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Thread: When the blocks aren't perfect

  1. #1
    sunnycat's Avatar
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    I'm making my first quilt, a pinwheel table topper. I've finished the pinwheel blocks, and some are larger than others. Some of the blocks are larger at the bottom than the top, or vice versa, as well. Some of it is due to imperfect cuts, some to imperfect seams. It's all fractions of inches. Should I cut the blocks so that they're all the same size before sewing them together, or just go with it? I'm worried that at a certain point, I will wind up with an irreversibly not-square quilt. Thanks.

    Also, if need be, I can post a pic of what I'm working on.

    The first pic is of the overall project. I'm not decided on the color order, yet, but this gives you an idea. The yellow block in the middle needs to be completely redone for the start.

    The second pic shows a block that isn't square. The top row is wider.
    Attached Images Attached Images


  2. #2

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    Sunny you should square up your blocks get a square ruller close to the size your finished size should be
    If your pinwheels are way off you might want to redo them.

  3. #3
    Super Member kwiltkrazy's Avatar
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    Love to have you post a picture. i would square them off before sewing them together, or you will end up with an unmatching mess.

  4. #4
    Power Poster cjomomma's Avatar
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    Throw them away and start over. I am just kidding. Square them up. If you don't then the quilt will be wonky, not square at all.

  5. #5
    Super Member kwiltkrazy's Avatar
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    Looks like you are doing pretty good, seems there may be a variation in your seams. Be sure you square them off from the middle, not just squared around the outside.

  6. #6
    Super Member Deecee's Avatar
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    Its best to square as you go or else the problem grows with the quilt. Re-do any blocks that you are not really happy with now or you won't ever be happy with the finished quilt.

  7. #7
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    You are not going to loose any points by squaring these up so that is what I would do.

  8. #8
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    Are you pressing the seams as you go, before adding the next section of the block? Looks like some of your seams aren't flat and this can make them uneven. I'd try pressing them and then square them up to the same size. You really matched up the centers nicely-that's where I run into trouble. I also like your color choices.

  9. #9
    Super Member lindyline's Avatar
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    All of the above, an press, press, press the seams.This is not the hobby?(wrong word?) for anyone who's not friendly withtheir iron.

  10. #10
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    Whenever working with bias edges, make sure your fabrics are starched stiff, the stiffer the better. It will make the bias "behave" better and when pressing will hold the press better. How did you make them-by putting 2 squares together, then sewing diagonally or did you cut the squares, cut diagonally, then sew? All good advice offered on here, I think.

    But, I do think you did a pretty good job, regardless.

  11. #11
    sunnycat's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice. I'll square them up. I have been pressing as I go with each step (assembly line style), but haven't given them their final block press.

  12. #12
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Pinwheels are forgiving when squaring up. You can cut them all the same size and not loose any of the pattern. The goal of a pinwheel block is getting no cut off points in the middle. I press my seams open when making pinwheel blocks.

  13. #13
    Senior Member QuiltMania's Avatar
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    Square them up. It will save frustration (and cussing) later.

  14. #14
    sunnycat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pocoellie
    Whenever working with bias edges, make sure your fabrics are starched stiff, the stiffer the better. It will make the bias "behave" better and when pressing will hold the press better. How did you make them-by putting 2 squares together, then sewing diagonally or did you cut the squares, cut diagonally, then sew? All good advice offered on here, I think.

    But, I do think you did a pretty good job, regardless.
    I put 2 squares together, then sewed diagonally.

    My fabrics weren't stiff at all. Part of my problem is that the muslin kept shifting and stretching while I was tracing the template shape.

  15. #15
    Super Member cherylynne's Avatar
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    You have a good start, but I would rip out the seams that have unmatched points and redo them. You will be happier with your finished product.

  16. #16
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    Wait until you have all your blocks made, measure them all, take the smallest one and square up the rest to match that one.

  17. #17
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    They should square up nicely. The problem I had in making pinwheels is that I tend to let my seams get smaller at the end of the piece I'm sewing together. This will really mess up the pinwheel block in the center when you put it together. You might want to check and make sure your seams are consistent all the way across. Your colors are really pretty. The quilt is gonna turn out nice.

  18. #18
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    Are you using a ruler or a template? Are you using scissors or a rotary cutter? If you're using a template, I would see if I couldn't buy a ruler as soon as possible. If you're using scissors, I would also try to get a cutter as soon as possible, and of course, if you don't have a mat, you'll need one of those. Get the biggest one you can afford. Sometimes you can find these things at yard sales or thrift stores too.

    For starching I use the concentrated starch, dilute 50/50 and spray it on pretty good, then I let it "soak" for at least 2 hours, then either air dry or put it in the dryer for a few minutes, then I iron. Starching will help tremendously, I believe.

  19. #19
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    Quilting is PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE...

    If it bothers you much, practice taking them apart and practice sewing together again. If they're cut incorrectly, practice cutting accurately again.

    At least that's what I did to learn how to piece accurately.

  20. #20
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Find your smallest block and square them all up to that size. It doesn't matter if the pattern said that they are all to be 12 1/2 and your's come out (once squared up) 11 1/2 it will just make the end result a little smaller. As long as they're square it will be okay.

    p.s. I think pinwheels or any other block with diagonal seams is harder to get to come out right than if you're using square pieces.

  21. #21
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    Be careful when you press half square triangles --- always press with the grain ---- not pulling out on the bias - it will distort your block.

  22. #22

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    This is much better than my first attempt. I didn't have this board then, or I would have improved much faster.

    I finally figured out that my 1/4 inch was not always the same. It might have been off only a smidge, but that was enough for my blocks to be not all the same. I now have a quilting foot with a little flange on the side that measures exactly 1/4 inch. It changed my quilting life! :-)

    You are doing a great job.

  23. #23
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    square using the 45 degree line on ruler and centering the ruler. then starch them before going further.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwiltkrazy
    Looks like you are doing pretty good, seems there may be a variation in your seams. Be sure you square them off from the middle, not just squared around the outside.
    can you explain how u square from the center ? thanks

  25. #25
    dls
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    I would suggest measuring your seams and making sure you have an accurate 1/4 inch seam on the ones that are not the correct size. Rip the incorrect seams out and resew. It may seem like a lot of work but when the project is finished you will be glad you did it correctly

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