Searching for ways to improve your quilts and quilting skills? Follow the seven tried-and-true tips below. These easy tips are helpful for both experts and novices, and can be used to create beautiful, quality quilts.
Nailing the Quarter Inch Seam Allowance
1. Cut and Stitch Accurately
Better cuts make better quilts™. Make sure whatever you use to cut your fabric is sharp for cleaner, more accurate cuts. Something like the AccuQuilt GO! fabric cutters is perfect. It enables you to precisely and cleanly cut any shape you can imagine. It also cuts up to six layers of fabric at once. If you want a shape that isn't offered as part of a template or pattern, think about custom cutting dies from Custom Shape Pros. They can make virtually whatever shape you wish.
Why Quilters Love the GO! Fabric Cutters to Make Quilts
When you stitch, take your time. Rushed stitching leads to mistakes, which leads to the always frustrating seam ripping. Also, don't be afraid to practice--it's the best way to improve! Practice stitching with discarded fabric patches. The more you do it, the better you'll get.
2. Don't Forget to Press
Pressing is vital in ensuring each segment of your quilt is smooth. Follow these steps to ensure you're pressing correctly:
- Make sure your iron is on the highest heat setting for cotton
- Use steam
- Do NOT move the iron back and forth like you're ironing clothing. This will distort and stretch the fabric. Instead, press straight down on the fabric with the iron and hold for a few seconds.
3. Proper Tools Make Quilting Easier
- It's simple advice, but valuable. Using shoddy tools can affect the integrity of your fabric segments, which results in a less-than-stellar quilt.
- Keep your blades sharp. Dull blades on fabric results in sloppy edges.
- Change the needle on your sewing machine regularly, preferably before every new quilting project.
- Keep rulers in numerous sizes handy. Accuracy is paramount when you make quilts, and taking proper measurements is part of that. Multiple sizes of rulers are helpful because you'll always be able to take accurate measurements no matter the size of the fabric swatch. Rulers also help you make straight edges or lines.
4. Keep a Calculator Close When Quilting
Quilting requires basic command of simple math. Whether you're planning a border or adding up how much fabric to purchase, a calculator enables you to do all of this quickly and easily. Even if you're confident in your math skills, it's helpful to have a calculator at your quilting station to check figures or quickly work out a calculation. A calculator also helps you figure out how fabric pieces of assorted sizes add up and how to fit them in a block or on a quilt.
5. Measure Twice, Cut Once
It's an old adage, but an excellent one because it's true. Double check your measurements before you cut. It saves you money, material and most importantly frustration. Even if you're certain about your measurements, double check. Better to be extra certain than angry when you realize you didn’t measure correctly and cut the wrong size. Of course, with the GO! Cutting Systems, most of the measuring is done for you.
6. Embrace the Starch
Starching fabric while pressing is one of the best ways to ensure accuracy. It helps stiffen the fabric, which prevents distortion as you handle and pin fabric pieces, cut, measure and stitch. Best of all, starch washes out easily, leaving you with a soft quilt.
7. Don't Freak Out Over Mistakes
Even the most seasoned quilter makes mistakes. It's vital to stay positive and not let a misstep ruin your mindset. Learning from mistakes is what helps you improve. Remember: almost any mistake can be remedied or re-purposed for a different project.