I know I have told you about some different BOMs out on the web right now. One of them started this past Sunday. I had been debating jumping on The Splendid Sampler™. It will be a lot of blocks- 2 every week! But I also thought that I could really improve my piecing skills and learn a bit thru trying to make all those 6″ blocks.
So I will start and see how it goes. Each week, the block designers will post the instructions for their block and some tips. I thought I would post my tips after making the first 2 blocks.
Tip #1– Experiment. This is a great time to try an method you have not tried before. Do you always fuse your appliqué pieces? Try freezer paper appliqué which can be sewn down by hand or machine (you can click on this link where I show how to use freezer paper and the fabric folding pen), or Joan Ford’s back basting hand appliqué method. If you try something and don’t like the new technique, don’t do it again! But this is a great time to try something new. It’s only one block.
Tip #2– Check your ¼” seams. Some people suggest using a scant ¼” seam,especially when piecing small pieces. I have to tell you, I find these 2 tools really helpful- Celine Perkin’s Perfect Piecing Seam Guide which helps me to place my Sewing Edge Vinyl Stop. I use these ALL the time. And periodically, I check to make sure everything is still lined up.
Note: I have these on my website because I feel so strongly about them and how much they have helped me with my piecing. Click here to buy them together and save $1.00 on the combo. And for 2 weeks (ends Sunday March 6th) my blog readers can get an extra $1.00 off with the coupon code Seam1.
Tip #3– Even if you have double checked your ¼” seam, measure each section BEFORE you sew them together into the block. Even with a small block, if it has a lot of seams, being just a little bit off can mean you end up with a block the wrong size. Ask me how I know!!!! Measure twice, sew once!
Tip #4– Sew slow. I have said this before but it really applies when piecing small blocks. Slow wins over fast. Slower= accurate!
Tip #5– Starting the seam can be tricky- especially with small pieces. The sewing machine occasionally gets hungry and eats the beginning of your piece. Some people use the “scrap on, scrap off” method- starting sewing with a small piece a scrap fabric, then tuck your piece next and finally sew off a scrap piece.
I do something else. I start each seam with my needle in the down position with the pressor foot raised. I grab hold of the loose threads with one hand and tuck the first pieced section under the foot right up against the needle. When I start to stitch the feed dogs are in the right place to move the pieces along.
Tip #6– Change your rotary blade frequently when doing a lot of cutting (I always wait too long and then think- Wow! why did I wait?) and use a consistent brand of ruler. Different brands can be slightly different sizes when you cut and small differences add up!
Tip #7– Have fun. Do your own thing. Pick colors you like, fabrics you like, don’t worry about what anyone else is picking. Change things up- colors, units…whatever! This is a great time to experiment. And have fun. If you mess up the block, make a new one! The blocks are only 6″ big.
I have been reading a book recently called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is about creativity. Some of what she talks about in the book really spoke to me. Especially about creating for yourself.
Make your blocks your way and don’t worry about anyone else’s. Just create. Your blocks. Your way. Have fun.
Tip #8– The large Pop Up is a great place to store all the fabrics for your blocks!
What are your best piecing tips? Feel free to share in the comments.
p.s.- Click here to go to my post on the Pop Ups and be entered for a chance to win a Pop Up kit. Giveaway closes this Sunday Feb 21st.
p.p.s. Click here to go to the McCall’s Quilting magazine blog, see my guest post and enter the giveaway on that post.
p.p.p.s Click here to go to my post about McCall’s Quilting and enter for chance to win a McCall’s Quilting magazine. This giveaway also closes this Sunday!