Friday, January 24, 2014

pdq* Club [*PRETTY DARN QUICK] - January 2014 Edition


The pdq* Club [*PRETTY DARN QUICK] was so much fun last year that we asked Jill Finley of Jillily Studios to continue it this year. This year will be a little different though. Jill will still design some beautiful projects but she will also give us her best quilting tips. This month Jill gives us some of her great tips for piecing. 

Before we get to the January Edition of the club though, we want to show off Jill's latest fabric collections. Twirl and Jams & Jellies are sweet collections with lots of ballerinas, ballerina flats and fresh basics. The collections should be hitting the quilt shop shelves sometime in February. Meanwhile, you can view the entire lines and also download the pretty quilt pattern on our website here.




Hello Quilters!   This year I think I will use my PDQ Club to share some tips with you that I have learned through trial and (many) errors.  Every once in a while I will give you a free pattern, and we will learn a lot through the year.  Join me every month for my PDQ Club, and we will all be Pretty Darn Quick quilters!!!

Some Tips for Piecing Perfection

We all would love to have perfectly pieced blocks with no cut off points, and matching seams, but it doesn’t always work out that way!  Since fabric is woven, it has “give” and can stretch and ease--  even when we don’t want it to.  So here are a few tips you can use to make your piecing more accurate.


1.   SCANT ¼” SEAM ALLOWANCE:   Quilters usually use a ¼” presser foot on their machines.  But even with this foot, and perfect ¼” seams, sometimes your block ends up a little small.  That is because it takes a little bit of fabric to “turn over” the seam and that can make a difference.  Make sure you use a SCANT ¼” seam allowance, following the 1/4” mark before your foot rather than the edge of the foot.  (This is especially true if you are sewing with tiny pieces!)


2.  PRESS AS YOU GO:  Don’t wait until the block is done to press.  Press after each seam, and give it a shot of steam to “block” it in place.  If you use the long, side edge of your iron to open up the newly sewn piece, it won’t distort like using the point of the iron.  



3.  TRIM DOWN TO SIZE:  If  your block uses smaller sub units, like half–square-triangles, I like to make them a little larger, then trim them down to be exactly the right size, with the points exactly in the corners.  

These are just a few little tips to give you more accuracy in your piecing.  But don’t worry too much about it—after all, if you try this and still have less-than-perfect blocks, remember the galloping horse theorem:

“If you can’t see it from a galloping horse, it doesn’t matter.”
--annonymous 

Thanks Jill!  Great tips.
Tell us your favorite tip by January 31, 2014 at 4 p.m. and we will pick a random winner to win a bundle of fabric [our choice] to get you inspired.

Have a great weekend.

-hg


80 comments:

Diane H said...

Always use a sharp blade in your rotary cutter. Thanks for the great tips.

carolann said...

Using a scant 1/4 inch and proper pressing are key to getting accurate blocks.

DebrafromMD said...

Using a thin thread to piece also takes up less room in the seam allowance. My favorite is Aurifil.

Robin said...

My best tip, at least for myself, is to not cut fabric when I'm tired. Too apt to make mistakes and waste fabric! :)

Connie Cain said...

I always trim down to size on my HSTs. I am trying to use a scant 1/4 inch (just got the 1/4 inch down). :) Being a newbie, I really appreciate the tips.
craftyccain@gmail.com

Vicki H said...

I like to use leaders and enders when chain piecing so the thread doesn't gob up under the first piece in the chain.

Sandie @ crazy'boutquilts said...

Measure every section before putting a block together. All is it takes is one segment the wrong size to mess up the whole block. ;-) When paper piecing, always fold the paper on all the sew lines before beginning~ the paper comes off so much easier! I love the PDQ projects!

Cecilia said...

I like to square up each patch in a block. It makes the block go together easily and it isn't wonky.

KatieQ said...

My favorite tip is to square up your blocks before you sew them together to avoid unplanned wonky blocks.

Cowtown Quilts said...

What cute fabric! I wish I'd had some of that before I made my last quilt - it's pink, white, and black.

Kathie said...

Measure, measure and then cut your fabric!

Beth said...

Man, I just read the first ten tips, and each of them is brilliant and right on the money. Changing my rotary blade and changing the needle on my sewing machine makes a big difference in the smoothness of the process. It's always worth the time.

Judy1522 said...

Always buy a little more fabric than you actually need. One mistake when cutting and you may not have quite enough of the fabric you need. If you don't make the quilt right away you may not be able to find the needed fabric later.

Lynda said...

Pressing (not ironing) is most important, but if you are sewing two pieces together and one has more give then the other, put it on the bottom as the feed dogs will do the easing for you and you will continue to match seams

Anonymous said...

