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Quilt Tips


Sometimes a quilter will come across a very simple tip for improving her skills as a quilter. Sometimes, these tips can save many hours of frustration. Have a look through these tips and see if there's anything that you might find useful. I'll be adding to this list regularly, so keep popping back. Have fun!



Using one of your rulers draw a line on your ironing board in permanent marker then when pressing boarders, strips etc. I line them up on the line and know I am pressing them straight and no curves in my strip sets.

To clean my iron when I don't have iron cleaner I use a drier fabric softener sheet. Press and rub your iron on the fabric softener sheet when it is hot and it will be clean. For stubborn residue I sometimes use a wooden clothespin wrapped in a sheet for pinpointing the stubborn stuff.

I always cut the pieces for only one block and put it together from scrap. Then I know if the measurements are correct, if I need to make any adjustments before cutting into my planned quilt fabric and I then have a sample block to pin up near my machine to refer to like a map for proper placement and pressing direction.

Measure twice or thrice and cut once. I always double check measurements, as there is nothing worse then cutting a 1/4 inch too short.

View your colour combinations from a distance, pin to a board, or photograph and look at the photo on the computer, and play with the placement of colours so that you get the desired effect. It is surprising how repositioning one colour can dramatically change the impact of a block.


Use left over soap pieces for marking fabric rather than marking pens, will not stay in the fabric, and the first time the quilt is washed the soap mark disappears. I find it excellent for marking solid colours, so that I always am using the correct side of the fabric.

When piecing I always activate the 'needle down' option in my sewing machine, and use the 1/4 inch foot.

To start each seam, I start sewing into and slightly beyond a bit of scrap fabric (usually an off-cut from leftover binding!), raise the foot, then position the fabric to be stitched against the needle leaving a 1/4 inch seam width, lower the foot, and continue stitching. At the end of the seam, the stitching will be continued on into another scrap of fabric. You can use this method when chain stitching; just remember to continue for a few stitches between each set of fabric pieces. This ensures that the beginnings and endings of each seam maintain the exact 1/4 inch position. It also provides a short length of twisted thread which helps stop the beginning of the seam unravelling as it is handled.

I pin units together at right angles to intended seam line at the beginning of the seam, and parallel to the seam line elsewhere.

1. When piecing I always activate the 'needle down' option in my sewing machine, and use the 1/4 inch foot.

2. To start each seam, I start sewing into and slightly beyond a bit of scrap fabric (usually an off-cut from leftover binding!), raise the foot, then position the fabric to be stitched against the needle leaving a 1/4 inch seam width, lower the foot, and continue stitching. At the end of the seam, the stitching will be continued on into another scrap of fabric. You can use this method when chain stitching; just remember to continue for a few stitches between each set of fabric pieces. This ensures that the beginnings and endings of each seam maintain the exact 1/4 inch position. It also provides a short length of twisted thread which helps stop the beginning of the seam unravelling as it is handled.

3. I pin units together at right angles to intended seam line at the beginning of the seam, and parallel to the seam line elsewhere.


(1)Before I start a new project, I clean up my sewing room; seeing a cleared table makes me feel good and makes organizing my next project easier.
(2)Spend some time in my sewing room every day. I may not accomplish much, but it helps me relax.
(3) Keep my tools organized and return them to the same place as soon as I use them. I have a coffee mug for scissors and rotary cutters; another for pens, marking pencils, rippers, specific area for rulers, another for cutting mats. No more wasted time looking through that mess on my sewing table on a specific tool.

For my starter pieces, I keep a stack of 2 1/2" squares of various pastel colored fabric by my sewing machine that I sew together. The twosies can be easily turned in to four patch squares, etc. Before I know it I have a nice start for the small baby quilts I make for our drug baby care facility. Every so often I take time to put the sets together, a nice mindless activity on those days when thinking about a specific pattern is more than my mind can handle.

If you would like to add your three favourite tips to this list, pop over to the forum. Click on "Post your thoughts" at the bottom of this screen.

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Content copyright © 2014 by Judie Bellingham. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Judie Bellingham. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Judie Bellingham for details.

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