Accurate Patchwork Piecing #1 Research

Sit back, relax, this is NOT the Quilt Police knocking on your device’s screen!

I’m on a gentle mission to reassess my piecing techniques and figure out where inaccuracies have crept into my process. My mission is NOT to create a perfect quilt but to increase the sense of satisfaction I gain from the piecing of quilt blocks and quilt tops. In this mini series I’m going to share what I’ve learned about accurate piecing, share how I apply the knowledge and, of course, share the results 🙂

Take this 10½ block for instance:

The block isn’t quite square…
The centre seams don’t meet; the strips should be 1″ across but measure slightly less…
… Not surprisingly the block edges are uneven.

I’m not not ripping into myself – or the patchwork block for that matter – just of a mind to consider why these inaccuracies creep into my patchworking and to (re)discover techniques to reduce their occurrence.

Here’s what I knew already and what I’ve added to my knowledge through research using dear old wwwdotsearch.

Accurate Patchwork Piecing requires well maintained equipment:

  • Rotary cutting kit – sharp blade, smooth mat, ruler with anti-slip markings/grips.
  • Sewing machine – new needle (sharps size 75/11 or 80/12) , good quality 50wt thread in top and bobbin, tension correctly balanced.
  • Before starting a new project- clean out lint from the bobbin race and under the stitch plate.

Accurate Patchwork Piecing requires careful stitching:

  • Consistent scant ¼” seams. There are various methods to test for accurate seams and a choice of tools to use.
  • Use of ‘thread savers’/scrap chargers.
  • Short stitch length.

Accurate Patchwork Piecing requires careful pressing:

  • Careful pressing of fabrics, before rotary cutting, and during piecing.
  • Pressing tools that may help include wool pressing mat and a tailor’s clapper.

I’ve searched for and read/watched quite a selection of posts and tutorials that deal with the multi-faceted issue of accurate patchwork piecing. Listed below are the ones I found most helpful – of course some of the advice will be contradictory but that just gives us options if one method doesn’t work for our machine, fabrics or ‘sewing style’:

Phew! That’s a lot to take on board. I’m going to apply a selection of the tips given in those tutorials to my latest patchwork project. I will post the results shortly and share any further tips and recommendations I find along the way 🙂



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