The Very Basics of Quilting: Tips and Tricks

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I recently finished my little series, the Very Basics of Quilting. It contains everything you need to know to complete your first quilt. Here are all the lessons:
Originally posted at The Quilting Gallery, here are some tips and tricks I have added to this series:

The iron is your very best friend in sewing. Until I figured that out, my projects were pretty cruddy. If you think about it, the iron flattens wrinkled fabric, turns back seam allowances, sets seams and does a myriad of other things.

Tips: *Never iron with your iron. Well, at least not on a quilt block! No, we want to press, a simple up and down motion. Ironing — moving the iron from side to side — can stretch your fabric.

* Use a lot of steam. Some will disagree, but I LOVE steam. It’s the easiest way to get rid of wrinkles. I love how it sets seams.

*Sewing is full of gunky adhesives. Fusible interfacings, wonder under, etc etc. All of these things can really gunk up your iron. And that stuff can get transferred to your fabric. Take a dryer sheet and rub it on the plate of your iron while the iron is hot (I use an oven mitt) to remove all that gunk. It works like a charm. Just make sure to remove the greasy stuff before using it on your fabric again. I rub the iron on a scrap of fabric and then you’re ready to go!

Rotary cutters and rulers are such time savers for a quilter and for a garment maker. We’d be lost without them. If you’re new to quilting, you can get by with a good 6″ x 24″ ruler.

Tips: *Keep your blade sharp. The duller the blade, the harder you have to push, which can lead to nasty accidents.

*Line your body up with your cutting table. It helps to put your cutting mat on a corner. Then you can always cut “straight on.”

*Keep firm pressure on the ruler with your left (right is you’re left-handed) hand. Try to focus the pressure downward so the ruler won’t slip.

*While we’re talking about slipping, always cover the fabric piece you are cutting with the ruler. If you do slip, you won’t ruin your good piece, just a bit of the extra — and it will be fixable!

Invest in a quarter inch foot with a guide along the side! These are usually fairly inexpensive and will make a world of difference in your quilting. After all, in quilting, size does matter. Of the seams that is!



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3 thoughts on “The Very Basics of Quilting: Tips and Tricks

  1. Thanks for the great reminders. I’m always torn about the steam. I like it sometimes, but others not. I think it depends on the fabric. Regarding Needled Mom’s comment. I bought a Rowenta Ironmaven J420 (it has a water tank) and I love it! It doesn’t shut off and I rarely have to refill it. It was expensive (about $250 on Amazon) but totally worth it. I got my money back in use already.

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