Friday, September 18, 2009

How ro make an accurate quilt block

The two most important parts of the whole project are accurate cutting (measure twice, cut once), and making sure your seam allowance is a scant 1/4".

Some folks like to cut pieces a bit larger to give themselves a bit of fudge factor, which is totally fine ... my thought is to strive to get your pieces cut absolutely accurately. I find I am much more accurate when I am focused on one thing, relaxed, and paying total attention to what I am doing. I don't like to redo things or try to figure out how to fix things -- at least in my quilting :) In my kitchen it's a totally different story.

How do you attain a scant 1/4" seam? by measuring over and over until you get it right. A scant 1/4" generally means 1 or 2 threads less than 1/4". The thought might occur that it's only off by 1/16" which by itself would be no big deal. But what if there 8 seams trying to go together. OOOOPS now you have a 1/2" differential and your block really can't come out the right size.

Don't trust that your 1/4" foot really IS 1/4" -- test it out and measure it. Then mark your machine so you know every time where your seam allowance should be. There are many products on the market that make a little barrier you can put your fabric up against, some people put a line on their machine ... I have a strip of blue painter's masking tape on my machines.

Lastly, measure each step of your block for accuracy. Then you can catch any discrepancy before you have a whole block put together and find it's the wrong size. If your block is not the right size, 99% of the time it means your seam allowance is incorrect. So, give these hints a whirl and see how your blocks do :)

This quilt has a lot of angles and seams and pieces that are all made to go together perfectly :) For me, it means I have to work a little more diligently than I might for, say, a Yellow Brick Road quilt, or something else with larger pieces that can be fudged a little. This quilt is a work of accuracy and I believe at the end of the project you will find that you have developed some new skills in the cutting and piecing of your quilts!


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