I’m making some great progress on the wedding quilt blocks. I started by cutting all of the fabric into 2.5″ strips (which are approximately 40″ long). 2.5″ strips are one of my favorite things to work with since they give you so many possibilities of what you can do. In most (all?) cases, I make strip sets where I sew a certain number of strips together a specific way and then subcut for my pattern. Today, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks for sewing accurate strip sets.
For the wedding quilt, I ended up with 20 inner-beige and 40 outer-color strips. The way that I’m making the block is to sew the strips together and then subcut to get the actual 6.5″ blocks. This is a faster and more accurate way to build the blocks than to cut all of the pieces at 2.5″ x 6.5″ and then sew them together.
When you’re sewing fabric, because of how it feeds into the machine, the top piece gets stretched and pushed back just a little while the bottom is pulled through just a little so things don’t exactly line up the way you had originally had them. This can actually be handy if you have two pieces where one is slightly longer than the other – put the shorter one on top. If they’re more than slightly off, then you may want to recut (do as I say, not as I do…). For my Bernina, I have a walking foot which is great to avoid the stretching problem for sewing on binding but I don’t like using it for piecing. I exclusively use my #37 1/4″ foot for all of my sewing, which is a foot that is 1/4″ wide from the center to the outer edge. Since the goal is to sew a 1/4″ seam, then you try to have the fabric lining up with the edge of the foot and you should get a 1/4″ seam.
For strips or any time I’m not sewing over pins, I use my Bernina #57 foot. It’s a 1/4″ foot with a guide to block the fabric when it hits the 1/4″ mark. This makes it so easy to sew long strips since you don’t have to pay quite as much attention to ensure that your seam is 1/4″.
Another trick is to sew the strips from opposite sides. If you’re sewing always from the right, then what ends up happening is you get a bit of stretched out fabric when you get to the left times however many seams you’re doing. So, rather, alternate the direction that you’re sewing from. This mitigates the stretch so it doesn’t all end up on one side.
Feel free to share any of your tips and tricks in the comment section!