General Quilt Tips


Iíve an old (cracked) egg cup, that I found the perfect use for!
I put a magnet disc in the bottom, and it now holds my pins in an upright position, that letís me grab them easily, without stabbing my finger - as all the pointy ends naturally stay at the bottom.


Giving the gift of a quilt to a friend or family member? Don't forget to include washing instructions.




Use fabric that you no longer will make a quilt with, to use as reusable gift wrap.......Submitted by Carol




When I need a larger ruler than I have, to cut fabric, I use painters tape, to temporarily join two smaller rulers together.


To keep your rotary cutting mats flat between uses, hang them on men's dress slack hangers, with the metal clips. The clips will hold the mat securely and in a flat, vertical position. Then, tie a pretty ribbon through the handle of your rotary cutter and slip it over the hanger. Everything is all together for your next project.......Submitted by Laura


I was able to clean up the bottom of my iron by soaking paper towels with vinegar and laying the iron down on it for a few minutes.
I then scrubbed with baking soda soaked with vinegar, until done. So simple & ecofriendly!

Ecofriendly & Green  Method to Clean an Iron




To help keep a unit straight, lay a ruler along a seam, adjusting here and there, to make sure itís straight and then give it a good press. Let it cool before moving it.




To prevent wasting fabric, when testing dark & light placement of quilt blocks, try using wrapping paper..........Submitted by Deidre




Make a design wall by mounting a vinyl shade covered with white fleece or flannel..........Submitted by Joan




I like to store my extra quilts flat on our spare bed, alternating which one is on top...............Submitted by Teddy




I covered some folded, corrugated cardboard inside an older flannel sheet, to use as a small pressing mat.





After 5 years of turning my iron to maximum, I discovered that setting is too hot for cotton fabric.
I now use the 'cotton' setting and have noticed that it gives me much better results.......Submitted by Jo Anne




A friend of mine, who had been a mechanic gave me one of those magnetic wands that mechanics use to pick up screws that they drop on the floor. That worked very well for picking up my dropped pins, etc. However, I wanted something better, that would work to make it so the pins never dropped on the floor.
At a workshop one of the gals had a small magnetic tray in her notions box. It was also something mechanics use, available where they buy supplies. I found 3 different sizes of these magnetic trays, and use all three.......Submitted by Linda




I've recently went through my unfinished quilt projects, and decided which I still really want to make.
With the rest, I filtered out some fabrics to add back to my stash and donated the remaining project blocks, etc. to my local guild, to use for charity quilts......Submitted by Judith




Binder clips are a great way of storing the large cutting mats flat by hanging them on a wall....Submitted by Anita




When you need to print pattern templates and don't have a printer, you can use a computer at your local library.




To keep scissors handy to clip unwanted threads, etc. when pressing, I tied a ribbon to a pair and attached it with a safety pin to the ironing board cover...............Submitted by Tina




My Tip to Quickly Process Scraps into Squares ~ Using a Strip Cutter Die!

Processing Scrap Fabric Tip




To fix a warped cutting mat, place on a metal sheet in the sun until flat. Then allow it to cool flat..............Submitted by Sheryl




At my guild meeting this week, one of the ladies mentioned she used transparent first aid tape on the bottom of her ruler, to prevent it from slipping............Submitted by Kellie

No Slip Ruler Tip




Use fine steel wool as all or part of the stuffing for pincushions. It helps keep the needles and pins sharp.............Submitted by Jill




I was happy to find an older iron, with no holes on the bottom and a bit heavier than newer irons. As I don't like to use steam, the flat plate and weight gives me a better press..................Submitted by Darlene




The suggested height of a cutting table, for an average female, should be between 34"-36"high. This will prevent strain on your back when standing to cut your fabric................Submitted by Mary




After pressing a block smooth and flat, set it aside and place larger ruler on top while its still warm. As it cools under the template, the block is "set" flat, and the corners won't curl up...............Submitted by Laura




Instead of struggling with the values of my fabrics, I like to take a picture of them in black & white, which makes it easier to see the darks, mediums, and lights..............Submitted by Betty




I like to keep my quilt patterns in a 3-ring binder. I punch holes in patterns I've printed from pdf files. Plus I keep pattern envelopes in page protectors. I even use dividers to seperate by type................Submitted by Karen




To prevent permanent creases and damage to quilts you are storing, refold them occasionally...............Submitted by Carol




