Thursday, October 9, 2008

Templates To Trim Quilt Squares

Some times when assembling a quilt top with squares that I have made, I have problems. Problems making the individual squares line up and match at the corners. Remember, I am not that experienced; but I am a wee bit sloppy when it comes to cutting and sewing. I have learned that I can no longer apply the old carpenters saying "if it's close - nail it". I have learned that in quilting "close" is not enough. But still, I some times end up with some squares that just don't "measure up". Some one once told me the secret was to just stretch the squares and "pin the snot" out of them to assemble. I soon learned that that was no substitute for accuracy.

My solution was to make the squares a wee bit over sized and then use a template of the finished square size and trim all the squares. In this manner all the finished squares are exactly the same size. If you try this, make the template out of plexiglas so you can see through it to line it up to trim the squares. This technique will not work on some squares in which there are more than just the corners to match up. But it does work with the log cabin square. You just have to cut the last (outside) logs a wee bit wider (1/2 inch).

But, as I have been reminded, there is no substitute for accuracy, and accuracy comes with practice and experience. Or put in another way: practice, practice, practice....and practice!


Not Lucy said...

You can fudge a little with fabric but if you have to pin the snot out of something that is not a good sign! With the dawn of rotary cutters one of the factors in accurate quilting was made much easier. Another important thing is consistent seam widths. I have also found that trimming some of the elements of the block as you go along helps.

Trimming the blocks is not a good choice with many patterns. I helped a friend finish a quilt that she had started. She trimmed the all blocks to one size but that was not the size they needed to be to make the secondary design elements work. I had to do some figuring and it did turn out nicely but you really do have to be careful unless you won't wonkiness!

Remember, practice makes perfect (or something close enough that you can quilt it out).

Soukies said...

Well, you are not the only one with wonky blocks! Mine never seem to come out correctly. I did purchase a 1/4 inch foot and they are getting much better. Also, ironing is key too. Make sure you blot instead of ironing so you do not distort the seams.


Lynn said...

Welcome to blogging. I love the framed quilt blocks - can you add my name to your give away? I was told by a very experienced blogger that in order to get people to read your blog - you have to comment on other's blogs. I have a few that I regularly read and comment on and some others I read every week or so. Sometimes - I spend more time reading blogs than I do sewing :( But there is so much helpful information out there - I think my sewing skills have really improved since blogging. Don't worry about perfect that will come with practice. I'm trying to improve my machine quilting - and the more I do the better I get.

Anonymous said...

I like the kind of quilting where I cut and piece without measuring ~ I guess that is why I usually follow my own designs instead of traditional ones. I love looking at perfectly engineered quilts, but don't have them as my goal.