Hope everyone is having a great Valentine’s day! The Husband and I went to the west coast this past weekend to do our annual V-day celebrations. Brewery trips for him and (new this year) fabric shops for me! I found some old circa 2012 Bonnie and Camille, Kate Spain, and Alison Glass in different stores. Pretty amazing I saw those bolts still in stores. It makes me wonder what other treasures are still hiding on local quilt shop shelves. One of the best quilting things that happened, my sister messaged me that she wanted to start the Ombre Gems Quilt Along. She is totally going to get hooked! As long as she eventually gets her sewing table set up! Thinking back to when I was starting quilting and the things I wish I knew back then, I figure I can at least help her out with some tips on all the things I wish I knew when I started out quilting. So here are some tips below! (Maybe I’ll add a few tips each week since I’m sure I won’t be thinking about all of them in this one post)
Let’s talk about seams today.
Typical quilting patterns are 1/4″ seams or seam allowance, meaning you are sewing a straight line 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric. Easy, right? Wrong. Typically, you want to sew what’s known as a scant 1/4″ seam. A scant 1/4″ is just a hair smaller than a real 1/4″ because once the fabric is pressed open, it accounts for the folded fabric to be 1/4″. Still confused?
Here’s how to test your seam allowance:
Get 3 blocks that are 2 1/2″ square.
Sew 2 blocks together and press the seams to the dark (don’t worry about pressing to the dark yet, I explain that below!). The length should be 4 1/2″.
Sew the 3rd block to one of the ends and press the seams to the dark. The length should be 6 1/2″. If it’s shorter, then your seam allowance is larger than 1/4″ and conversely if it’s longer, then your seam allowance is smaller than 1/4″
Seam allowances are very important for blocks that have a lot of seams within them. It not uncommon to have a block turn out to be larger or smaller than the finished size due to seam allowances being incorrect.
Once you’ve sewn your seams, you will need to press them. Pressing is more of an up-down motion rather than ironing which pushes and distorts the fabric. There are a lot of different ways you can press your seams. Before pressing the seams, make sure the iron on the seam itself. The sewing process actually makes the fabric pucker a little. One of the most common ways is to press the seams to the dark. This means you will press the piece open with the seams on the side of the dark, where dark means the darker fabric. The other popular way of pressing seams is pressing the seams open. This is used to eliminate some of the bulky seams and help the piece lay more flat. It is usually not preferred because the threads are the only thing keeping the pieces of fabric together rather than being reinforced with the seams when pressing to the dark.
One thing to note is pressing to the dark is relative, there are times where you would need to press to the lighter fabric to get the seams to nest properly. The phrase is used because older fabrics would show through the lighter one and to hide the seams you would need to put them to the darker fabric therefore pressing to the dark. The example above has the seams in the middle pressed open and then there are seams pressed to the dark or light on the others.
The last method of seams is a twist to pressing to the dark and it adds another step. It’s spinning the seams, but that is a discussion for another day. Spinning the seams also helps reduce bulk but can only be used when the seams intersect.
2/14-2/21 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday PM; Saturday afternoon, Monday PM
Projects I want to work on:
Modern Building Blocks
Quilter’s Planner Block
American’s Garden Quilt
Goals for the Projects:
QuiltCon Project: Prep for QuiltCon 2017!!!
Modern Building Blocks: Complete 8 Blocks
Quilter’s Planner Block: this week and next week
American’s Garden Quilt: Complete 2 Blocks
Chic Country: Finish the white centered blocks