Welcome back for Week 4 of the Lighthouse Steps Quilt Along!
How did you do sewing your rows? Are you ready to sew them together?? I have just a few tips for you.
Tip #1 – Pressing your rows
Make sure you have pressed your rows flat and that the seams are pressed consistently to one side. If your rows feel a little wavy, try pressing flat with a fine mist of Best Press or Flatter.
I mean a fine mist. We are working with precuts so the fabrics are not pre-washed and too much moisture can affect them and make them shrink a bit. And that can make them pretty easy to stretch out of shape if you really iron. So press flat. Gently.
Tip #2 -Pin the intersections.
Now this may seem like a “Of course” I am pinning!” moment, but it is easy to decide to just start sewing and figure it will all work out! Ask me how I know this.
I am not big into pinning. When possible, if I think I can match seams by just holding the fabrics together with my fingers as I come up to each seam, I am likely to do that.
For this quilt, my rows worked out better when I pinned most of the intersections.
How I like to pin
First let me show you how I pin. My pins are not going across the seam with the ball of the pin outside and to the right and the point of the pin heading into the row.
I pin with all of my pin in the row, with the pin starting away from the seam and inserted at a 45 degree angle.
This way, when I am sewing, I can easily nudge the pin away from the seam with my left hand.
And if I get sewing a little fast and forget to move the pin, I would only sew over the tip- the smallest part of the pin. I am less likely to break a needle.
Intersections to pin
As you place your rows together to sew you will have 2 intersections to deal with; one where the top seam is going away from you.
The second one has the top seam is heading towards you.
As you sew, most of our machines feed the fabric from the bottom, but the presser foot just puts pressure on the top fabric. Which means it kind of pushes the top fabric towards you as your sew.
(If you have a Pfaff or other machine with the IDT or an even feed foot, then this is less of an issue.)
So while the machine will help to nest the seams with the top seam heading away from you by pushing it into the bottom seam, it will help to pull the other seam away from the bottom seam.
I suggest pinning both types of intersection, but it is really important to pin the one where the top seam is heading towards you as you sew.
To pin the intersections, I put the pin in the fabric on the right side of the seam and have the pin come out on the left side of the seam. This helps hold those 2 together and makes it less likely they will pull apart as I sew.
I also pin the start of the row and the end of the row. Then as I sew, I stop frequently with my needle in the down position and smooth any bumps away from me.
Tips # 3 -Organizing your sewing
One other thing I like to do when sewing the rows together is to stay organized! I am less likely to sew my rows in the wrong order (though it had been known to happen) if I sew in chunks.
I like to start with the top sections and sew the first 2 rows together. Then I press the seam to one side.
Then I sew the next 2 rows together and press. I then sew the 2 sets of 2 rows together. After that, I move on to the next set of rows.
I sew the top section together and set it aside.
Then I sew the center section and add the 2 contrasting strips to the top and bottom of the section.
Next I sew the top and center sections together and move onto sewing the bottom section. I sew that one in groups, sew the groups together and then sew the bottom section to the rest of the quilt. Ta-done!
Remember to keep your photographs of each section nearby so you can refer to them and keep your rows in order! The rows have a tendency to play around and next thing you know… they are in the wrong order!
Sewing the Contrast Strips
Here are a few tips when making and adding the contrast strips to the center section.
First, sew the strips together with a diagonal seam.
Trim the excess away and press the seam open. That way, the join is less noticeable.
Second, once you have cut the strips to size, find the center of the strip and then the center of the quilt center section and mark each with a pin. Match up the center pins, and then pin the beginning of the seam and the end of the seam.
Continue to pin the seam between the pins, smoothing any excess along the seam. Sew them together and press to the contrast strip!
One note about sewing the rows together. Most of the time in quilting, we don’t use a backstitch at the beginning and end of a seam. That’s because when you add the next fabric, you sew over the seam, locking it down.
With the lap size quilt, you are not adding borders. So all the seams will not get locked down. You can either backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam or, once the top is done, sew all the way around the outside edge of the quilt top, about ⅛” in from the edge to secure the seams. You don’t want them to pull open during quilting!
A new Quilt Along Giveaway!!!
How about another giveaway? Last week, Schmetz Needles gave me some needle packs to give away. This week Aurifil Thread is offering some of their 50 wt thread!
I love using Aurifil thread. It is strong yet thin, lays flat in my seams and produces less lint than some other threads. And it comes in so many fun colors! For piecing though, I usually stick to a neutral color- my to go threads are grey and beige.
Giveaway is closed and I have emailed the winner! Thanks to everyone who entered and I love all your comments!
To enter, just leave me a comment on this post– you could tell me whether you are someone who pins a lot or little- curious minds want to know! But any comment will do! Giveaway is open until midnight Monday March 29th – mountain time!
The last blog post in the Quilt Along is Friday April 9th. In that post, I will share some ideas on quilting as well as border and binding tips! See you then!
And yes, I will have one last giveaway on that blog post! I was going to do a Zoom call, but my schedule changed so it will just be a blog post.
Have fun sewing your quilt top together!
P.S. I have only 1 Strip pack left of the Painted Blossoms fabrics! So if you are interested, click here to go to my shop!