Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Easy...Easier...Easing for Modern Quilt Tip

Marny here...

Do you ever stop and ask yourself, now why did I do that?  And then, how can I fix that?

For those of us with moveable needle positions on our sewing machines we get to choose our seam width.  This is not as cut and dried as you might think.  Jill and I were feverishly sewing together last week and we discovered she is a "4.5" and I am a "4.0".
Jill's perfect setting at "4.5"  This is the smaller seam allowance of the two.
Marny's perfect setting at "4.0" is the larger seam allowance of the two.

Could I leave well enough alone?  No is the obvious answer.  You guessed it, I made a couple of strip sets using "4.5".  Then I cut them into the correct segments and decided to check the results.  I lined the segments side by side to sew them together, and wow, you guessed it again, "4.5" doesn't work for me.  Everyone is different in how they place their fabric along the edge of their foot.  I imagine every machine is a bit different too.  So you need to find the needle position that works for you and use it!
Can't have this now can we?  This is the overall difference in length.  The three seam
allowances were not large enough so the segment ended up
 longer than the one it needed to pair with.

The "grass is always greener syndrome" can get you into trouble.

I had a pile of segments with the wrong seam allowance.  One set of segments had three seams in each one.  The error gets multiplied the more seams are involved.  I did not want to start with a new strip set.  One fabric was in short supply.  What to do?

My first solution was to resew the seams.  Easy but tedious.

And then I thought how about if I pin lots and fudge a bit.  Easier but not so pretty.

But then...wait for it...easing is best accomplished if the fabric that needs easing is against the feed dogs of your machine.  I can just hear my 8th grade Home Economics teacher announcing this kindly as we all wrestled with inserting sleeves.  (I also still remember that the first one went in perfectly, and that the second one took nine tries.   Not so cleverly and against advise, I chose a nice solid pink fabric that showed every error.  I just loved the solid sea of pink though.)  Notice I am still happily sewing with solids.

I placed the fabric segment that needed easing along the feed dogs and put the segment sewn with the "4.0" needle position seam on top.  Worked like a charm.  Success was mine.  Big sigh of relief.  The blocks are going together beautifully now.
The segment that ended up too long due to the too small seam allowances
 is placed against the feed dogs.When you pin appropriately and match seams
correctly the machine does the work for you.

Note to self:  all other strip sets will be sewn with a "4.0" needle position.  That is if I can remember.

Last week's design dilemmas have been conquered, the new pattern is getting put on the computer with diagrams and directions, and all the deadlines are going to be met.  The quilts will be ready at the longarm quilter's tomorrow (thanks April) and therefore let us give a shout.  Binding and pictures are next.  Ta Da!  Yipee!

We just received Market Values back from the printer.  It is always fun to watch the UPS truck drive up with patterns for Modern Quilt Relish.  Can't wait to show them to you all!

See you Tuesday.  Which, by the way, is the last post before Houston Fall Quilt Market.  Can you believe it?


  1. You two are such clever ladies! 'nuf said.

  2. Thanks for the reminder about how to ease fabric. I think a lot of newer quilters aren't aware of that because they didn't start learning to sew with garment construction... like us old-timers did! Enjoy your prep time for market. I hope Modern Quilt Relish is a huge hit.


We really love hearing from you! All comments are being moderated due to inappropriate comments being posted. We will attempt to post your comments in a timely fashion.