Today I’m going to share a few hints for those of you who were interested in sewing along with me to make the pattern Woven Squares.
Tip #1 – Fabric Selection
The easiest thing you can do when it comes to picking our fabric, is to start with a Moda Mini Charm Pack like this:
A Mini Charm Pack contains 42 – 2 1/2″ squares. You don’t have to spend an hour taking 40 different fabrics from your stash, cutting off one square, then folding them all up and putting them all away again. You are ready to start sewing right away!
Secondly, take some of those squares and audition them on the background fabric to make sure all of the prints set off. I even cut a skinny strip of white to make sure everything was looking good before I cut out the rest of the strips.
#2 – Accuracy.
Accuracy is very important when it comes to working with small pieces. I talked about this in my last sew along, so click here to review some of those tips.
One additional tip on accuracy – This particular design has blocks that have several seam allowances going one direction only. That means that if your seam allowance is off, your block will not be square. For example, if you are making a 9-patch block and your seam allowance is off, the block will still be square (though it may not be the size it is supposed to be). If your blocks only have seams going one direction, your block may turn out a bit rectangular and when you sew them all together they may not fit together quite as well as they should. In the photo below, my seam allowance was a little small, therefore the block turned out a little bit wider than the block next to it. That means you have to trim a bit, or fudge. It’s much easier to start out with the right size and avoid that problem!
Pressing is also very important for accuracy. Make sure that there isn’t extra fabric hiding in the fold next to your seam like this:
There is probably 3-4 threads hiding in there – per side of the seam allowance. That could add up to 1/8″ on this seam alone, not to mention all the other seams in the quilt.
Notice how I am just using the edge of the iron (see photo below) to press the seam toward the cream? I am not taking the entire iron and resting it on top of my seam allowances, but I am using the edge of the iron to gently push the seam to the side and make sure there is no extra fabric hiding there.
You may also choose to press this seam open. If you are going to iron the seams open, I suggest using a smaller stitch length and matching color thread. The stitches are more exposed when you iron the seams open and this will help with strength and durability.
When I press my seams open, I start from the back side like this –
After the seam is pressed, I flip it over and go over it quickly with the iron again to make sure that the seam is laying flat.
#4 – Save Some Time when cutting up the strip units.
If you have this Shape Cut ruler or Gudrun’s Stripology ruler. The ruler has slits that you stick the rotary blade through and it allows you to make 4 cuts without having to move your ruler (on this particular pattern).
When doing the strip units, watch out for what is called “The Rainbow Effect”. Notice how my strip set curves up and to the right? Every 4-5 cuts I square up the left side of the strip unit to make sure that I am staying square.
In the photo below, you can see where I had to trim up a little bit to stay square. Anytime you are doing strip units, it is a great habit to get into and will help improve your accuracy. (This is also a good habit if you are doing angles – such as diamonds, because when the angle gets off, it multiplies in a hurry!)
Lastly, follow the pressing arrows in the pattern, that way the intersection in the blocks in Step 3 will “nest”. If you don’t know how to nest, click here and scroll down to Step 5.
That’s all for today. Feel free to share your fabric selection or progress at #ankastreasures on Instagram.