Sunday, September 16, 2018

Tips for Quilters

  1. Use the application Layout on a smartphone to view possible quilt designs and block layouts - you can see secondary block patterns and your ideas will emerge.
2. When making single fold biding, leave a gap in the center when folding the sides inward (rather than having each raw edge meet as is more usual). This leaves some stretching space when pulling the binding over the quilt sandwich edge and prevents having to struggle to cover the binding seam.

3. Use a dental floss container to hold thread in a bobbin when traveling by air. There is a thread cutter already on the floss holder so you won’t need scissors.

4. When making small circles for applique, use liquid starch to wet the fabric then gather  tightly with a rubber band around your template (a coin, washer, plastic shape, etc). Allow to dry. The shape will be stiff and ready to trim and sewn down easily by hand or machine.

5. Use disposable mascara brushes (available at beauty supply stores) to clean the bobbin area of your sewing machine. 

6. Use picnic tablecloth clips to secure your backing and batting to a table edge for basting.

7. Use a glue stick to hold your binding strip in place on a quilt edge before stitching it down to finish.

8. Use an oak wooden half round molding strip from the hardware store as a platform on which to press patchwork seams open.

9. Put transparent tape on the bottom of your presser foot when sewing vinyl - this allows the foot to slide along without sticking.

10. Organize your fabric scraps by color near your machine when making a scrap quilt.

11. Use a clear jewelry case for organizing your notions - you can see and easily find the items.

12. Use a toolbox for carrying sewing supplies to a retreat or to travel.

13. Use a wallpaper seam roller to ‘finger press’ patchwork seams.

14. Use non-stick drawer liner plastic under your machine’s pedal to reduce slippage on the floor.

15. When using a seam ripper, cut only every 3 to 5 stitches then use the reverse side’s intact thread to rip out the seam.

16. Pin your borders in place and then sew them - this reduces rippling at the edges of your quilt.

17. Before you trim your quilted sandwich, use a stay stitch or zigzag stitch with a walking foot around the raw edge of your sandwich to hold the three layers together for binding.

18. Shanon Brinkley ( has a free video class on fusible applique with good instructions.

19. When cutting long lengths of fabric, use as barbell or weight (can of food) to hold your ruler in place to prevent slippage.

20. Use small dots of glue (Elmers, Roxanne’s) to hold your design together for piecing or applique instead of pins.

21. Use repositionable  tape to hold down the first fabric of a foundation pieced project instead of pins (they distort the foundation).

22. Use fusible wonder tape between zipper tape fabric and the raw edge of your desired print to hold a zipper in place for stitching.

Tips collected from focus groups of modern 
quilters during the September meeting of the guild.

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