Monday, January 30, 2012

ABC of Quilting Post # 15

Sorry for the delay with the ABC posts too... So here you go, you'll get 2 posts a day  from now on!!!

Today's first topic is O

Organized Sewing - Machine Piecing

The first and foremost thing to do before you start actually sewing blocks is marking the seam allowance on your sewing machine plate.

Take 3 pieces of fabric 2" squares.

Keeping the edge of the fabric carefully aligned with the edge of the presser foot you normally use, sew them together.

Measure the one in the center. The finished size will determine the seam allowance. If you want it to be an exact 1/4", do what I did to my machine.

Remove your presser foot. Turn the handle so that the needle is in a down position. (Make sure the stitch width is set to "0")

Using a ruler, mark 1/4" to the right side of the needle with a permanent marker.

Draw a line from this mark right upto the edge of the plate.

If you align your fabric to this line, you will have perfect 1/4" seams!

I find it easier to sew without pins by taking the fabric right side together and pressing it with a good blast of steam from my iron!

But I always use pins if I have differently cut pieces (especially those cut on the bias) or curved pieces.

Sewing Squares Together

Place the two pieces with right sides together and position under the presser foot. Turn the wheel to take the needle into the fabric a seam allowance width from the raw edges and then machine stitch the seam.  There is no need to backstitch, since you are making a quilt, most of your seams will run perpendicular to one another preventing the stitches from coming out. (Dont forget, even those on the edges of the blocks or quilt are going to have the binding stitches to arrest them!)

Chain Piecing

Block pieces can be chain stitched. Stitch two pieces together like you normally would and when you come to the end, just raise the presser foot and lace the next two under it and continue stitching without cutting the thread. It does save a lot of time (and thread too!) Leave small gaps between pieces and cut them after all of them are done.

Strip Piecing

In strip piecing, you sew two or more strips of fabric together and then cut them into smaller units.

This method is especially useful when you have to sew multiple tiny pieces together in the same order repeatedly.

Pressing Seams

I am a thorough follower of Elizabeth  and always  press my seam open. But some people advocate pressing them to one side. Choose whichever option you want but do press your seams. It is one of those little things that adds up to make your blocks look perfect.

Seams that are pressed open lie flatter and will be easier to machine quilt.

Press your seams using your index finger by laying the seam right side down on a firm surface and pressing it open. Follow by running the pointed edge of your iron along the seam and then press firmly with the entire iron on top of the seam. Turn the block right side up and press again for a more crisp look.

Seams that are pressed to the side are easier to center when sewing two of them together. 


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