Kate’s Top 5 ~ Tips And Tricks

I quite enjoyed my Top 5 from a couple of weeks ago so will keep them going as long as I can think up good ones … This one was suggested by {another awesome} Kate who blogs over at talltalesfromchiconia! Head on over and check her blog out, it’s a great read!

So. My Top 5 Tips & Tricks … Where to begin? I am by no means an expert quilter but I thought since Kate suggested it, I’d share a couple of tips that have made my sewing life easier. Hope they help you too πŸ™‚

#1. LEADERS & ENDERS! If you’ve read my blog in the last few months you might recognise my absolute favourite tip!! After making a quilt I would end up with a pile of wasted thread … Now instead I have these!
Leaders n EndersI always have a bowl of scraps cut into 2.5″ squares sitting beside me and slip a pair thru at the end of each chain. It’s like you’re making a bonus quilt without any real effort πŸ˜‰ I chain stitch wherever possible. Chain stitching is putting thru multiple blocks without stopping resulting in a chain of goodies that you then press all at once too! These chains are from when I made “Kate’s Kate” :
IMG_4227 (2)I sew them into strips of 7 and then into blocks like this :
IMG_5840

#2 Measure twice, cut once. An oldie, but a goodie. Tips like these are long-lived because they are always relevant. I have lost count of the times I’ve saved myself juuust in the nick of time because I double checked before I cut. Mis cuts are the one of the easiest ways to waste fabric. And I don’t like wasting my pretties!
This tip also works when I’m playing with timber and furniture!

#3 PRESS. Press, press, press. Do not iron!
There are heaps of debates out there on whether to press to the side or press open. Personally I prefer to press to the dark side, but try both ways and go with what works for you.
My main tip here tho is PRESS – DO NOT IRON! Set your seam by pressing it, then open your seam in whichever direction you prefer and press πŸ™‚

#4 Know your feet and use the correct one for the job. This one’s pretty self explanatory. Your machine comes with a wide variety of feet. They should all be explained in your machine’s manual.
FeetI mainly use my standard foot for piecing {not a fan of my 1/4″ foot, tho some people swear by them.} My machine came with a walking foot for quilting without slips or puckers, but you can pick one up at your local quilting store if yours didn’t. A guide bar is handy if you find one that comes with that too. I also bought a FMQ or Darning foot for my machine. And those are the 3 I use mostly. Because I also sometimes stitch clothing I also use a button-hole foot, hemming foot and zipper foot. {Not a fan of zippers tho so seldom use this one heehee}
If you’re not familiar with all of your machine’s feet, go find your manual and have a read … Better yet, grab some scraps and have a play with them! πŸ™‚

#5 Look after your machine. I’m not sure if maybe I clean mine too much, but I give my bobbin case a quick dust with a soft brush every time I change the bobbin {unless I am in the middle of quilting a piece} and full clean after each project. They are also serviced yearly. Trust me, your machine will thank you!
Actually, I will add a little extra note here = Please change your needle regularly! Your machine will thank you, your fabric will thank you ❀

Bonus Tip – Give it a go! Whatever it is, most ‘mistakes’ are fixable so try it. You don’t know what you can and can’t do until you try, and I learn alot by trial and error! Your seam ripper can become your best friend and you may get frustrated, but it’s such a good way to get a feel for things! And you may surprise yourself and get it right straight up – imagine how great that will feel!

Well, I’m all worded out, so catch you next time! πŸ™‚

KATE Sig for Manic Mumdays

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One thought on “Kate’s Top 5 ~ Tips And Tricks

  1. I just love tips. So often I’ve read one and thought “why on earth couldn’t I have thought of that myself…?”. I think quilters owe it to each other to share breakthrough moments and brilliant ideas. Keep it up! And thanks for the link! The other Kate x

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