We’ve all been there – you’ve found the absolute perfect pattern, purchased your fabric, measured, cut, and pieced together and then… your lines turn out all uneven and your blocks are too small. But what did you do wrong? This whole process can seem like trial and error, (and admittedly, sometimes it is), but we’ve got a few tips and tricks up our sleeves so that you can learn from our mistakes! Read on to find out how to fix those pesky seam allowances, and what to do if you run out of fabric!
Not Measuring Fabric Correctly
This is one of the most frustrating, and common mistakes for beginning quilters, although I’ve certainly done it a time or two in the not so distant past myself. Of course, the best way to deal with this problem is always preventive maintenance, i.e., always buy extra fabric! There are a few really neat tools out there for quilters, such as this handy quilting calculator, but again, hindsight is 20/20. Learn from our mistakes: measure three times, cut once. And always have fabric on hand. If you find yourself in a real bind, with some special fabric that you can’t seem to find anywhere anymore, post a picture on Flickr with the letters “ISO” (in search of) and see if anyone else has seen that fabric!
You may think you’re sewing in perfectly straight lines, but if your fabric is too stiff, or too stretchy, you will end up having to go back and rip out stitches, or even start over completely! To avoid all of that frustration, we highly recommend a walking foot on your sewing machine. Not only will this help you sew in straight lines, but it moves effortlessly over multiple layers of fabric. If you’re not convinced you need a walking foot, you can always just use painter’s tape to better guide your stitches.
There’s nothing quite as frustrating as running out of thread, or having the thread snap right when you’re getting into the groove of quilting. Of course, the best way to make sure you won’t run out of thread is to always double check your bobbin before sitting down, but even then, sometimes thread breaks, or we think we have more than we actually do. If this is the case, simply undo a few stitches so that you can knot the thread, and tuck it into your batting so it won’t be noticeable. If you live in a particularly dry environment, your thread may be more prone to snapping. To add a little moisture back into your thread, simply place it in a plastic baggie with a damp paper towel and put the baggie in the freezer for a few hours.