I like to use the hole in my cutting mat to hang the mat on a nail hammered into a stud in the closet, or behind the door of my sewing room.
If you use a 2 or 3 inch 'Finishing nail' (it doesn't have a flat head on it), you can hang multiple mats and they lay nicely flat.
I also use clear packing tape to make a hanger for small mats that don't have a drilled hole. You can also just drill a hole yourself.
I hang rulers on a finishing nail, too, since they also have holes drilled in them.
Everything hangs in a vertical row, on nails in the same wall stud.
Note: Be sure the nail for the mat is high enough above the baseboard for the length of the mat..............Submitted by Jenny




Getting older, I cannot decipher the difference of my navy and black thread in the evening when I sew. I mark the bottom of spool with a n or a b. I also keep 2 bobbins marked the same way. Much easier to grab the right one............Submitted by Judy




To keep track of the quilt books I own, I note the titles alphabetically in a small address book............Submitted by Rose




I put flannel on a bulletin board to use as a small 'design wall'.........Submitted by from Bonni

Bulletin Board Design Wall Tip




When making a block; it isn't about the seam allowance; It's all about the accurate size of each element of the top of the block. 2 inches needs to be 2 inches if that's what the pattern says. Cut accurately and measure the completed section........Submitted by Diana




I bought a wood TV tray (with legs), padded the top with scraps of batting, topped that with hot pad batting & then covered it with a old dish towel (that I sewed a draw string around). It stands at the side of my sewing machine, so I can iron pieces and blocks without going to the ironing board, plus it is portable and I take it to retreats and sewing classes........Submitted by Sharleen




In a pinch, if your ruler keeps slipping when cutting with a rotary cutter, wind a thin rubber band on the end. It helps to have the elastic stretched tight......Submitted by Helen




Use plain water only when washing out water soluble marker pens from your fabric, and hand wash well. Using any detergents and ironing may set the ink permanently..........Submitted by Karen




For a portable and cheap quilt design wall, use a flannel-backed vinyl table cloth.........Submitted by Beth




When I cut down small pieces of fabrics to prepare them for future scrap quilts, I cut the biggest square I can from the scrap. Then I cut the biggest square from what's left and continue until the smallest size I save is a 2 x 2 inch square........Submitted by Maggie




I found the plastic frame that came with a membership card had a square I could use to check a positon of a print through the window. Now that's a good use for some plastic........Submitted by Charlie

Fussy Cut Tip




You can enlarge a quilt to make it fit the bed you want to make it for by adding an extra row of blocks or some extra borders.......Submitted by Debbie




Reuse the plastic zippered packages that new sheets come in to keep planned quilt projects together. Keep everything you need for each project together........Submitted by Peggy




To keep track of what is in your storage containers you can take a "spread out photo of the stuff in the bin" and tape it to the outside. That saves you digging in unnecessary places.......Submitted by Diana




To get a better idea of how your finished quilt will look, arrange your blocks and take a picture using a digital camera......Submitted by Irene




A simple way to keep a block with many pieces organized and ready to sew is to press the patches to freezer paper......Submitted by Kim




I found and now use an old salad spinner to spin dry small pieces of fabrics, like charm squares. I press dry with the iron to finish the drying process......Submitted by Tina




Covering the back side of your grid ruler with clear contact protects the markings & makes it less slippery ......Submitted by Cindy




It's not if your computer dies, but when, so be sure you back up and save your pdf quilt patterns!........ :)




I use leftover fabric as "ribbon and bow" on gifts. I only buy white gift wrap. Batiks are especially fun to use. The long selvages are good to use as the ribbon around the box. Then, you can use an assortment of colors and lengths to make a "pom-pom" type bow........Submitted by Kay




When I need to cut the same size patch over and over, I find it helpful to put a piece of masking tape, temporarily at the line the line, on my grid ruler, I use to align my fabric edge. No need to rethink where to place it and no mistakes.......Submitted by Pam




To stop your fabric from fraying, use a rotary cutter with a pinking blade to cut the edge of the fabric before you wash it.......Submitted by Sandy




To make my own magnetic pin dish I epoxy glued a slim, powerful magnet to the underside of my shallow dish.......Submitted by Gwen




