TIPS I like trying new methods, products and suggestions I have heard about at workshops, lectures and in speaking with other quilters. Following are some I have absolutely adopted due to proven success. [Please note: There are some that will disagree with my tips and that is fine. There are many methods – not necessarily right or wrong, just different.]
Thread – Bottom Line Thread (Superior Threads) in the bobbin. It is a finer thread that gives a more accurate seam and less bulk and it is reasonably priced. When you fill your bobbin, it seems as though it will never run out!
Cone Thread Holder – This is a great money saving quilter/sewer hack! Do you use the large cones of thread? Do you have a fancy thread holder or need to purchase one? Here’s a great tip! Turn your cone over, find a small spool of thread that fits snugly inside – Voila! Your cone of thread can now fit on your spindle. Save your next empty spool and always have it on hand. No more need to have an extra piece of paraphernalia on your sewing table. This makes it easier for traveling to classes, sew-ins and retreats. And, it costs nothing extra!
Stitch Length – Many electronic machines have a seam default of 2.5. When I sew, I change my stitch length to 1.70. There is more accuracy and it aids in the piece laying flatter. Also, if the quilt is pulled or if someone (like a judge) smooths over a quilt with their hands, the seam does not separate at all.
Pressing Seams – always open. It is a bit more time consuming, especially when sewing together lots and lots of small pieces, but it is worth it! Once pressed on the right side, the sewn piece lay flat – no ridges from seams being pressed to one side.
Starch – Yes, I use starch. Some are concerned with bugs eating the sugar in the starch resulting in fabric being eaten. I do not have those as a concern. If it is a concern, you can always use Best Press or rinse your quilt top before quilting. Fabric is unstable. Starching helps to stabilize the fabric giving more accurate piecing. It is almost like stitching two pieces of paper together!
Prewashing – I usually DO NOT prewash. However, when I do, I clip the corners of my pieces of fabric to prevent unraveling.
Fusing – When using fusibles, I always use a teflon sheet. It protects both my iron and ironing board. Don’t have a teflon sheet handy? Parchment paper works just fine.