Tips for Better Blocks

-- pick your fabrics with a mood or theme in mind.

-- most block patterns need contrast to "work". Avoid medium-medium combinations. Go for dark-light contrast.

-- keep your scissors or rotary blades sharp. Use them only for fabric.

-- measure twice and cut once.

-- when choosing colors, lay them out and look at the whole group, with various colors in proportion to the block. So if there is only going to be a little bit of the red used, just put a little corner of red fabric on the table with the other shades. This prevents you from seeing too much of the color.

-- square up your pieces as you assemble them. A 1/8 inch error multiplied by 10 blocks is a 1.25 inch difference!

-- use the iron. Flat, crisp fabric is easier to work with.

-- use the same ruler throughout the project. Different rulers can be off slightly, just enough to really mess up your pattern. If you aren't sure, compare them side by side to see how they measure up.

-- try sandpaper "fabric grip" dots on the bottom of your ruler or template to hold it in place with minimum pressure while you cut.

-- hold your pieces, or pin them, as you sew so the layers don't shift and cause innacurrate seams.

-- it really doesn't matter what you use for a seam allowance. Pick something and stick with it through the project. You can use the width of your presser foot as a handy guide.

-- take good care of your sewing machine. It really does need to be oiled, have the lint cleaned out, and the needle replaced on a regular basis. You'll be happier with the way the machine runs if you take care of it, and none of this maintenance costs nearly as much as a repair or a new machine.

-- use the same sewing machine, or the same foot for all your blocks. Don't switch from your Featherweight with your "Little Foot" attached to your Pfaff 7550 with Pfaff's 1/4 inch foot! They are not the same 1/4". (Judy Grow)

-- when sewing around curves use a smaller stitch on your machine- believe it or not this does work. (Carol)

-- When I have a major quilt to do I sew everything assembly line, place all your pieces in a stack as to how they are to be sewed and then just grab and go. (Diane)

-- Getting a perfect 1/4" seam allowance. I place my needle in the down position and measure 1/4" from the needle and then place masking tape on that measurment. Then all you have to do is line up your edge and go. (Diane)

-- Cleaning your machine -- Never use the canned air to blow out the dust. It has moisture and on some machines it will rust your mechanical parts. (Diane)

-- If you use the masking tape for your seam allowance and go to remove it and have some of the resdue left just use a cotton swap and some achol to remove. Works wonders. (Diane)

-- Don't watch the needle. By the time the needle is in the fabric it is too late! Pick another "guide spot" ahead of the needle, or create one of your own. ("Slohere")


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