Jan 19, 2011

Wip Wednesday 1

Ladies I need your help for my sanity and for the sake of my growing as a quilter.What erks me so badly about this quilting thing is I cut all this fabric up. Then I sew it together. I make sure I have a quarter inch seam. I bought a special foot just for this. I square my blocks up too. I sew all blocks into strips still using my special foot and then WHAM I go to sew my strips together and maybe only four blocks match up and then there anywhere from an 1/8 to and actually inch off. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? I need some tips.


Andy said...

ack! How frustrating! I have no idea why that would be happening. It sounds like you're doing everything right! I guess my only thought would be if you are maybe pulling on the fabric at all as you sew, that would stretch out the rows and cause them to not match up. ??

felicity said...

Your quilts looks so cozy!!

As for your matching problem: are you pinning your rows together before sewing? If you put the pieces right sides together, and pinch the seam together, you should be able to flip the piece over and see whether the seams are matching. When they are lined up, pin on both sides of the seam. And keep practicing - you will get more accurate, I promise!

Lisa said...

I agree that pinning will help. I pin alot because I was having a similar problem when I first started to quilt. If you lay the rows right sides together and start in the middle, then pin out to the ends, that way if you need to fudge a little here or there, it's not as noticeable as if you have an intersection off by 1/2."

Lilysunshine said...

I sew my blocks in blocks.
For example your quilt is (numbers for rows and letters for columns):
1A 1B 1C 1D
2A 2B 2C 2D
3A 3B 3C 3D
4A 4B 4C 4D

When it comes to sew blocks together, I sew 1A and 1B, then 2A and 2B together, then I sew those 2 mini rows to form a 4 blocks patch.
This way, I don't get to sew looooong rows and there is less chance of seams not lining up.

I also try to press my seams in alternate directions, so that I can butt them together when I sew the pieces together.

Oh, and I pin quite a bit.

I hope that I make sense and that it helps! :)

elle said...

Don't dispair! There is hope but it comes with practice. Are your fabrics all cottons? That makes a difference. I'd butt my seam allowances and pin till you get the hang of it. Troublesome larger blocks can be eased into position if the ease is small (1/8 to 1/4) but put the biggest patch down so the feed dogs can feed it in while the smaller top patch holds steady. Happy and content is possible! ;)

Kristy said...

I agree, pinning is an invaluable help. The other thing I need to be carfeul of is the way I press so I don't end up with the same issues.

I have a habit that make my mother (and probably heaps of other quilters too) cringe in that I use steam when pressing and I move the iron around when pressing and press from the front. Apparently all three of these things are huge no-nos because it can stretch the fabric and then it gets all out of shape. According to Mum you are supposed to press with a dry iron, set the seam and then iron it flat from the back and press down and not move the iron, lift it before moving to a different spot.

However, I keep doing it because I think it makes a crisper seam, I just have to remember to check my square, sometimes I make a template on a scrap of muslin and iron on that and sometimes I just have to accept that my stubborness has consequences.

Hope this helps.

KatieQ said...

I agree with LilySunshine about sewing into blocks of 4 at a time rather than strips. I find that when I sew in strips, I am more likely to have problems matching seams. From the pictures you have shown, it looks as though you have a small variation in the width of your seam allowance that is adding up as you are sewing them into strips. Even a thread width or two in each block can add up to 1/4 or 1/2 inch in a row of blocks.

I also agree with the comments about using pins. It may add time to your work, but it does help with accuracy.

The flange on your 1/4 inch foot may be moving a little as you feed your fabric through. The edge may be giving you a little less or a little more than the 1/4 inch you think you are getting and it may not be noticeable until you put them together.

For someone who never manages to finish anything, I always have a lot to say.

KatieQ said...

I forgot to mention how much I like your hand print quilt.

Andrea said...

Oh so, frustrating! Even though you have a 1/4" foot, it often isn't 'scant', meaning, just slightly under. Apparantly thread, pressing can also translate into slightly off measurements.

I'd start first with doing a few nine patch blocks for practice and really perfect that 1/4" seam. It's really amazing what 1-2 mm difference will make.

And yes, as you put your blocks together, do pin the seams ahead of time. Then, if you are slightly off somewhere you can gently ease/stretch to make them match.

Also when you sew your blocks, do not stretch or pull. Ironing - PRESS but don't iron. Ironing slightly stretches the fabric.
It's all an incredible art. It'll all come together after a few more quilts! Keep at it!

Cheryl Arkison said...

As long as you are using the same seam allowance every time, it shouldn't matter whether it is 1/4, 1/8, or 1/2''. As long as you are being consistent throughout the entire quilt.

Pressing may be part of your problem. Pressing before you even cut is important. And by pressing I don't mean holding on to the end of the fabric and pulling while you slide the iron around. Try pressing with one hand if you have a tendency to pull.

After you sew I recommend setting the seam. That is, press right after you sew, before you flip over the one side to press the seam. I prefer to press to one side. If you think about how you are going to put your rows and blocks together, you can press so that seams going next to each other can be pressed in opposite directions. That way, when you go to put your seams together to sew, you can actually butt them up or nest them together before you pin. This really helps in lining up seams.

I hope some of this helps.

Practice makes perfect. Or at least, better.