Sunday, April 12, 2009

Time to Start Sewing

Sorry for the disappearing act, but overtime at work has been plentiful and I am taking full advantage. Gotta add to the adoption fund.

Okay, so we should all have our fabrics cut out and our supplies assembled and it's time to start sewing the blocks.

Each block is made up of 4 main fabric pieces and 4 background fabric pieces. We will be sewing each main fabric piece to a background piece to form 4 small squares. We will then join those squares together to form the complete square. The techniques will be different for machine and hand so here is where we split up.

Hand Sewing:
Lay out one of each piece right side up like this. You should have one wide end on the top and one on the bottom so that is will form a square when the seam is sewn.


Take the pieces and put them right sides together, keeping them in the same position they were layed out in. Notice that they do not perfectly line up. This is correct and will for the square shape once the seam is sewn.


Take a pin and insert it at the top left corner at the intersection of the seam lines you marked with your pencil. Make sure it goes through the same top left intersection on the back piece also. Now take your threaded needle (I like to use a double strand of thread for added durability) and make a knot in the top right corner, making sure you are going exactly through the intersection on both pieces of fabric. Then take another pin and put it through the center (you can just eyeball it, no need to measure it exactly) right on the seam line through both pieces of fabric. See the below pic for clarification. This will help keep your seams lined up as you sew.


Now sew across this line using a running stitch. Here is a really basic sample of running stitch in case you are not familiar. I usually stack 4 or 5 stitches on my needle before pulling it all the way through the fabric. This will increase your sewing speed a lot.

Once you have sewn all the way to the other end of the line, make another tight knot (I usually knot twice for added security) and clip your threat leaving about a 1/2" tail. Do this for all four sets of pieces. Once they are all sewn, you can press them with the seam going towards the darker colored fabric. It honestly won't matter too much which way you press, just be consistent and always press to either the main or the background fabric. This will make your final seams lay nicer in the end.

Once they are neatly pressed, lay them out in the block formation like this.


Now you are going to flip the top 2 blocks, right sides together and sew the joining seam. Repeat for the bottom 2 blocks.


Now you will have this.


Now piece the top and bottom blocks together, pinning like this. Be sure to pin right on the intersection of both side when you get to that center seam.



Once you are done, iron your new seams, again towards the same fabric you chose before and when it's done, flip it right side up and give it a good press, straight up and down to really flatten those seams.


Repeat for a total of 36 blocks.

Machine Sewing:

You will be using a 1/4" seam for this quilt. You may have a 1/4" line on your machine that you can use as a guide, but if not, then you can make one with permanent marker or you can tape a piece of paper to act as a guide. Practice on scrap material until you are sure you can sew a consistent 1/4" line. Once you find the 1/4" mark, go slowly and it will work and you will build up your speed with practice.

Lay out one of each piece right side up like this. You should have one wide end on the top and one on the bottom so that is will form a square when the seam is sewn.


Take the pieces and put them right sides together, keeping them in the same position they were layed out in. Notice that they do not perfectly line up. This is correct and will for the square shape once the seam is sewn. Make sure your edges on the side you are about to sew match perfectly


Take a pin and insert it at the top left corner at the intersection of the seam lines you marked with your pencil. Make sure it goes through the same top left intersection on the back piece also. Now do the same for the other end (pretend that is a pin and not a needle in the pic below) Then take another pin and put it through the center (you can just eyeball it, no need to measure it exactly) right on the seam line through both pieces of fabric. See the below pic for clarification. This will help keep your seams lined up as you sew. Once you get comfortable, you may not need to pin for this step.


Now sew across this line. You may want to use your machine's back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam to lock it in.

Do this for all four sets of pieces. Once they are all sewn, you can press them with the seam going towards the darker colored fabric. It honestly won't matter too much which way you press, just be consistent and always press to either the main or the background fabric. This will make your final seams lay nicer in the end.

Once they are neatly pressed, lay them out in the block formation like this.


Now you are going to flip the top 2 blocks, right sides together and sew the joining seam. Repeat for the bottom 2 blocks.


Now you will have this.


Now piece the top and bottom blocks together, pinning like this. Again, pretend that needle in the picture is just another pin. Be sure to pin right on the intersection of both side when you get to that center seam.


Once you are done, iron your new seams, again towards the same fabric you chose before and when it's done, flip it right side up and give it a good press, straight up and down to really flatten those seams.


Repeat for a total of 36 blocks

Tip for everyone:

You may want to make a bunch of the first step squares and then iron so you are not jumping up and running to your ironing board every few minutes.

If anyone is confused, gets stuck or just has questions, please feel free to email me or post your question in the comment section.

I will give us a few days to get started on our blocks and then I will post the next step. Don't feel rushed, because I can assure you that I will not be ready for the next step, but a really industrious machine sewer might be and I would hate to keep them waiting any more than I already have.

1 comment:

ak_sapphire said...

hey there...i made quite a bit of progress today...gonna finish up all my blocks tomorrow afternoon. i'll post pictures of what i've done tomorrow morning.