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Sunday, June 28, 2009

When two seams meet

Pull seams in opposite directions to loosen stitches and fan out seams, flattening them.

This blogging stuff is hard work. I guess I'm going to have to learn HTML instead of just poking around in the code trying things to see what works. Especially because the preview never looks anything like the actual post. Well, it sort of does, but to someone as anal retentive and detail-oriented as I am, it doesn't.
I have picked up this book at the library, but I haven't started reading it yet. (The pix above are courtesy of Picasa's "I'm feeling lucky" feature and the online help.)

Anyway, the point of the photos above is: Here's a trick for flattening out the seams at intersections such as in a four-patch (short of pulling out a hammer). The pictures are arranged clockwise starting at the upper left to show you what I did (after the fact because I couldn't get an action shot without a photographer's assistant or on-screen talent, and this blog doesn't have that kind of budget). You pull the seam in opposite directions to loosen the stitches in the very middle so that you can press one seam going one way and the other seam going the other way. The center seams fan out to make a little 4-patch of their own.

Can't remember exactly where I learned this, but it is in Sally Collins' "The Art of Machine Piecing." If you've ever seen one of her quilts in person, especially a miniature, you will be blown away at the precision. No cut off points here! What she does in a three-inch block, I strive to do in a 12!

Here's another tip, also not sure where I learned it, and I don't see it in my copy of Sally's book: To keep pieced seams nestled together and matching, whenever possible, feed the pieces into your machine with the cut edge of the seam toward the needle. (Does that make sense? If not, check out the picture. It's worth a thousand words!) The machine foot will push the fabric on top, while the feed dogs will pull the fabric on the bottom keeping the seams of the four-patch together.

I may be a wee bit of a perfectionist, but I seldom pin. This little trick helps me maintain my anal retentiveness without the extra work.

Why all this posting about four-patches? Because I'd tired of the half-square triangle trimming and thought if I made a few four-patches (56) and started putting things up on the design wall I'd be a little more inspired to trim more half-square triangles. I was right.

I trimmed more half-square triangles after I took this photo. Getting it up on the design wall really was inspirational!

3 comments:

Anne Marie said...

your blog looks informative...and my name is Anne Marie and I live in northern IL!

Sew Many Ways... said...

Hi Ann Marie,
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and for your thoughts on replying. I'm glad you did, because now I found your great blog. Thanks for the tip on four patches, I've been sewing the other way for years.
~Karen~

HappySquirrel said...

Those tips are quite useful. Thanks for sharing. I love the photo at the end with the quilt. Really pretty!