after experimenting with a couple different ways to machine bind a quilt, i’ve discovered a simple, easy technique that has consistent results each and every time, no missed stitching on the back and perfectly mitered corners, front and back!
keep reading to see how..
budgets….boooo! but in todays times a large portion of those who love to quilt, sew and craft, have a budget. after all we do need to pay our electric bills so we can see what we’re crafting and run our machines. *giggle*
in a few of my previous posts i’ve mentioned that i always try to purchase my fabrics, tools, gadgets on sale, or with a coupon. obviously that isn’t always possible, and more of a challenge to do at local quilt shops, but not impossible.
lets talk about how to save you money..
chain piecing is a technique to piece your quilt together efficiently. half square triangles, squares, no matter what the shape or size of your piecework, chain piecing will save you time, effort and thread!
chain piecing is simple, place your fabric pieces right sides together, line up the raw edges and begin feeding each square, triangle, etc through your machine, making sure to keep your 1/4″ seam allowance [how to sew a scant 1/4″ seam], continue until you have chain pieced all your pieces together, snip threads and you’re done!
using this technique is quick, because you no longer have to start, stop, cut thread, lift the presser foot, re-align your next piece, drop your presser foot, and begin stitching again, repeat, repeat, etc..
you will start once, and stop at the end of the line of pieces.. it’s like a choo choo train of fabric pieces.. easy peasy!
one of the very first things to learn when quilting is the scant quarter inch seam. what is a scant quarter inch seam..? in laymen’s terms, it’s a seam that is just shy of a true 1/4″ seam. in the above photo, you will notice that the white stitching is not a perfect 1/4″, if it we’re we would see the stitching directly under the yellow 1/4″ ruler marking, as it is, the stitching is slightly to the right of the marking, this is a scant quarter inch.
i’ll show you just how to set-up your machine to sew a scant quarter inch seam.
have you ever been out shopping, and a quilt catches your eye, and upon closer inspection, you think to yourself, i can do that..yes you can!
do you have a basic sewing machine..? can you sew a straight line..? then you can quilt!
…but you’re not sure where to begin, what tools you’ll need or how much it will cost. today we’ll talk about what you’ll need to get started, you just may be pleasantly surprised at just how affordable quilting can be.. and your quilting journey will begin, but beware, it’s addictive!
if you’ve sewn on a sewing machine for more than a month, you’ve likely come across some minor issues, skipped stitches, uneven stitches, thread breaks, tension issues, fabric bunching… and the list goes on.
the good news is, there’s usually a very simple solution, let’s talk about them.
- power your machine off and on. make sure your needle is in the up position, prior to powering off. just like many electronics, sometimes your machine just needs a reset.
- check your settings. is your tension, stitch length, width, etc correct?
- check your needle.
- do you have the proper needle for your project? read more here.
- is your needle bent? a slightly bent point is all you need to ruin a project, replace needle.
- is your needle dull? a dull needle will easily ruin a project, be sure to replace your needle each time you begin a new project.
- check your thread. often times simply rethreading your machine will resolve your issue, be sure you’re threading your machine correctly [refer to your user manual]. only use a good quality thread, cheap thread will cause all sorts of issues. read more here.
- check your bobbin. remove and reinsert your bobbin. only use the manufacturers suggested bobbin type [refer to your user manual], using an improper bobbin can damage your machine.
- clean your bobbin casing, feed dog, etc. lint build up in your bobbin casing and feed dog, will certainly cause your machine to run poorly, work harder, and reek all sorts of havoc. read more here.
- oil your machine. [if applicable] many newer machines do not require oiling. refer to your user manual for instructions. if you do not have a user manual, a quick google search should provide you with one.
- annual or bi-annual maintenance by an authorized service center. when was the last time your machine had a check up? depending on usage, your machine needs to be serviced every 1-2 years.
- call your manufacturer. if the above steps fail, call your manufacturer to see if they can help you troubleshoot over the phone.
if you’ve gone through each one of the above steps and your machine is still running poorly, it will need to be seen by an authorized service center.
one of the major causes of poor performance in your sewing machine can be summed up in one word… LINT! ..those micro dust bunnies can reek all sorts of havoc.. uneven stitches, poor tension, thread breaks, and a clunky, noisy machine.. a little sewing machine TLC goes a long way toward the longevity of your sewing machine, and your happiness!
i used to be intimidated at the thought of taking apart my machine, but don’t fret, take it slow, it’s much easier than you think. in fact take a quick photo of your bobbin casing prior to removing it, that way you’ll know exactly which way it goes back in.
lint build up happens quickly, in fact i suggest you clean out your bobbin casing, feed dog, etc. at the end of each project, especially if you’re a quilter, that way your machines ready for your next project.
it dawned on me this morning while i was cutting strips out of some aqua and red prints i’ve been collecting, that a DIY jelly roll of your favorite fabrics would be a great gift for a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker who also has the quilting ‘bug’ aka addiction..
i thought i’d share my technique for cutting quick 2 1/2″ strips aka jelly roll strips.. this likely is not new for the seasoned quilter, and i’m sure there are other ways, but it’s been the technique that gets the job done for me.
note: a standard jelly roll consists of 40 strips of various “dark & light” prints cut along the width-of-fabric [WOF=selvage to selvage].
the gift of a DIY jelly roll.
- create your own unique jelly rolls with scraps, new or vintage fabric.
- your jelly roll does not need to consist of 40 strips, the choice is up to you. a lap quilt can easily be made with half a standard jelly roll [20 strips].
- once you’ve cut your strips, carefully roll your jelly roll, smoothing as you go, and use a rubber band to secure.
- wrap twine or ribbon around your jelly roll, tie, removing the rubber band is optional, attach a note and your gift is ready for the giving.
the instructions below are part of my ‘sewing with baby lock’ series, but can be performed using this universal button presser foot by distinctive, on all low shank snap-on singer*, brother, baby lock, euro-pro, janome, kenmore, white, juki, new home, simplicity, elna and more.
you have a sewing machine, now what..? where do you begin..? what do you need..? i’ll give you several tips to start your journey, and before you know it, you’ll sew like a pro!