Friday, October 23, 2009

Sew Fantastic Buzz :: Matching Seams

Although I have been a sewer for more then half of my life, I would consider myself nothing but amateur when it comes to quilting. Quilting is something that I enjoy for a few months, and then it gets put away for a long time until the urge comes back. This could be a year or more when it happens. I really wanted to start , and finish a quilt this year. So I joined Jane's Aqua Red block swap. (story here)

Today I cleaned off my sewing space to fill it with Aqua and red disappearing nine patch quilt blocks. (tutorial here) After wasting a bit of fabric doing some experiments, I thought I would share a little something.

To pin.... or not to pin... That is the Question!

After sewing and sewing as fast as I can to fill shop orders, Quilting is quite tedious to me. The thought that has to go into each piece, and the process to put it together correctly are quite nerve racking sometimes. I am a instant gratification kind of gal you know. I used to be an eye-baller. You know one of those people who eyes the fabric and hopes it all works out. Me and my seam ripper have a love hate relationship.

After many ways of doing it differently, I found that indeed pinning your fabric in place makes more a more accurate match. (Duh Terri) I also wanted to see if placing the pin in vertically would work better then horizontally, just for kicks I guess. Now keep in mind there is no wrong or right way in the process of making any quilt. It's strictly what works best for you. I know there are quite a few beginner quilters out there who could find this conversation intriguing I suppose.

Anyway, the vertical matched up more accurately for me which came to my surprise. Reason is that you have to pull out your pins before the machine runs over them(or let the machine run over them... to scary.) . The horizontal pin can be placed out of the way and left until the piece is sewn completely. So I guess I expected the horizontal pins to work best.

Now that I have lost all of you, I am curious is there a trick to make sure seams always match up? Is it the way you pin, or the kind of pins you use. How can I guarantee that when I iron my block, the corners will match just so perfect that I can throw away my seam ripper.

Does something this wonderful exist?


  1. i try to iron my fabric so the seams go in opposite directions so when i put them right sides together they interlock. helping them to stay straight and my corners match up...did that make sense? whatever you are doing it is looking great...i can not wait to see more

  2. Hiya - I too am new to quilting and realized after a few rows of piecing the quilt together that leaving the pins in and sewing over them gave me the best results- it was scary at first because I am such a rule follower - but the results were amazing!!! I can't wait to see this quilt done - I love aqua and red - and as a funny coincidence I have the same Husqvarna sewing machine - isn't it the best!!!

  3. The first comment is what I do, just flip the two seams in opposite directions where they butt up against each great every time...but yours seem to work well....your seams look good.

  4. I'd say the first thing is to make sure your pieces are cut accurately and on grain. To pin or not to pin...I don't anymore. I place the top of the pieces under the needle and use my stiletto as I go. I think I could be obsessive compulsive with accuracy, but there's such satisfaction in having it all work out. Then there's also the satisfaction of NOT having to pick up the seam ripper!!

  5. I agree with the others that you should press the seams in opposite directions so that the seams will butt together nicely. When I pin I always start with one pin right in the seam and then place two pins (each vertically)- one on each side of that first pin. Then remove the first pin. I use very fine pins and I must admit that I will often sew over the pins.

    Your pieces look great so you must be doing it right!

  6. I don't press my seams before joining rows of blocks, but I do make sure they are going in opposite directions from each other so that they match better on the front.

    I love your fabrics and cannot wait to receive my package of blocks back from this swap! We should have lots of fine looking quilts out there when they are all sewn up!


  7. I always press my seams in opposite directions so the "lock" I rarely use pins, but if I do, I run right over them, less chance for the fabric to slip. BUT whatever you are doing they are great!!!

  8. The first few months, I had no issue of having my machine walk over the pins but on my last quilt, I lost two new pins within seconds.

    I guess I will try putting the pins horizontally but it will take some time since I too tend to eyeball but not anymore when I am dealing with too many corners and some are for giveaways.

  9. I think the only sure-fire way to have your points match up is to do paper piecing. :) I pin perpendicular to my fabric, but I think the horizontal would work great, too. I'll have to give it a shot. Part of the problem with things not matching up, even when pinning, (I think) has to do with the difference in how your top fabric and bottom fabric are being pulled. I know there are a few quilters that will always use their walking foot so this doesn't happen. I just go with the flow and live with things not always matching up. :) Once you wash it, everything shrinks up funny anyways.

  10. I don't usually iron or pin, just feel it, can't wait to see the top your make. I have been on D-9 overload the week, see them everywhere. too fun to make

  11. I too press my seams to different sides so they butt up against each other, sew over pins all the time, (yes, have ruined some pins...who cares??..they're cheap) and sew slower (if possible) than usual to watch the match ups. you want it finished, or do you want it perfect??

    Looks good.

  12. See... I've always wanted to try making a quilt but I haven't yet because, like you, I'm an instant gratification kind of girl and I'm afraid I'll lose interest before it ever gets done.

    That aside, I think your seams look awesome! What are you worried about? LOL

  13. I'm not much of a pinner, until it comes to very long/complex things.

    I sure love that pic of the block...mmmm


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