¼” Seam or Bust!

D9P.blocks..13
D9P blocks

Have you ever had a mental block on doing something and when you finally decide to just deal with it you realize it wasn’t that hard after all? That is how I felt about dealing with my quilt blocks not quite lining up together. The corner points here and there just don’t always seem to match up right so I try to force them to by stretching, scrunching, and seam ripper outing…arghhhh! I guess I just kept expecting a “Voila! Everything matched up perfectly like magic!”

Well I finally decided to be more self-aware of my part in this dilemma. Two things I finally woke up to (and all the experts I should have listened to from the get go aren’t just saying this for fun) are:

1) Make sure your blocks are as close to the same size as possible and

2) Make sure your ¼ seam allowance is a ¼ seam allowance consistently.

I started working on a disappearing nine patch baby quilt to give to the local hospital’s NICU (a project from my Modern Quilt Guild group) and was determined that this one line up perfectly! Let’s just say perfect is a lofty goal and I realize improvement is important too and improve is what I did!

It doesn’t hurt to have a diligent supervisor by the name of Bean!!!

D9P.blocks.Bean.1
Supervisor Bean

Does anyone have some tips to share on achieving aligned corners and seams? I would love to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by and Sparkle On!

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13 thoughts on “¼” Seam or Bust!

  1. Hi Sparkily! I think different fabrics stretch at different rates which makes things wonky! For seams that are sewn next to each other, I always try to press them in opposite directions so they “nest together”. Finally, I have been known, in acts of desperation, to square up my blocks by cutting them down (sometimes as much as a quarter inch) to make all blocks equal. This cuts off the pieces that don’t quite fit and evens up the block edges. This usually works if your main blocks are all squares and rectangles AND if your border strips are not pieced triangles, flying geese, etc. Bean appears to have the entire project under control….whew!

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    1. Hi Cindy! I have a 50/50 chance here so if I am wrong, Hi Sandy! Thanks for spending the time to write such a helpful reply. I have always sewn the seams apart with the theory it is less bulky but just tried the opposite direction press; pressing the whole seam all to left or right and it is so much better. Like you said I just pushed the two seam butts together and they nested! Thanks for the tip on evening up blocks too; isn’t there a saying that acts of desperation are the mother of invention?lol…Thanks again Abbie ;)

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      1. Hi Abbie, this is Cindy. I am so glad the nested seams worked, sometimes just a seemingly little thing can ease a whole lot of frustration! I never wanted to square up my blocks because I thought it took too much time (ok, so I am a bit impatient!) but my quilts never looked right. A good quilting teacher insisted I make every block the same dimension…and she was right! You’ll be amazed at the little scrap pile you have after squaring everything up! I hope Supervisor Bean approves, time will tell!

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        1. Hi Cindy! Yes, nested seams are so much better, thank you! I am impatient with cutting too and seem to struggle with the exactness of measurements and rulers. I wish estimates worked :p I did get a larger cutting board that has also made a huge difference. Thanks again for taking the time to comment on my posts. Oh and Bean better approve or I may have to have a talk with her supervisor! ;)

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  2. When I first started quilting, I didn’t want to take the time to pin pieces and was always unhappy with the results. Then I forced myself to pin and now it’s a habit I don’t even mind doing. It’s not a 100% guarantee, but it helps-along with consistently sewing 1/4″ (scant or generous) and consistently measuring (which side of the line you place the edge of the fabric.) Sometime no matter how careful I am, the blocks just aren’t always perfect. It’s just the nature of the beast. Those are cute fabrics in your photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your reply :) Now that I think about it, I guess I would say I am a “pin minimalist.” Thanks to you I will be more conscientious when I pin and pin a lot more too. I know the time spent doing that will help with problems later on when the fabric shifts around when sewing. The nature of the beast is right! I guess the beast gives it the uniqueness that only handmade with love&care has (or so I tell myself!)

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  3. It looks like you have getting lots of good advice! I’ve done so much improv work lately, but today I just made a block for a group quilt that needed to be very accurately pieced. These are the things I concentrated on to make it a successful outcome: accurate cutting, testing the 1/4 in seam by piecing a couple of practice pieces and checking the unit size (I checked each unit after pressing), careful pressing, plenty of pins, and a little extra care and concentration. When I assemble blocks in a quilt, I always “square up” to make sure those seams will align. Good luck!

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