tips and tricks and fun things to do or see
To check the fabric quality, hold a single piece up to a light. This shows the density of the threads.
Are you saving dull and nicked rotary cutter blades? Often they can be used to cut plastic templates.
When buying print fabric, check the back to see if the subdued print can be used as a coordinating right side.
Don’t discard ugly fabric. Often in a scrap quilt it will blend in with similar colors.
Do you get too many free address labels in the mail? Well, before you toss them out, use them as stickers on your blocks waiting to be put into a quilt. Just put a number on them and stick them to the correct pile of blocks to keep them organized until ready to sew.
In order to be most accurate in matching the corners and top edges of the two pieces which need to be sewn together, I match them up visually, then insert one pin 2″ down the side so that each layer stays where it should; then I pin across the top edge of the two piece. At times, I have also placed a pin 2″ down on the right side just so I know that those side edges are exactly in place when I get to the end of my sewing.
Whether going to class, going on vacation or just keeping a sewing bag ready when the quilting mood hits, wind several bobbins with the needed threads. This takes little room as opposed to the thread spools. Put each bobbin in a small zip bag leaving a tiny opening. Pull the thread through the opening just far enough to grab it without having to open the bag. It also keeps the bobbins from rolling around and getting dirty.
Many patterns call for 2-1/2 “ strips of fabric. To find the little 1/2 “ mark it has been suggested to put a piece of tape at that mark – but try this instead. Many rulers come with 1/2” measurement at the end. Just turn your ruler around and count the inches backward. The edge of your piece of fabric will rest on a solid line.
~~~ (March 2023)
If you like to appliqué, try using embroidery floss instead of thread. The cost is favorable and the choice of colors is far greater than the color choice of threads.
A good way to use up batting scraps for quilts is to overlap two uneven pieces about 2”. Using a long ruler cut through both pieces to create a straight edge. Lay these edges next to each other and top with a 2” piece of fusible interfacing. Fuse together with a dry iron. Turn over with the batting facing up and stitch together with a wide zigzag stitch.
Does your thimble keep slipping off your finger? Try applying a small piece of double-sided tape to the inside of the thimble or on your finger.
Are you a saver of selvages but don’t know what to do with them? If you crochet, use a J or K crochet hook and a single crochet stitch and make hot pads.
~~~(July 2022) Going to class and including a travel iron? Don’t forget to also take an oven mitt. This will be handy if your iron is still hot when ready to pack up and go home.
~~~Are you losing patience while trying to put invisible thread through the eye of a needle? This should help – color the end of the thread with a dark colored marker. The colored end can be cut off after it is threaded if needed. Your mood should lighten as you sew.
Do you have fabric that is too good to throw out but probably won’t be used? Use it as gift wrap. Add a coordinating ribbon and it is like giving two gifts.
Got lots of quilt books? Arrange the titles alphabetically and record these in a small address book.
After making a quilt, use some of the fabric to make a pillowcase to store the quilt. This helps identify the quilt inside.
Stored quilts should be opened and refolded to prevent permanent creases and possibly damage. A good time is when going on vacation. Just spread the opened quilts on a bed while you are gone.
A flannel backed vinyl tablecloth can be used as a portable design wall.
Some cutting mats and rulers have holes at one end. To hang them out of the way, hammer a finishing nail (one without a flat head) into a stud in a closet. More nails can be added vertically in the same stud. Be sure to measure distance first so mats do not overlap or hang on the floor.
Get this wonderful app for calculating all things quilting from your app store. See the information on the Robert Kaufman site.