Saturday, April 24, 2010

Controlling Seam Allowances

In recent podcasts from Stash Resolution and Sew Stitch Create, topics of squaring up and staying within a quarter of an inch were brought up. The issue was about how you could keep the seam allowance straight so that the block you were producing would all stay a consistent size.
I had e-mailed both of them my method of solving this problem and now I'm posting it here in my blog:

Years ago, when Simply Quilts was still on television, I had seen a beautiful Irish chain quilt. I thought it would be fairly easy to make since it was made up of squares and rectangle strips. Once I had the blocks pieced, each size was a little different. How was I suppose to piece them together if they weren't the same size? I had used the 1/4 inch guide on the sewing machine and the sewing machine foot to help me, but I was still getting the same results -never the same size.

Then I had an idea.... I would draw/draft the stitch lines on the back of the fabric to show me exactly where to sew.

So, I ripped out all the seams and started over again. And this time, it worked! The blocks were all the same size!

I am using Bunny Hills Designs' free BOM pattern, Snowbound. Once the block is finished, it will be 9 inches square.

Draw/draft the pieces on the back of the fabric.

Once the pieces are cut out, place the pins in where the horizontal and vertical lines cross. (The center lone is a cut line.)

The stitch line is where the drawn line was.

Notice that the center 9-patch block is within the measurements.

Proceed adding the remaining pieces.

Completed block.

Notice the block finished at 9 inches and it still has its quarter inch seam allowances.

I don't know what this method is called but it works for me. And I still use it today. I realize it may seem like extra work, but I'm a perfectionist. Actually, I love to draft and it incorporates drafting with my quiltmaking!
I'm still working on finishing quilts tops. But I'm getting into those moods where I would do anything as long as I don't have to work on those quilts. I'm just getting tired of them. But I know, I just need to bare through it and it will be done in no time. I get like this with every quilt.
But for a quick break, I'm thinking about participating in another swap. Brye Lynn from is having a tote bag swap with her listeners. It will take my mind off those quilts for while and I may come back to them refreshed!
Hopefully next time, I'll have some photos of the tote bags.

1 comment:

  1. Do you seriously do this with every piece?! Triangles and all? What pen do you use; and what color for lights and darks?

    You know I love you - but this is extreme. However, I am strangely drawn to trying it out. I just need to look at your work and I am convienced.