The best tip in my quilting is simply measure twice, cut once.... Sometimes the rushing creates more time problems. I love the gallloping horse theory, that is true!!! If you are ever in an antique shop, look at a quilt, not perfect, but stood the test of time!! Mary
9outof10@p7sales.com

Sunnybec said...

Measure, then measure again...oh how I wish I had followed this tip when I am in a rush!! I also sew my binding on and then quilt the outer border, it makes it easier to see where my quilting is going. Thanks for the giveaway.

Renea said...

When making HST's I always cut my fabric a little larger than called for and then trim to size after sewing. Thanks for the great giveaway.

Dee D said...

I always cut my half-square triangles a little larger than needed so that I can trim to exactly the right size and also so that I can center the seam.

Dee D said...

I always cut my half-square triangle units a little later than necessary so that I know i can get the correct size and so that I can center the seam.

Podunk Pretties said...

Great tips! I always starch my fabric before cutting, this helps with stretching during piecing and pressing. It also helps with those pesky raveling issues.

Sandy said...

A friend told me to lower my stitch length a little for more accurate seams and it really works for me. The smaller stitch length seems to stop the fabric from shifting side to side as I piece. Thanks for all the great tips!

Tabitha Keener said...

My favorite tip is the scant 1/4" seam allowance. I'm a new quilter/sewer and this tip saves me a lot of time compared to all of the seams I've had to rip out! I'm doing better at it now, but I think it's great to get repeated reminders until it's so ingrained it will be second nature! Thanks for a chance, I love your website and your fabric is one of the reasons I quilt!
tdkcarpenoctem@hotmail.com

jmniffer said...

Treat fabric with sizing before cutting and use a smaller stitch size when piecing. Thanks for your tips, I learned something new.

Helen L said...

thanks Jill for your tips!! I loved seeing you at Road to Calif! And my tips are, sew the blocks bigger and trim down to the right size: the Bloc-Loc rulers are fabulous for this!! And don't cut fabric after 1am!!! :-)

Heidi said...

For me, it is a good idea to have the seam ripper near by! But my tip is to actually use it! Taking the time to correct a seam that is not 1/4" can avoid a headache down the road:-)

Deb said...

You always see the instruction to "Read all directions before beginning." Easier said than done especially if as a quilter you think you already know what to do. But I've found that if I just take time to sit down and think through all the directions first, then mistakes are less likely to happen.

Tammy Lawson said...

rubber cement on the back of templates and rulers to keep them from slipping

Tammy Lawson said...

rubber cement on the back of templates and rulers to keep them from slipping

Teri Seal said...

Don't sweat the small stuff—a quilt can absorb a thousand small errors as long as the same exact error isn't make a thousand times.

Cheryl said...

Use the Blok loc tool when squaring up a HST.

Dee said...

Use a wooden TV tray cover it with batting and ironing board fabric and you have a portable iron board for classes or by your machine to press those blocks.

DebraKay Neiman said...

The most important I have LEARNED since following the bloggers hints is how to set the seam and then press open toward the darker fabric (usually), as well as planning a pressing guide to let blocks snap together easier. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

Kay said...

The thing that has improved my piecing the most is using the u-shape pins to pin seams & they match up perfectly.

Nancy said...

Have fun - Quilt Police don't exist!

Karens Quilts, Crows and Cardinals said...

My tip is to use precise seam allowance. Using three pieces of 1.5 inch wide fabric, sew them together side by side, set the seams by pressing flat and then pressing to one side, flip over and measure the middle piece of fabric. It should measure 1 inch exactly. If not your seam allowance needs to be adjusted.

carolann said...

I always press my fabric prior to cutting and measure carefully. carolann427@aol.com

Sallie said...

Remove your bobbin case and clean under it.

Christine S said...

Great tips! I say measure TWICE before cutting, I learned the hard way :)

Mary Jean said...

Press and trim as you go ....it makes all the difference? I keep a portable pressing board on the table to my right to press each seam. If you have to get up to go to your ironing board you probably will skip this step.

GranChris said...

Have fun, start with an easy pattern and never cut or sew when you are tired. You WILL make a mistake. Buy extra fabric just for this reason. Oh yes read that pattern 3 or 4 times before you start.

Denise Mitchell said...

Always read all of the directions before you start a project!

SewCalGal said...

Great post and I'm very interested in any tip/technique you can share for precision piecing.

My little tip....Iron down some freezer paper on top of your ironing board (shiny side down) before you work with iron on adhesives. Helps to keep your ironing board cover clean.

SewCalGal
www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

Bethany M said...

Buy a quarter inch foot for your sewing machine!! It saves me a whole lot of headaches.

Hey ... I'm Lindsay ! said...

DO NOT try to talk on a cell phone while cutting. I was "balancing" my phone on my shoulder while cutting ... the phone went to slip, and instant reaction is to try to catch it with the hand holding my cutter ... sharp lesson learned! :p

Hey ... I'm Lindsay ! said...

