Machine Piecing Quilt Tips

 

To use larger spools of thread, add an empty pen case or straw to extend the spool pin.

 

 

 

Tip for Using Your Seam Ripper.

 

 

 

I'm now using the small roller that came in a wallpaper kit for 'finger pressing', instead of the little wooden tool.............Submitted by Karen

 

 

 

When machine sewing I like to use an easy stitching project as my anchor cloth.
This is a stack of them, held by a clothes pin, waiting to be pressed.

Anchor Cloth Project

On the Glossary page of my site I describe an 'Anchor Cloth' as: A scrap piece of fabric sewn through, before and after chain piecing.
It anchors the threads and prevents the machine from eating up the edges of your fabric.
Sewing over a scrap is a great idea and saves you from the 'beginning' problems that can happen when you start sewing.
Even better is to have an ongoing project (like my Loving Our Earth Tiny Scrap String Project), which you sew, instead of the scrap fabric.
You cut/prepare the patches in advance, and keep them by your machine to use each time you sew.
That way, eventually, you have a bonus quilt put together.

Since I've started collecting fabrics I have cut a strip off of each and sewn them into these blocks.
I now have one finished double sided quilt and enough blocks to do another.
And I love the way I am able to adore bits of each of my fabrics by looking at this quilt
[This pattern is available on the site as my Charm Quilt.]

 

 

 

I attached a long ribbon to a small pair of scissors and tied it to the handle of my sewing machine cabinet. Now when I have to snip those threads or do a little cutting I have a pair of scissors handy. No more scissors that always walk away.............Submitted by Laurie

 

 

 

The holder of a stack of CD's or DVD's can be repurposed as a large spool holder, beside your sewing machine.........Submitted by Karen

 

 

 

I never liked the idea of changing my sewing machine needle with every project. Instead I sharpen them by sewing (without thread) through a piece of fine sandpaper. It gives me a fresh needle everytime........Submitted by Anne

 

 

 

When you set up a new stitch on your machine that you think you might want to use again, stitch a sample of it on a square piece of plain fabric. Be sure to mark the stitch settings & other details in fabric pen below the stitch.
You can stitch these swatches into a small book.......Submitted by Kim

 

 

 

Use the white pages of an old telephone book as foundation paper for string pieced blocks.......Submitted by Karen

 

 

 

I like to reuse the plastic tube from miniature M&M's as a travel bobbin holder......Submitted by Carrie

 

 

 

To keep your different sized sewing machine needles organized and at easy reach, try labeling a tomato pin cushion using a fabric marker, keeping each needle in the marked section of the cushion .........Submitted by Amber

Needle Organizer Pincushion Tip

 

 

 

A good substitute stabilizer for machine applique or embroidery, in a pinch, are round paper coffee filters........Submitted by Tina

 

 

 

Before I embroider a design for the first time, I sew it on a scrap of fabric so if it doesn't work well I haven't ruined the garment. These test squares I use to make pillows, a lap quilt, a pot holder or hot pad for casseroles for church sales or other charity events.......Submitted by Sandy

 

 

 

I put a piece of sticky back velcro on the bottom of my machine foot pedal, sticks on the carpet so I'm not chasing it all over.......Submitted by Carmen

 

 

 

When I do paper piecing I only print one copy of the pattern. I then take pattern to sewing machine and a stack of paper (8 to 10) and sew the lines without thread (using an old needle and regular stitch length). This gives me copies with double the holes to tear off, making it easier.......Submitted by Dolly

 

 

 

I have a great tip for paper piecing. Pre folding all of the lines before sewing a block makes it very quick to line up your pieces and you use less fabric. It also tears off easier when removing it later.......Submitted by Carol

 

 

 

To help you sew sew a straight line get some tape from the hardware store that is about 1/16" thick. Cut 3 or 4 pieces about 4" long and put them on top of each other. Place on your sewing machine at the ¼" mark and glide your fabric against it as you sew.......Submitted by Joyce

 

 

 

I find that pipe cleaners are the absolute best for fishing dust bunnies out of my sewing machine. They seem to be magnetic and the best part is they go around corners!.......Submitted by Penny

 

 

 

When chain sewing anything, especially half square triangles, take an old plastic thread spool and put a small seam ripper into the middle hole with the point facing up. This allows you to use both hands to quickly seperate the pieces. Works great and is nice to finally put that old seam ripper that came with your sewing machine to good use!......Submitted by Stephanie

 

 

 

Masking tape helps when "unsewing". Tape a piece over the seam that needs removing, and has been clipped every few threads. Lift carefully off and all the little thread pieces come with it......Submitted by Gail

 

 

 

I prefer to use a wooden skewer than a metal stiletto. This way I won't break a needle or knock my machine out of time if I hit it.........Submitted by Pat

 

 

 

Use half of a wooden clothespin for finger pressing your seams. You can decorate them and gift them to quilting friends..........Submitted by Francis

 

 

 

Old phone books work well as the base for string quilts. They remove from the finished block much easier than old flyers or mailers.........Submitted by Diane
 

 

 

To keep the sewing machine foot peddle from slipping, place it on a mouse pad ....... Submitted by Jeanine

 

 

 

For a clearer view of your stitching, try using the small rubber door stops under the back of your machine while sewing.  They tilt the machine just the right amount, and cost far less than the expensive "tilt boards" that you can buy.  Plus, the rubber helps keep your machine from slipping around. .....Submitted by Bonnie

 

 

 

If your machine is not set up to handle the large cones of thread, simply drop it into a largemouth canning jar and thread it to your machine. Works great!....Submitted by Melissa

 

 

 

Here's a way to make a similar quilt to your String Pieced Charity Quilt. Use flannel or cotton batting as the foundation. Cut out the backing a bit bigger than the size of block. Attach the fabric in the same way you describe ( foundation piecing), then attach the blocks together to form a quilt top. A backing is applied, and instead of binding the quilt, sew the front and back together (each facing the other) on 3 sides, flip it right-side out, then whipstitch shut. 
I've also heard them called "strippy quilts" and "popcorn
quilts" ('cuz you can't make just one!)...Submitted by Tanya

 

 

 

If you are paper piecing a block that is larger than letter size paper, use a large sheet of tissue or wrapping paper...Submitted by Marie

 

 

 

To stop the foot pedal of your sewing machine from slipping, cut a square of rubber shelf liner the size of the foot pedal and place it under.

 

 

 

    

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