Home School Quilting
Sewing seeds of creativity!
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Quilting Notes
Block Construction
We have all our supplies beautiful fabric and a block design or
pattern. Cutting fabric and getting it back together square in the
right size is a challenge. With practice and patience it can be done.
All piecing requires accurate cutting, marking and sewing. If you are
off 1/32 of an inch cutting multiplied by the number of pieces in a
block; the four patch block as an example has 16 seams would be off
by ½ an inch. This is just the cutting part. Accuracy sewing the seam
counts too.

Rotary cutters, mats and acrylic rulers revolutionized quilting. Before
their invention everything was cut with scissors. Templates were
made from cereal boxes. There are all styles of rotary cutters. The
most important thing to remember about rotary cutters is to change
the blade. A dull blade can damage your mat and can be frustrating
to cut with. Mats come in various sizes and colors. It is good to have
one that has a side with no lines. When you cut fabric on a mat it is
best to use the markings on the ruler not the markings on the mat.
It is also advisable to use rulers from the same company, all rulers
are not made the same.

Prepare your fabric for cutting. To wash or not has caused many a
heated discussion. Washing removes any chemicals like sizing that is
used in the manufacturing of fabric. Washing also removes excess
dye. Some techniques instruct you not wash your fabric because it
can become distorted. An example would be border prints used to
make Kaleidoscope type blocks. It is all a matter of choice, but it is
wise to check for the dye bleeding and avoid heart ache later. You
can snip off a corner of the fabric, put it in water and heat it up in
the microwave. If the water turns color then wash your fabric using
vinegar or Retayne; a product used by dyers to stop bleeding.  
Improper pressing can also distort fabric. When pressing yardage
iron the length of the fabric because it is more stable. Selvage to
selvage has some give and will distort. When pressing during
construction use an up and down motion. A dry iron is better, too
much steam will distort too. But steam is needed to flatten those
seams so press good and let the piece cool before handling.

Quality fabric will provide a straight edge when torn across the width
of the fabric. You can also get a straight edge by matching the
selvage edges and cutting with your ruler. To cut a strip place the
cut edge under your ruler at the measurement you want being sure
that the cut edge is lined up with the center of markings. The lines
on the acrylic rulers are not solid they have broken areas so you can
see how your fabric is placed. Measure twice cut once to help avoid
mistakes. Place your rotary cutter perpendicular to the mat up
against the acrylic ruler. Do not cut at a slant this will damage your
mat. Be careful to keep your fingers out of the way so you won't get
cut. Rulers have a tendency to slip. There are many products on the
market to help prevent slippage but the best advice is to take your
time.

Now sewing a quilter’s scant ¼ inch seam…what is a scant ¼ inch?
You added a ¼ inch to the measurement so now why a scant? The
thread in the seam will make up the scant. So a scant is a thread’s
width short of a ¼ inch. Just sew and don’t worry over the scant. As
long as you are consistent it will all work out. The most import thing
is to sew straight. And it’s not a race to see whose machine can go
the fastest. Take your time it will show in the end product.