I like to wash my fabrics before I store them. The unwashed is kept in a pile beside my washing machine until I get a chance to wash them. I clip the corners of each piece of fabric, before I wash it, to help keep fraying from happening. These clipped corners remind me the fabric has been washed.......Submitted by Linda




Since my ironing board stays set up all of the time I treated myself to some fabric that I love to cover it with.......Submitted by Gloria




When cutting strips for a project cut a few extra. Eventually these saved strips can be used to make a quick quilt, like a Log Cabin.......Submitted by Helen




I re-used some plastic strapping (free from the home improvement store or binding boxes) in the casing to hold my thread catcher open.......Submitted by Judy

Thread Catcher Tip




I have found the little nylon nets that come on curling ribbon are reusable for covering spools of thread, to prevent unravelling.......Submitted by Jill




I hope to make a calendar wallhanging where I will change the block monthly. I will either use them again another year or turn them into a quilt when the year is up.......Submitted by Judy




When I have some time I like to make up "kits" for projects I will be working on. I do not get to sew regularly and I loose track of where I am with my projects. The kits allow me to sew in short spurts with everything ready to go.......Submitted by Judy




I sort most of my cottons by colour families in a lovely old desk. I stand the fabrics on edge folded side up, which allows me to see all the fabrics at a glance......Submitted by Marilyn




To find the right side of solid fabric check the selvage for the little holes. The smooth side is the wrong side and the side with the hole "bumps" is the right side......Submitted by Linda




I made a sample block of some purchased templates, as the directions suggested, before cutting up all my good fabric. I then made a bag out of the sample block with velcro closure. I now have a safe place to store my templates and I can see in an instant what template pattern is in the bag......Submitted by Linda




When I go through my quilting magazines, I keep track of projects I find that I want to make for people, by noting the details and page on a post it, to add to the cover of the magazine......Submitted by Karen




If you have a spreadsheet on your computer, you can make your own design and see what the finished quilt will look like. This only works for squares. Since spreadsheets are grids, you can lay out the design changing placement and colours until you get it the way you like it. Then use copy and paste to repeat it until you have the required number of blocks. If you don't like the design, just start over. A lot easier than drawing and re-drawing on paper......Submitted by Mary




To avoid having to look through a large number of books to find a particular pattern I devised a system using the word processing program on my computer. I numbered each - books starting at 100, magazines starting at 400, pamphlets and loose patterns stored in envelopes at 700 by putting a small sticky label on the front and write the number on it. Then I record the number of the book and every pattern or tip or article of interest in it, sometimes adding comments. So, later, when I want a pattern for a ... Sunbonnet Sue ... for example, I open this word processor file and do a word search for Sunbonnet and I have the number of each book, magazine or pamphlet that contains such a pattern. It saves hours of searching through books......Submitted by Lynda




A dollar store shoe organizer bag hung on a wall or the back of a door of your sewing room is perfect for storage. The many clear pockets will allow you to view what you have......Submitted by Maureen




To remember where I purchased fabric, incase I need more, I mark in the selvage with a fabric marker the place and date of purchase......Submitted by Wanda




Tie a ribbon to a pair of small sewing scissors and safety pin them to your ironing board. When you press your quilt blocks and find threads that need cutting, you can clip them easily.........Submitted by Nancy




Each time I make a quilt top, I make one extra block. These blocks are kept in a shoe box. One day it will make a beautiful sampler quilt!.........Submitted by Karen




You can make a great travel design board, to use at workshops, by covering an old game board with flannel.........Submitted by Anne




In the winter our houses are very dry and the electricity in the air makes it difficult to get the small threads off of our fingers and into the garbage bag. A loop made of masking tape and attached to the front-side of my sewing machine makes it a snap to get rid of them.........Submitted by Darlene




Rather than buy the plastic magazine holders (like those in the library), I save my large cereal boxes to store my quilt magazines in. I cut two sides of the cereal box at a downward angle so the magazines can be readily seen. Keeps the shelf neat and I can cover and label them, too........Submitted by Fran




When working with flannel, shrink the fabric first, treat with spray starch and use larger seam allowances....... Submitted by Joy




Adobe Acrobat Reader can automatically default the pattern to "Fit to Page", which scales the document to fit the printer paper. You should change the print size in Adobe Acrobat Reader to 100% (or Actual Size) before you print your patterns.




Save your practice or unused blocks of all sizes. When you have enough of them, put them together in a collage lap quilt and donate to your favourite charity!





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