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10 Tips to Upgrade Your Quilting

All of us continue to learn - whether it's new techniques or simpler ways for piecing and quilting. There are thousands of tips out there, Some you probably know already. If you are looking to level-up your quilting check out these tips. I've pared down the list to 10 (in no particular order.)

Use High Quality Fabrics

Invest in good quality fabric to ensure your quilt lasts longer and looks better. You will be glad you did. Some of my first quilts were made from fabric that I bought at a craft store (not a quilt shop). In 6 months I was so disappointed that the fabric was shredding and pulling from the seams. Good quality fabric will last for generations.

Accurate Cutting

Take your time to accurately cut fabric pieces according to your quilt pattern. Precision is key for neat and professional looking quilts. You'll find that if your cutting is inaccurate it will grow as you piece together your quilt. The time you take to cut accurately will pay off.

Chain Piecing

For the quilts where you have to piece together many of the same units it is helpful to chain piece. This is where you stitch together units one right after the other without taking them out from under the presser foot. It saves time and will keep the thread from 'nesting' underneath the fabric.

Use a Design Wall

If you have the space, use a design wall. There are a variety of ways to have a design wall. There are panels you can purchase that can be applied to a dedicated wall. You can DIY flannel covered panels over large panels of styrofoam insulation. These can be taken out when you need them and slid under the bed when you don't.

Rotate your Cutting Mat

We all have to use pressure with our rotary cutters. Eventually this will start creating grooves in our cutting mats. When you start to notice a groove in your mat, it is time to rotate it or turn it over. This will also help you keep your cutting accurate.

Stay Organized

Keep your quilting workspace organized and clutter-free to maximize your efficiency and creativity. Use storage containers, shelves or pegboards to store fabric, tools and supplies. I will not show a picture of my sewing space, but I do declutter when I start a new project!

Document your progress

Now we all have a phone with cameras. Take pictures of your progress. It can also help with designing your quilt. Taking a photo of the units and looking at it on a smaller scale can allow you to see any mistakes or changes you need to make. It helps to see how far you've come!

Nesting Seams

Wherever possible nest your seams. This involves aligning the seams of adjoining pieces in opposite directions. This helps reduce bulk and ensures crisp matching points.

Change your Machine Needle

Make sure you change the needle on your machine. For each new project I change the needle in my sewing machine...even if it's the same size needle. Needles get dull and they can get burrs if you have stitched over pins. Make sure you are using the correct needle for the project you are working on.

Clean your Sewing Machine Regularly

Be sure to clean your machine - usually after you have sewn through 2 bobbins. It is really important to keep your machine cleaned and oiled. Thread, fabric and batting will leave fuzz and it compacts and eventually will affect the operation of your machine. Regular cleaning should be covered in the manual or by the shop that services your machine.

One more...

Be sure you have a ruler you can read! If you can't read it or see the fabric underneath, your cuts will be off and then your piecing will be too.

Share some of your tips with me and I'll compile them for a future article!

Quilt with joy!



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