Hello, quilters! Today’s topic of discussion is a fantastic one that gets results fast! Let’s talk about ways you can begin improving your quilt fast!
These are my tried-and-true methods for doing things that have helped thousands of people become better quilters faster throughout the years.
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Tip number one is this – Accuracy matters!
I know, I’m coming right out the gate with a tip that not many of you are going to want to hear. This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many quilters do not focus on accuracy. They think that as long as the finished product looks good, that’s all that matters. But if you’re not accurate when you’re cutting your fabric or piecing your blocks together, you’ll never get the precise, beautiful quilts that you dream about!
If you are not careful when you are cutting and if you are not careful when you are sewing, your seams will not be straight and your project will not look the way that you want it to.
This brings me to number two…
You need to be good at cutting. There are many different tools and things to assist you that you can use to help you do your job well.
I don’t think you need every new tool that comes out. What has worked well for me in the past is using simple tools that have been available to quilters for a long time.
1) Have a good sharp rotary cutter and healthy sturdy cutting mat.
2) Make sure that you’re using accurate quilting rulers.
There are now additional tool additions and add-ons for specific challenges you may encounter, such as when your ruler skips when you’re cutting.
The following tools are a fantastic answer to a slipping ruler!
The seams and piecing of your quilt are the foundation. As a result, you want them to be sturdy.
Another trick with cutting. If maybe half square triangles are not your best thing and sometimes you find that they are not perfectly square after you’re done with them, size up a little bit and then trim down. That means making it bigger than it needs to be, then trimming them down to be precisely the right size.
It’s not going to be, “oh, I spent an extra two seconds trimming that block there and wish I had those milliseconds back!” No… You’ll be happier with the end of your quilt as a result of that time spent. And that is what we aim for.
This technique works with any of your blocks, including quarter square triangles, as well as any other type of block. Make it a tiny little bit larger than required and then trim it down afterward.
Check out this post to see tips for sewing an accurate quarter-inch seam.
Make a test block.
Perhaps you don’t want to go and cut into all of your really, really good fabric because this is a new skill, a new block that you’re making is a new method that you’re trying out.
Let’s be honest, fabric can get costly and expensive, right?
If you don’t want to cut into all of that gorgeous fabric and you just want to test something out – make one (or a few) test block(s).
This is a really, really good use for your scrap fabric too! Pull out some scrap fabric that you’ve already used on another project. Use that to make your test block (or blocks), and then you’re not wasting any new fabric.
And then when you’ve perfected the cutting and the piecing and the technique, then you can go ahead and cut into your good fabric with confidence because you know it’s going to work out perfectly in the end.
I heard this a lot growing up and I’m going to take this wisdom and I’m going to give it to you now…
The things that you practice are the things that you get good at.
Quilting is exactly that. It’s a skill, it’s a craft, and the more that you do it the better that you will become at it.
And that brings me to my next secret, which is this…
You are not going to get through a quilt top without making a mistake.
It’s inevitable. You’re going to make a mistake on your quilt top at some point, we all do.
The key is not to get discouraged when that happens and to not give up. Everyone makes mistakes, it is part of the learning process.
Even the most seasoned of quilters out there make silly mistakes. And that’s okay.
Let me offer you a piece of advice: I want you to think of your seam ripper as a really, really useful tool, comparable to your rotary cutter. It’s extremely beneficial. You would never despise your rotary cutter because it makes things easier. Things become better as a result of it. Your seam ripper is exactly the same.
As a quilter, I want you to realize you’re gonna make mistakes and you’re gonna have to fix them. That’s just part of what it is. We want it to be right and we want it to be beautiful. We want it to be something that we’re proud of. So chill out on the anger with your seam ripper.
It is critical to press your seams.
We’re going to go back to one of our beginning skills here, which is pressing your seams. This isn’t a secret; it says in every pattern you read, “press your seams,” whether you do it or not… that is up to you.
If you always have your iron ready to go, and practice sewing seams and pressing them, you will get better at quilting. When you have some free time, sew a lot of seams and then press them.
Never stop making quilts.
The more quilts you make, the better quilter you will become.
Do you know how I learned the tips and the tricks that I share with my quilting students? I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I have made a lot of quilting mistakes and I’ve had to go and undo a lot of quilts.
My goal is for you to take the methods that I teach you, put them into practice in your own skills, further your knowledge with confidence in quilting and then move forward and learn more.
So those are my secrets to making a better quilt! I hope you find these tips helpful and I wish you the best of luck on your quilting journey.
Keep practicing your craft. Quilting is a lifelong journey and the more you do it, the better you will become at it. So never stop making quilts!
For more tips, trick and tutorials, check out my class for modern quilters and sew a quilt with me step by step! Modern Quilting Made Easy 2.0