DO NOT try to talk on a cell phone while cutting. I was "balancing" my phone on my shoulder while cutting ... the phone went to slip, and instant reaction is to try to catch it with the hand holding my cutter ... sharp lesson learned! :p

Deb G. in VA said...

When picking out fabric for a quilt, I like to find a print that I like and coordinate colors around that print. I also buy a little more fabric than I need, so if I make a mistake or change my mind, I won't have to go searching for more fabric. I think the best tip is "measure twice, cut once", a tip my dad always told me when working with wood, but applies as well to fabric!

Unknown said...

Enjoy your work when you're not tired. I find working when I'm tired leads to problems and errors.
Thanks
Natalie

Debbie Rogowski said...

Tape is my friend, I like to mark my machine's throat with tape (usually the blue painters tape) for unusual seam lines. I sometimes, less often than I need to, use it on my templates too for repeated cuts.

Potpourri said...

Measure twice and then cut!

Margaret said...

Just remember to have fun. Use an accurate quarter inch seam and cut with a sharp blade.

Sue B Honey said...

I draw a 1/4 inch line on my sewing machine table surface, using a permanent marker. This helps me get my fabric lined up and ready to sew. Another idea is to use a sticky tape (thick) to help guide fabric. These can be purchased (can't remember the name of the product). Either of these things can be placed at a scant 1/4 inch.

Bev said...

Put a pillow on your lap when you appliqué and this helps to bring your work closer to you so won't be bending your head down and stressing out your neck.

LisaT said...

Take the time upfront to properly cut your pieces, you will be grateful vs. disappointed in the end.

PK Sews said...

Use 50 weight thread for piecing. It sews beautifully! Thanks for the fun. These are great tips!

Dawn Jones said...

Measure twice (maybe three times) cut once.

Maggie Smith said...

I always make sure I measure 3 times before cutting. Boy have I made some major mistakes only measuring once!!! Thanks!

Girl Geek said...

As a beginning quilter I don't really have any tips yet. I'll remember several of the ones already posted though!

Sarah Duehr
girlgeek314@gmail.com

quilter said...

I try to stick to measure twice, cut once.

Janet Monahan said...

Only purchase first quality quilting cottons! The difference in price will show quickly when inferior fabrics are paired with good quality ones. When washed, poor quality fabrics will also shrink more.

Melissa Smith said...

To mark the 1/4inch spacing instead of relying on the feet/machine marks.

matope said...

dont measure with your kids on your lap. they will find a way to move your template!

Bethany Wells said...

Ahh, barely made it in time. =)
My favorite tip, being a perfectionist is always "measure twice, cut once"
Save so much frustration and your project will turn out so beautiful!
ajandbethany09@gmail.com

ps: love grey/green color combos!

Lisa Marie said...

Make a test block before cutting all the pieces for a whole quilt.
(I thought I left a comment on this post earlier but I don't see it so I'm trying again)

Melissa @ Missouri Mel said...

I use my Clover Wonder Clips to organize and hold together fabric pieces for each block when I'm making a quilt.

patricia said...

Use a bamboo stiletto to hold those small pieces straight and sew slowly. No rush!

Judy V said...

I like to make my half square triangles a bit larger and trim them to size. That way I do not have to worry about them all being different sizes.

Fibercrafter said...

Press seams flat, then from the back side, then from the top - no pleats this way.

robin springer said...

I do not have a tip to give, for I am new to quilting. But, I am learning from other very generous people, like yourselves. Thank all of you for the great tips.

robin springer said...

I do not have a tip, for I am new to quilting. However I wish to say thank you to all the wonderful tips I have read and from all the generous people I have met at my local quilt shop. THANK YOU ALL.

Terry@ a quilting blog said...

Measure twice and cut once.

delaineelliott said...

Always measure twice and cut once.

Kim said...

Just recently discovered the need for the scant 1/4" - - - makes such a difference! Also the shot of steam to set the block before folding over and ironing!

P Bybee said...

pramuditahandaristi @ gmail . com

the best tip that has been given to me is to read all the steps and make sure I understand every steps before I start.

Jo said...

A sharp needle helps

robin springer said...

I do not have a tip to give, for I am new to quilting. But, I am learning from other very generous people, like yourselves. Thank all of you for the great tips.

barb said...

Change your rotary cutter blade often so you always have a clean cut on your fabric. babscorbitt@gmail.com

Betsy said...

I like to appliqué all my like colored items at the same time to save time changing threads

Mara said...

I will have to use the side of my iron, I have always used the tip, maybe that is my problem.

Lee said...

Always put in a new sewing needle before starting quilting. Thanks!

Dianne Nanney said...

as my quilt friend mentor said, "it can't be seen from a galloping horse..." thus mistakes become my signature for that project :) in other words, only the good Lord is perfect so ENJOY!