From Judy in Beamsville, Ontario
I found a bag of little scraps is just too messy. So after collecting the
small pieces from a quilt, I put them into a small zippered freezer bag and label on the front what quilt they are from. It saves a lot of sorting.
From Myrtle in Long Beach, California
I have a good tip for applique, always use the color thread that matches the applique piece not the background color. Also when using the needle turn method of stitching eliminate pins use a small dab of stik glue in the center of flower or applique piece. Works for me.
From Mary in Boulter, Ontario
Before rolling or turning a quilt to quilt the next area, I use a lint
roller to remove any bits of thread and dust. It is especially good if you have a cat as cat hair flies around and lands on the quilt.
From Margaret in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
When you have used only part of a pack of battting, measure the remaining piece, mark the measurements on the outside of the bag
and when you need a small piece, you have only to check the outside of the bags to see if you have one large enough.
From Kay in Lansing, Michigan
When washing large pieces of fabric (backing) fold the fabric into 4ths or 3rds and baste along the right and left edges and down the middle.
This makes it much easier to "untangle" after washing and drying. It also helps to reduce wrinkling.
From Connie in Lexington, Michigan
I finally figured out that if I pay attention to the grain line during any pressing stage of my quilt projects, everything comes out square.
Just remember to press with the straight grain of the fabric (the selvage edge runs on the straight grain). Cross grain and bias both
stretch, the straight grain won't.
From Susan in Winnipeg, Manitoba
If you have trouble threading the eye of the needle, try turning the needle
and thread through the other side of the eye. One side of the eye is always
bigger than the other.
From Bonnie in Bryce Canyon, Utah
There is a nice, but costly, tilted table top available for our sewing machines. This clear acrylic item tilts your machine so that it is easier for
you to see what you are stitching... thus causing less eye strain and shoulder/back/arm strain. Somewhere I read that you could do the same
thing another way. I went to the closest hardware (or K-Mart, etc.) and purchased a set of rubber door stoppers. (You know the kind - about 4"
long and ranging from 1/2" to 2" high - end to end.) I brought them home, and inserted them under the back of my machine, and
VIOLA! My machine was tilted just right - and besides that, the rubber stoppers help keep the machine from moving around on the table.
Works for me !
From Barb in New York
When I have little peices of fabric on my work table or cutting board, I use a piece of needle punch or any batting, to remove the pieces. It works
great. Just swipe it over the surface and the batting picks it up.
From Eleanor in Stirling, Ontario
I have what you could call "mature" eyes. When I quilt on my lap or do
hand applique I first put a cushion or pillow on my lap and it raises it up
far enough for me to see more clearly.
From Barbara in Manhattan, Kansas
I believe I have a tip that might be useful to quilters. When machine quilting, wear rubber finger tips (the kind you buy at the office supply
store) on your thumb and first two fingers on both hands. It gives you complete control of your work and freedom of movement when using
free-motion quilting. I don't machine quilt any other way. It's great. You don't have to hassle wearing gloves or moving a hoop.
From Shirley in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
For those who use Silk Thread when they do applique but get frustrated because the thread keeps slipping out of the needle, try this.
After you thread the needle, pull the thread through so one end is only about 4" from the eye of the needle and tie a double knot immediately
behind the eye of the needle. (I use the old boy scout reef knot as it doesnt slip). You will find that it will not hinder your appliquing as the
knot is still smaller than the end of the needle.
From Betty in Colorado
When you open a bag of batting and do not use all of it, turn the plastic bag it came in inside out before returning it to the bag.
This way you can tell at a glance which bags are full and which are not.
From Elaine Theriault
Sliding Templates: I found that a piece of scotch tape made into a circle with the sticky side
out was perfect to put on the back of a template to avoid it sliding on the fabric when cutting out.
How to avoid fabric from moving when marking squares on the diagonal: Use an emery board as your straight edge and a VERY sharp pencil.
From Kay in Stevensville, MD
Over the years I have made several "Block of the Month" quilts. I decided to keep all the blocks safe in
a new/unused pizza box. This way I didn't have to go looking for all the blocks at the end of the year when
it was time to put them all together. Your local pizza place will usually give you a box for little or no cost.
Also, you can get a medium or large depending on what size your blocks are.
From Kathy in West Chaster, PA
I make my double fold bias binding at the time I finsh sewing the quilt top
together while I still have my sewing machine and fabric out. I wrap the
binding around an empty toilet paper tube (so it doesn't crease), This
insures that I don't accidentally use my binding fabric for something else.
From Paula in Cape Porpoise, Maine
When using plastic coated freezer paper for applique, change to an
unpadded ironing surface for better adhesion of the freezer paper to the
fabric. I like to use a pine board scrap or scrap of 1/4" thick plywood
covered by a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil and a piece of muslin.
These are simply taped over to the back side of the board. The foil
radiates the iron's heat back up and the muslin and foil both keep
resins and wood preservatives from coming back up through the wood to
your fabric and iron. Remember to make the size of your board a
convenient size to slip into your sewing bag!
From Ardell in Billings, Montana
To make an inexpensive light table, use an old flat picture frame with the glass taped into the corners and
along the sides. Hot glue wide wooden dowels (4 -6" depending on height of light) to the corners of the
picture frame. Place rubber stoppers on dowels to keep from slipping. Purchase an under the counter
kitchen light, slide under the picture frame, and viola, you have a light table.
From Allison in Calgary, Alberta
I use non-fusible light weight interfacing as the foundation for paper piecing. I do a lot of clothing and
the interfacing washes nicely. Very light, no bulk and I don't have to tear away the paper....more time for
From Kathy in Bay City, Texas
Sew your binding on before you trim your edges. Then trim your edges with the binding attached. I have
trimmed, then sewn and missed the backing sometimes. This assures you will not miss the backing since it
is larger than the quilt top.
