks at every step.

  7. #7
    Super Member Izaquilter's Avatar
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    I'm just guessing, but your biases may be running in different directions. Your material will stretch one way but it won't stretch when you turn it the other way. Try keeping the biases all one direction. You have to sew with an accurate 1/4" on EACH & EVERY seam. Say you're off 1/8", & those 1/8" keep adding up, it will throw the seams off also. Accurate cutting is a MUST. With my first quilt, I cut mine with scissors, drew the squares out with a yard stick. No, I'm not that old, I just didn't know any better. Using a rotary cutter & a good ruler helps. If there's ANY possiblity of taking a beginners quilt class, it is so WELL worth the money. It is amazing how much you can learn from them. Good luck & don't give up. It's mind boggling at first but there's lots of good help here on this board.

  8. #8
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    If you cut accurately, then the most likely culprit is the 1/4" seam. It is essential to find where the 1/4" is on your machine. http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-109768-1.htm is a tutorial.

    Pressing without stretching is another fun one to learn, but important. http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-149984-1.htm is a tutorial.

    Learning how to "nest" the seams really helps with getting blocks and rows to line up. http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-28328-1.htm is a tutorial.

    Looking through the tutorial section of QB is a great way to find out how to do just about anything!!!

  9. #9
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    Practice....cutting all the blocks carefully to same size...maintaining exact 1/4" seams. If your seams are off, nothing is going to line up. That's the MAIN key!!

  10. #10
    Super Member sewingladydi's Avatar
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    I agree with Izaquilter. Taking a beginning quilt class is a great help. Even though I've sewn for years, I took a couple of classes when I wanted to start making quilts and those classes were well worth it.

    You may be able to figure out things on your own, but taking a class makes learning about quilting a joy, not a frustration

  11. #11
    Super Member Glassquilt's Avatar
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    Practice, practice, practice. :(

  12. #12
    Senior Member lisalisa's Avatar
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    and don't watch the needle, watch the edge of the foot. It's all too easy to drift if your eyes are always on the needle.

  13. #13
    Senior Member sunni's Avatar
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    Oh boy, now I know why I stick to sewing other things LOL

    Here is a picture of what I did.
    I did have all the fabric the same whay when I cut, I did use the 1/4" foot that came with my machine and they are off as you can plainly see :(

    robin
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Super Member JUNEC's Avatar
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    Scant 1/4" seams help - Check out your library for a beginning quilting book - they have lots of tips you would never think of on your own

  15. #15
    Super Member charmpacksplus's Avatar
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    Someone once told me to pin right past the seam to lock the seams in place then remove the pin as soon as you sew over the seam. Of course, everything else mentioned by those above helps too...accurate cutting, squaring, pressing, seam allowance, etc.

  16. #16
    Power Poster blueangel's Avatar
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    Practice, make sure you sew and accurate seam.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Kehoeta's Avatar
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    Looking at your photo...it reminds me of my first quilt...

    So - one question... Once you cut the blocks, did you then stitch a row, then the next etc, and then did you connect the two rows?

    I made one similar to yours - and didn't know about strip piecing, or creating the quilt in rows...

    and - as everyone else says... that blasted 1/4 inch seam will get you every time...

  18. #18
    Super Member Jennifer22206's Avatar
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    I pin right past the seams. That sometimes helps.

    Look at the fabric or presser foot, not the needle <- excellent one.

    Press. It's just an up and down motion.

    Oh - start and stop using the same machine. Different machines have different 1/4".

    If you used different rules, like an Omnigrid and a June Taylor while cutting, that can throw it off too. (ask me how I learned that :))

  19. #19
    Senior Member sunni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kehoeta
    Looking at your photo...it reminds me of my first quilt...

    So - one question... Once you cut the blocks, did you then stitch a row, then the next etc, and then did you connect the two rows?

    I made one similar to yours - and didn't know about strip piecing, or creating the quilt in rows...

    and - as everyone else says... that blasted 1/4 inch seam will get you every time...

    Yep, I cut the blocks and then sewed all the blocks in row 1 together, then row 2 and so on. Then sewed the rows together. Did use the same ruler and the same machine.

    Oh well, better luck next time, I guess :)

    robin

  20. #20
    Super Member mollymct's Avatar
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    I'd like to add pin, pin, pin and then add a few more pins! I guess my first few projects the seams didn't have to line up so I am just learning that I still have quite a way to go in perfecting my quilt making technique. Thank goodness I'm not in a hurry to be perfect! My current quilt was quite off even though I knew my blocks were precisely the same size. I hadn't pinned enough and I think maybe my machine pulled one layer ever so slightly more than another? Anyway--tripling the pins made a difference! I don't enjoy that part, but the results are better!

  21. #21
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    Pinning for sure but there is a little trick to pinning. You can put as many
    pins as you want and it could still be out of alignment. The trick is to stab a
    pin where the seams meet then pin each side and add more pins if needed.
    Don't forget to remove pins before it goes under the presser foot.

  22. #22
    Senior Member gigi10's Avatar
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    I only pin if the fabric has a ripple in it. That means 1 side has a little fullness and will not lay flat, usually due to any of the things mentioned in this post. If the fullness is a lot, I rip it and begin the seam again. if this iss your 1st effort, I think you did really well.

  23. #23
    Super Member LeslieFrost's Avatar
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    Here's another suggestion: Find a quilt design that does not require seam matching, like bricks, or strippy quilts! As a beginner, your best bet is to attempt something that you can be successful with.

    Also: Your blocks are not that far off. Some mis-matching can be compensated with by pinning the seams together and easing in the excess on one block. Or, you can find the wonky seam and re-sew it to even up that block.

    When I began quilting, I was an experienced sewer of clothing and household items, but it took me awhile to really absorb the special rules of quilting, especially the emphasis on keeping those seams straight and even and the same size, over and over again. It comes, but it takes paying attention and doing it over and over again.

    Best of luck, and keep on asking questions!

  24. #24
    Member gladgirl's Avatar
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    I've learned over the years to square up each block before sewing the blocks together. If you have one block that isn't up to the measurement it's supposed to be, it can throw everything off. Sometimes when I have a complicated block with lots of pieces to it, such as a pineapple pattern, I'll square up 2 - 3 times during the time the block is being constructed.

  25. #25
    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    There can be several different things that happen to change your seam allowance. Here are a couple of the main things.... if you have to change your needle, make sure you get the same size needle that you have been using; do all of your sewing on the same machine (changing machines can cause your sewing to be off); press your blocks, don't iron them (ironing is moving the iron back and forth...pressing is putting the iron down on the seam and then picking it up again).

    I do a lot of measuring. When I sew two blocks together as a set, I check out the measurements to make sure that they are coming out the correct size. If I need to, I trim the set of blocks before I sew them to the next set.

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