Tips and Tricks

For easier quilting


Difficulty threading needles?

Ever heard of wetting the end of the thread to get it through the needle, well, try wetting the back of the needle you’re putting it through instead. This works for sewing machines and hand stitching needles.


Different sized blocks?

When you’ve finished piecing your blocks, make sure that you square them up with a good ruler and cut them evenly using a sharp blade in your rotary cutter. Remember to trim to the smallest block to make sure they are all the same size. This will make it easier to sew all your blocks together, and will make it easier to line up your corners when sewing the blocks together, and prevent puckering of your quilt top.


Rotary cutter stiff?

Once in a while, when changing the blade in your rotary cutter, take the rotary cutter apart, dust it off and add ONE drop of sewing machine oil; wipe it very carefully with a tissue or some batting. Reassemble it and see how easy it is to use!


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Contact me. I also offer private lessons on quilting and sewing, and can help you feel more comfortable with your sewing machine. 



Remove stitches easily

Try a moustache trimmer! Yes, it works. Just separate the seams enough to place the blade next to the stitches and move the trimmer forward to trim your unwanted seams. To remove all the thread bits, use a rolled up piece of masking tape.

Seam alignment secret

When two seams will be joined together, press the seam allowances in opposite directions. This helps distribute the bulk and ensures the seams will ling up.

Press and rest works best

Once fabric pieces have been pressed, let them cool in place. This prevents distortion of bias edges.


Glue stick secret

Store the glue sticks you use for applique in the refrigerator. This keeps them firmer, making them easier to use and longer lasting.


Straight and square borders

For border strips, measure the length and width of the quilt top through the center to ensure straight sides and square corners. Measuring along the edges is less accurate because they may have stretched during assembly.



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Contact me. I also offer private lessons on quilting and sewing, and can help you feel more comfortable with your sewing machine. 



Mistake-proof trimming method

When you want to trim the batting, but not the backing, of the quilted piece, slip the edge of your rotary cutting mat between the backing and batting before you begin. This will prevent you from inadvertently cutting into the backing fabric.


See before you sew

Experiment with your arrangement of blocks by postioning them on a bed sheet until you’re satisfied. Once pleased, pin them to the sheet before carrying them to your sewing machine so they don’t fall out of place.


Windows work wonders

To see what a medium or large print fabric will look like when it’s cut into smaller pieces, make a template window out of paperboard, such as an empty cereal or cracker box. Take that with you when you’re fabric shopping or auditioning fabric.