Saturday, February 01, 2020

Stepping Stones Sampler - Let's get sewing!

Last month we spent gathering our supplies, now this month we get to start sewing!  For this month we'll be working on rotary cutting, sewing squares with an accurate 1/4 inch seam allowance and strip piecing.

The result will be a set of four patch units that we'll use in a later lesson and a sixteen patch unit we'll use next month to complete the center block.

This lesson is all about accuracy - in your cutting and your sewing.

The pattern calls for using your contrast fabric and your background fabric.  If you are using scraps, or have more fabrics you would like to use, like I did for the Enchanted forest version you can use one color for the four patch units and a second color for the sixteen patch. You will need a bit of extra fabric for the fou pathc units if you are doing this.

For cutting - if you struggle with your ruler sliding around, make sure you take your time place your hand so you have a good grip on the ruler, I like to let my pinky grip the mat off the edge of the ruler.  Start your cut, pausing as you get to the top of your hand.
Being careful not to move the ruler, lift your hand and grip the ruler above your cutter.  I do this without moving the hand with the cutter.  Then complete your cut.  To make sure you get a full measure of fabric in your cut make sure that you don't line up the edge of the fabric with the edge of the line you are measuring to.  Make sure the fabric is actually under that line.  That thread or two can make a big difference in the accuracy of your blocks!

For accuracy in sewing - start by sewing two squares together with a 1/4 inch seam.  Press your seam toward the dark fabric.  Measure your sewn unit.  If you are right where you should be, that's great and you are ready to go.  If you unit is too small, that means your seam allowance is too large.  Move your needle if you can to the right.  If your unit is to large, you need to move your needle to the left to take a bigger seam.  If you cannot move your needle, you can make a guide for your fabric using several layers of painters tape, or a stack of sticky notes.  You can also purchase a seam guide - magnetic or sticky to attach to your seam bed.  There are lots of techniques to help you get an accurate 1/4 inch seam allowance, so do what you need to so that your seams, and blocks, are accurate!  It's well worth working on!

One handy tip is to use plastic baggies to help keep your pieces organized.  I particularly like the extra large one in the laundry product aisle of the Dollar Tree store.  The essentials large storage bags that come in a set of three are the perfect size to store quilt blocks!

You can download the instructions for the first lesson here.  Join the facebook group here.  And if you missed the introduction and fabric requirements, you can find them here.  The download works best from a desktop or laptop computer.  Make sure you save your files, each lesson will be free for one month, after that they will be available for a small fee.

 Have fun!  I'd love to see your color choices and progress, so feel free to share - use the hashtag #steppingstonesquiltalong on instagram so we can find them easily.  I'm resisting the temptation to start a new version, but will be sharing pictures of the four I've made so far as we go!

I'm hoping to do a live video on facebook talking about rotary cutting technique.  Hopefully that will work, but no firm promises at this point!  Thanks for quilting along with me!


1 comment:

Denise said...

This is a great tutorial on cutting.