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Thread: Will I ever get better at matching seams?

  1. #1
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    Will I ever get better at matching seams?

    Hi everyone! I'm a beginner but I've been trying to quilt for the last 6 months. Will I ever get better at matching seams? I watch a lot of tutorials and they just speed on through rows and everything looks great. Even if I go super slow my seams don't ever seem to match. Is this just something I'll get with practice?

  2. #2
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    It would be good to know how you are now matching the seams. then might be able to give some advice.

  3. #3
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holice View Post
    It would be good to know how you are now matching the seams. then might be able to give some advice.
    Not sure how you are doing it either? Are all your seam the same size?

  4. #4
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    Seams lining up starts with accurate cutting. If your pieces are out even 1/16 th, it does add up over several pieces and before you know it, your seam is out 1/4 inch. It helps to pin your intersections and if you need to ease in extra fullness, put the bigger square next to the feed dogs when sewing the pieces together. The feed dogs will use up a little extra fabric. Some people like to match up the seams and put a tiny drop of Elmer's washable school glue to hold the pieces together. Use a dry iron to temporarily fuse the pieces together with the glue.

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    Yes, I'm currently working on a charm square quilt. It's supposed to be simple. I'm sewing all of my squares in rows with a 1/4" seam allowance. I even started measuring each square after I sew one on to make a row and see that it is exactly 4.75 inches. My problem is when I sew my rows together. It keeps getting off. Also I am pressing to the dark side, so my seams will nest. The first few are fine, but by the end of the row they are not nesting.

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    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Sewing machines differ in how accurately they sew two layers together. Mine is pretty good, but I have also sewn on machines that definitely feed the bottom layer faster. With this type of machine, holding your top strip higher helps. Otherwise, using a walking foot helps.

    When I want really accurate matching of seams, I glue baste with Elmer's washable school glue before sewing. Works better than pins for me.

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    Junior Member Retiree's Avatar
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    Are you pinning each intersection? Where seams from the charms meet?

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    Super Member CoventryUK's Avatar
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    Practice,practice and practice some more!!!
    Hilary

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    Super Member Krisb's Avatar
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    After ten+ years of quilting and over 50 of sewing, my seams still would not march perfectly without pinning. At first, I thought that "when I got good" they would just fit like a glove. But even a thread or too off will keep that from happening. Don't feel as if pinning is some admission of failure.
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

  10. #10
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    My latest trick is a drop of Elmer's school glue at the intersections. I tried this with my 9 year old granddaughter and she had matching seams, because of the miracle of the school glue. Of course if the pieces are way off, this won't work, but, I cut the squares so they were pretty close.

  11. #11
    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    A little tip I do...I first pin each seam then I run a basting stitch...take out my pins ck and if not lines up easy to pull right out if lines up just run your reg stitch over the basting stitch...SEW SIMPLE...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retiree View Post
    Are you pinning each intersection? Where seams from the charms meet?
    I haven't tried pinning each intersection. I guess I assumed I should be able to do it like the gals on the tutorials.

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    definitely need to pin. You may need to lift your pressure foot half way thru each block to let the fabric lay back down. The pressure foot is probably pushing the top fabric harder than the feed dogs are pulling the bottom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    Sewing machines differ in how accurately they sew two layers together. Mine is pretty good, but I have also sewn on machines that definitely feed the bottom layer faster. With this type of machine, holding your top strip higher helps. Otherwise, using a walking foot helps.
    What do you mean by holding my top strip higher?

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    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Nesting the seams and pinning help alot. Even if your seams are good, sometimes it doesn't match up because fabrics can stretch a little. So one might stretch a lot and another not much. Pinning really helps. I slow down as I get to the pin and take it out at the last minute. If necessary, I give a little tug while sewing to compensate for one being a little off. if the whole row is larger than another, put that row on the bottom when you sew.

  16. #16
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I've been quilting for about a dozen years now. I quit sewing rows. I sew my squares or blocks into four patches and then sew those four patches into giant four patches until I have my top sewn into four quarters. Then I sew the top two quarters together and the bottom two together and I have only one full width seam.

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    I once took a precision machine piecing workshop from Sally Collins, and it is hands down the best class I have ever taken. If you can get a copy of her book, it is worth it's weight in gold. I have only adopted a few of her methods, and my piecing life is sooo much easier! She does machine pieced miniature quilts which are made of very complex miniature blocks, perfectly pieced. She knows her stuff!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen View Post
    I've been quilting for about a dozen years now. I quit sewing rows. I sew my squares or blocks into four patches and then sew those four patches into giant four patches until I have my top sewn into four quarters. Then I sew the top two quarters together and the bottom two together and I have only one full width seam.
    That sounds like a great idea!

  19. #19
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    I was taught to pin at the intersection, very carefully, making sure that the pin goes easily through the intersection (of course the seams are nested first) then pin the opposite seams also and then sew very, very slowly and you can sew over the pins and that will usually do it for me. Cutting is huge tho' and if your aren't accurate with your cutting everything goes off!!! I also got a charm pack that wasn't cut correctly and really made a mess of my quilt!!

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    Yes! Sew into blocks instead of rows...works much better!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stitchnripper View Post
    My latest trick is a drop of Elmer's school glue at the intersections. I tried this with my 9 year old granddaughter and she had matching seams, because of the miracle of the school glue. Of course if the pieces are way off, this won't work, but, I cut the squares so they were pretty close.
    This is a good idea. I'll use it in school when I work with the kids sewing.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkyrue01 View Post
    Yes, I'm currently working on a charm square quilt. It's supposed to be simple. I'm sewing all of my squares in rows with a 1/4" seam allowance. I even started measuring each square after I sew one on to make a row and see that it is exactly 4.75 inches. My problem is when I sew my rows together. It keeps getting off. Also I am pressing to the dark side, so my seams will nest. The first few are fine, but by the end of the row they are not nesting.
    Are you PRESSING OR IRONING? If you are not careful you can iron it out of shape. I always pin mine. I also have a 5 inch needle that I use as a steleto. I put the point in the top piece at a 1/4 inch and again on the bottom AS I am sewing, nothing moves. Keep trying. lol
    Syl

  23. #23
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    pin - pin- pin!! even with pinning my half square triangles sometimes don't line up.

  24. #24
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    Try measuring all the squares in the row. The first and last square should measure 4.75 -- all those in between should measure 4.50. If they all measure the same, they should lock together. However, if they are off slightly, just pin. Line up the seam, stick a pin straight through the seam (look on the back to make sure the pin is coming out through the seam and not the allowance), keep that pin straight while placing a pin on either side catching the allowances, then remove the first pin leaving the two in the seam allowances. I place my pins so that the points are toward the edge. They seem less likely to get caught on my presser foot that way, and they are easy to remove with my left hand. Also, when possible feed the fabric so that the seam allowance is toward the needle rather than facing away. I find that the pinking shear cut on precut pieces are difficult to line up evenly and get exact measurements. I highly recommend Harriet Hargrave's Quilting Academy Series. She has four books out - Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior. I had trouble getting my seams to lock until I followed her lessons. The first time I put seams together and didn't have to pin was exciting. Her methods aren't speedy, but they are accurate. Getting the correct measurement of your square or block is more important than an exact 1/4 inch seam. Good luck.

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    I learned the most I ever have about piecing from this book. I checked it out at the library. The best for me was how to accurately chain piece, ending with the needle down and butting the next piece to be sewn against it. Pin, pin, pin and go slow. Going slow means you can sew over pins. Loved it!

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