Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Top Ten Quilting Tips

1. Spray starch and press all of the washed fabric you will be cutting, your accuracy will increase greatly.
2. Rayon thread is great for machine quilting, it buries itself in the fabric and looks more natural. I like Sulky Rayon. You can still use cotton in the bobbin too.
3. Curved lines look more flowing and natural in machine quilting than straight lines, so I gently curve my grid lines randomly as I go along with my walking foot. Just gently wave the line along. You can see an example in my older post called Plaids and Stripes.
4. I wash every completed quilt. The washing evens out bad stitching and even small puckers and hides your errors. Plus you get the benefit of the "old quilt" look. I use almost no agitation when washing a quilt. More of a soaking cycle with maybe one minute agitating. Then rinse and spin out. I put mine in the dryer for about five minutes. Then lay out flat to block and dry.
5. Pieced bindings look great. Connect the sections with bias seams and the connections will disappear. You can easily find YouTube videos on pieced bindings.
6. A binding done in a completely different fabric from anything in the quilt looks wonderful if you pick a great color that sets the quilt off. For example, in my green and white quilt, I used a light blue print binding. It looks great and makes the green pop.
7. When you get tired of the fabric in your stash, group color families together and the fabric will look new and exciting again. Grouping in color families also helps when you are indecisive.
8. For the authentic 1930's look, be sure and use old clothes in the mix of fabric. 100 percent cotton, of course. They used clothes back then and you can't get that look without doing the same thing.
9. I use striped fabric for making labels for the back of the quilt. The stripes help my writing look straight. I use an archival permanent pen made for fabrics.
10. For free motion quilting, if you do not have a machine that will let you drop the feed dogs, all you have to do is set your stitch length to "0". The feed dogs will not move. I do this all the time even though my machine has the drop the feed dog feature.

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