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Quilting Tips

A Common Thread Fabrics

 

Quick Tip 10: The true 1/4-inch seam allowance is very important for well pieced quilts. One way to make sure that you are sewing with a true 1/4-inch seam allowance is to cut 2 strips of fabric, each 1 1/2 inches wide by 3 to 4 inches long. Sew them together with a 1/4-inch seam, press and measure. The pieced fabric section should measure 2 1/2 inches wide (1 1/2 + 1 1/2 = 3. Subtract 1/2 inch for seams or 3 - 1/2 = 2 1/2). Practice until your seams are a true 1/4 inch. 

Quick Tip 9: Are you having trouble hiding the ends of threads when you end a line of sewing. One of the nicest methods of hiding threads is to cut them several inches long and then hide them under the layer of fabric with a needle. However, this can be very time consuming. To make this easier and faster, use an “Easy Threading” needle – you don’t put the thread through the eye of the needle, rather it is “pulled” into an eye from the side of the thread. You can’t go backwards with this needle, but it can save hours of time.

Quick Tip 8: Do you use templates when you appliqué either by machine or by hand? To make quick but durable templates, cover both sides of your paper pattern with clear Contact paper and cut out the shapes. You will want to make any informational marks on the template before you put the Contact paper on it. These templates will last an amazingly long time.

Quilting Tip 7: If you have had problems appliquéing a stem or other bias strip, try this: 
Appliqué the inside of the curve first, then the outside. If you are appliquéing a meandering or wavy line, have two needles threaded, one for each side of the bias strip. Appliqué the inside curve down until you get to the point where the inside curve changes to an outside curve, then use the other needle and appliqué down the outside curve (you just sewed the inside part of this curve) and move to the new inside curve. You will need to appliqué in one direction only - sewing under the bias strip with one needle and over the bias strip with the second needle.

Quilting Tip 6: When you are selecting fabrics for a new project, try out the fabrics by placing them together. If you have a fabric that will only be in small pieces, hide all but a small portion of that fabric. Show lots of the main fabric. By looking at relative amounts of each of the fabrics in the quilt before buying, you will have a better idea of how your quilt will look when it is pieced.

Quilting Tip 5: Are you collecting fabrics for a special quilt and are having trouble finding just what you need? Use a 3 X 5 card or a small piece of paper and glue the fabrics that you have collected onto the paper. This will fit in your purse and you can take it with you when you go fabric shopping. When you are looking at all those wonderful fabrics, take out your card and you will be able to match your fabric. Happy shopping!

Quilting Tip 4: If you use a thimble while quilting, you may find that sometimes the thimble is too small and sometimes it is too big. This is because if your fingers may be bigger when your hands are warm than they are when your hands are cold. Purchase a couple of different sizes of thimbles and you will always have one that is comfortable.

Quilting Tip 3: The needle you use in your sewing machine will make a difference in your finished quilt. There are lots of sewing machine needles to chose from and with the many new threads that are available, the choice of the correct needle even more important than before. But, which one works best for quilting, or decorative stitching, or serging? What size is best for what? What are the differences? Click here to pull up a printable article which is an excellent reference on needles. 

Quilting Tip 2: Be creative when looking at fabric.  For example, a large print can be cut apart and used as appliqué pieces or for special coloring accents for a pieced quilt.  Purchase small cards or card stock and cut out various shapes or "windows" the size of the pieces that you will be using to piece or appliqué. If you have a specific pattern you are buying fabric for, use the pieces as templates for the little windows. Put these card "windows" over the fabric you are considering purchasing to determine if you like the texture and print, as well as the color. A piece of fabric looks quite different in small pieces than it does on a bolt.

Quilting Tip 1: Going on a summer vacation and want to quilt but a big project just won't work?  Plan a handwork project - something that you can take with you.  A hand piecing project or an appliqué project are perfect to go with you in a car, to the beach or the mountains.  You could pack a tote bag with some of the latest quilt magazines and a new quilt book, along with your handwork project.  You also might include a few colored pencils and some graph paper to sketch those quilt ideas that come to you on the road.  A listing of quilt shops in the area you are going to be traveling through will make stops a lot of fun-don't forget to stop at A Common Thread to pick up supplies for your project!  Have a great trip!

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