From Cindy in New Brunswick
I recommend "newsprint" for paper piecing. It is softer then say tracing paper, you can run it through the printer, light enough in color to trace
pattern through ,and tears away readily from seams. Hint when using do not race your machine. Easily obtained at business depot, art supply
stores. Another great thing is it is a recycled project.
From Doris in Australia
If you've been eating at your sewing machine and you've got a spot of grease on your material, don't panic. Use a piece of chalk
to get rid of the stain. Just rub it over the area, leave for a few minutes, then brush off. The spot will disappear like magic.
From Jenny in the Philippines
When hand-quilting, I often find it hard to pull the needle through; to eliminate this difficulty, I pull on my forefinger a bit cut off from the
pinky finger of an old rubber glove (the kind used for household chores). This is more comfortable than using "rubber fingers" like those
used in offices, as they are sometimes too tight.
Are you having trouble threading your needle? Don't lick the thread..instead lick the eye of the needle!
From Emma in Lethbridge, Alberta
After sewing for few hours, and if you need to rush to do some errands,
most likely you have threads and bits all over you. I use the hair dryer
and blow all over me, to get rid of any unwanted "signs" of sewing, you
can use the cold or warm setting. It works so fast.
From Theresa and Moira from Down Under (that's Australia!)
To view a quilt pattern from a distance before sewing, place pieces on a flannel backed table cloth, no pins required, and hang it up
somewhere. Gives you an idea what the quilt will look like finished.
From Jackie in Portland, Connecticut
I have found that I cannot wear a thimble but what works very well for me is to cut a finger off a pair of heavy-duty men's work gloves - the
pinky if the other fingers are too big.
From Rodney Ann in Minster, Ohio
I took an empty plastic container from the specialty coffees or flavored coffee creamers and washed it out thoroughly. Then peeled off
the label. It is now clear. Then taking a sharp knife poked a hole in the center of th elid and pushed my pointed scissors to cut a small circle
the size of a quarter in the lid. This makes just the right size hole to push in small scraps of fabric or pieces of thread, bent pins or broken
needles. The hole is small enough that it doesn't spill easily and the container is small enough to take with you in your quilting bag. I had scraps
and thread all over my couch and end table before I made these!
From Cathy in Killbuck Twp, Ohio
Discarded x-rays from your local Doctor's office/Clinic or Dentist make terrific templates. Best of all, you can usually get the discards for free.
Very economical and the x-ray film is usually sturdy enough to re-use time & again.
From Linda in Vicksburg, MS
The best thing I've found to keep my quilting thread from tangling and knotting while I quilt is: Take a new fabric softener sheet (made to be
used in clothes dryers), sandwich the thread between the sheet and between your thumb and forefinger, then pull the thread between your fingers.
This is kind of hard to describe but it really works! I do it to each piece of my applique thread also when I'm appliqueing. The thread glides
through the fabric and doesn't tangle or knot.
From Brenda in Charleston, WV
When cutting fabric into quilt pieces, spray starch it and iron it first. Then it holds its shape better and
there is less distortion when sewing--especially if it is a soft fabric.
Quiltak Basting Gun
Here is a tip to help end the frustration of breaking tacks. The night before you plan on
using the gun, take as many tacks as you feel you will need to baste the
quilt (make sure you have enough), place them in a dish of hot tap water
over night. When ready to start basting add fresh warm water, drying off
strips before placing in gun. This replaces the moisture in the plastic
and prevents breakage by almost 100%.
For the sturdiest binding for any quilt:
Measure the perimeter of the quilt and add 10 inches for mitering corners.
Divide this number by 40 inches. This will be the number of 3 inch wide
strips you need to cut on the crosswise grain of 100% cotton fabric. Sew
these strips together to create one long strip. Press in half, lengthwise,
wrong sides together. Stitch to the outer edge of the quilt which has been
trimmed and the edges zig-zagged, being sure to miter the corners for a
sharp look. Use a 3/8ths inch seam allowance. Finally, wrap the binding
to the back of the quilt and hand sew the binding to the back of the quilt.
E.g.: Perimeter of quilt: 120" + 10 " divided by 40 + 3 strips plus 10 inches or
4 full strips cut on the crosswise.
When doing foundation piecing,the paper used to cover the examining table
in your doctor's office,is wonderful for tracing patterns.It also works
well as a stablizer when embroidering with your sewing machine.I use both
these techniques often.
From Sharon in Eugene, OR
This is a hint for doing appliques. Cut your shapes to be appliqued
and also cut the same shape out of a light weight fusible interfacing.
Stitch completely around your shape with the bumpy side of the
interfacing to the right side of the fabric piece. Cut a small slit in
the back of the interfacing and turn; using a fingernail or rounded
piece of plastic to push out the seam allowance. This gives you
applique an appearance of life. You can then place the pieces in the
"just right" portions of the background piece. The fusible interfacing
can then be "tacked" in place with a hot iron. To finish applique by
hand or machine.
From Teressia in Blairsville, GA
When making repeat cuts of same size place 4 post-it pages on width line of the ruler. This
enables you to slide the ruler up to cut without having to search for the line. (I've always done
this, especially for those hard to find 3/8", 5/8" and 7/8" marks! - Daphne)
Hand Quilting Hint
If you should prick yourself with a needle or pin and get blood on your fabric, use your own saliva to
remove the blood. Your saliva will remove only your blood.
From Nikki in Orland, FL
There is a "nap-line" grain to thread. Always thread the thread onto the needle before you cut your thread. This will keep it
from knotting as you are sewing. This works whether you are sewing on a button, mending a seam, doing
hand-piecing or hand quilting.