Quilting Tips

Press ‘n Seal …
When machine quilting a specific design or pattern on your quilt, use the new Glad Wrap Press ‘n Seal to draw your design. This wrap sticks wonderfully to fabric and lifts without any residue. After quilting, the wrap is easily removed at the seam lines. I have saved time doing this because there is no pinning and the wrap is clear so you can see exactly where you want it to be placed.

Use Painter’s Tape …
Use blue painter’s tape – it does not stick permanently onto fabric or even paper. Wind it around your embroidery spools with the sticky side out, overlapping a little. Then the stray end can be stuck to the tape and released without leaving residue.
Use for an old shutter …
Use an old shutter hung upside down on the wall by your cutting table. You have to anchor it top and bottom. Then it holds a multitude of rulers at your fingertips.

Spray your chalk lines …
When using chalk rollers to mark your stencil designs, spritz over the chalk lines with hairspray to keep it from rubbing off while you handle the quilt. The marks disappear in the laundry with no problem.

Guiding fabric when sewing …
Many of the TV quilters use a stiletto to guide their quilt pieces through their sewing machines. I don’t own a stiletto, but happened to pick up my long handled seam ripper one day and used the point to guide my fabrics.

Set Powder Markings…..
When using a pounce with powder to mark a quilt top, temporarily set it by applying a quick sprist of hairspray. This will set the powder so it doesn’t brush off, but it will wash right out when you’re done with the quilt!

Using a sewing ham
I have found that using my sewing “ham” as a pillow for doing hand applique allows me to have support and a surface to shape the applique onto the fabric as I stitch.

Masking tape doubles …
Make a circle of masking tape sticky side out and attach it to machine/table/couch/chair. Stick on all thread scraps and small fabric snips you cut. Helps keep it off the floor and YOU. Masking tape also helps when “unsewing.” Just tape a piece over the unsewed seam then take off and all the little thread pieces just whip right off.

Needleturn Applique …
In doing needle turn applique, when you come to a tip or for that matter any place on the applique that you need more turning power than the needle can provide, use a round wooden toothpick to provide a stronger turner. Also, the wood fibes help to catch and tuck in any stray threads sticking out.

Use for Sticky-tack …
Use small pieces of sticky-tack (the stuff you use to stick posters on the wall) on top of your sewing machine to hold your seam ripper. It holds it well and it’s easy to just stick it right back on when you’re finished using it. It works for holding your instruction sheet up on a wall or whatever is handy (the side of a bookcase, for example). It doesn’t leave any sticky residue, so you can use it anywhere.

Uses for New or Used Dryer Sheets…….
Use dryer sheets as a foundation for crazy quilt squares. Also, when hand sewing, you can run your thread between the dryer sheets. This keeps your thread from knotting and helps it through your fabric more smoothly.

Keeping rotary blades sharp …
To help keep your rotary blade sharp, run the blade over aluminum foil a few times. It sharpens the blade just enough to keep going, especially if you don’t have an extra blade handy.

Keeping that board clean …
When doing a project that uses fusible bonding, iron a large piece of freezer paper (shiny side down) to the top of your ironing board, before you start, to keep it clean.

No more scooting …
Put a piece of flannel on the ironing board when pressing small pieces or anything you want to keep straight – it keeps the pieces from scooting!

Keep those tools close by …
Use a piece of heavy duthy rubber – the kind that goes under throw rugs – next to your machine. It prevents all of your little tools, scissors and pencils, etc. from rolling or vibrating away.

End Needless Poking……..
Put knitting needle point protectors on the sharp ends of your small scissors. This will protect you from getting poked each time you reach into your sewing bag and will also protect your sewing bag lining.

Keeping kid quilts new …
When making a quilt for the children in your life who like the “silky” blanket binding, first bind it normally, then put the blanket binding over the top. The blanket binding wears out long before the quilt. You can gently remove the silky binding, and your quilt is ready for its “big kid” phase.

Help prevent fraying …
Cut off the corners of fabric before washing. This helps eliminate unraveling. You can also tell which piecesd in your stash of fabric have been washing and ironed!

Keeping binding together …
When ironing continuous binding double, attach a plastic grocery bag to the ironing board and slide the bias in it as you iron, then when you get to the end, pin it to the top of the bag so it is easy to find when you start to sew it on the quilt. If you leave it in the bag, it flows out easily without tangling.

Storage for applique pieces …
I use those flat tins that contain CDs from internet providers to store my applique pieces. It seems like such a waste to throw them away, and we seem to get so many in the mail. Not only do they keep the pieces flat, it protects them nicely, and doesn’t take up too much room.

Achieve frayed edges on rag quilts without clogging washer & dryer……
Take all tools off the end of your plastic vacuum hose. Turn on vacuum and rub the hose briskly across the seams to be frayed. All those clipped fabric threads will end up in your vaccuum and not all over your house or you!

Keeping small scissors handy …
Tie a ribbon to your small sewing scissors and safety pin them to your ironing board. When you go to press quilt blocks and find threads that need cutting, you don’t have to leave your hot iron and go searching for scissors (and they are never where you left them last time!)

Losing those cut threads …
When you have to rip out a seam, use your rotary cutter to carefully cut the threads as you pull the two pieces of fabric apart. Then use an adhesive lint roller to roll up the thread snippets in one or two swipes.

Keep Scissors Sharp (And Save the Planet)…..
Don’t throw away your used but clean aluminum foil. Instead, gather up all your scissors and snip up that foil! This is a quick and fun way to sharpen your scissors, and the kids will love to help!

Use up those scraps of fabric and leftover thread on bobbins……
Keep a shoe box or plastic bin next to your cutting table. Throw in any scraps of fabrics. When between projects, sew the scraps together in random order, using up all of the odds and ends of thread left on your bobbins. You’ll be surprised at the neat “new” fabrics you can create. Use “fabric” to back small wall hangings or table runners.

To flatten seams the quick way…
Take the spring off of a wooden clothespin, leaving 2 halves. Hold the clothespin with the flat side against your index finger and use the rounded end to press open your seams. You can also decorate the clothespins and give them to quilting friends.

To get rid of pesky fabric “crumbs” from your cutting surface…
Use a “scrunchy” to wipe clean the cutting board – you can shake the “crumbs” into the trash, and you’ll be ready to go again!

Worried About Bleeding?
If you use lots of brights and don’t pre-wash, soak your finished work in 1/4 cup vinegar per gallon of water before you wash. Soaking for a couple of hours should help.

Storage problems?
Store your projects in zip-top storage bags and cut one corner off. This will let air out and help keep the bags flat. New pizza boxes are also a great way to store quilt blocks and other small projects (but make sure to mark the top of the box!)

Soap, the perfect washable marker…
Use slivers of soap for marking lines for quilting. Easy to see and sure to wash out.

Avoid bobbin balls!
To avoid those bobbin balls that form at the beginning of a seam, position the bobbin and top thread together under the fingers of your left hand. Hold lightly as you guide the fabric under the needle when starting a seam.

Got the crooked binding blues?
Here’s an easy way to get your binding on straight without using clips or pins: after sewing the first binding side down, use Steam-A-Seam strips along the other edge and press. This will temporarily position the binding so that you can sew it down without having to use clips or pins. You can re-position it if need be, and mitering the edges becomes a snap!