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Tips & Tricks


 Tips & Tricks
You can use your cell phone camera for many things when sewing & quilting.
  • take pictures of the fabric you buy or considering, also take a picture of the information tag on the end of the bolt - this way you can
    • save it on your computer and view the fabrics together in black and white to see if you have a good mix of lights-mediums-darks
    • find it again or look for more if you need to
  • take pictures of the way you have your blocks arranged
    • look at the color photo to see how your quilt looks overall and shrink it as if your looking at it from a distance
    • again look at it in black & white to see how the color values are arranged
    • also, that way when you go to sew them together you don't have to worry about keeping them in order, especially if you have to put it up for awhile.
Appliqué - You can use parchment paper as an appliqué pressing sheet when layering appliqué pieces with fusible web. The fusible doesn't permanently stick to the parchment paper so you can press and lift off the appliqué pieces. You can purchase parchment paper at the grocery store and it isn't expensive!
Batting & Backing - these need to be at least 6 in larger than your quilt top, 3 in all the way around, to allow for shrinkage (taking up) during quilting and allowance for squaring up the whole quilt prior to binding.
Binding - once you've got it all together the last step is to add the binding.  Here's a few methods
Bleeding - Stop Fabric Bleeding  Worried about fabric bleeding? Here's a tip from AQS staffer and author, Bonnie Browning.  "Get some Synthrapol to put in your washing machine. It is what dyers use to remove excess dye from their fabric. I use it whenever I buy clothing that is red or some other dark color. I would take your quilt to a commercial laundry and use an extra large washer. The Synthrapol will suspend any excess dye in the water. I always throw in a couple of DyeCatchers to help catch that color, too."  
Borders - from Quilting Paradise Newsletter "Do you know how to avoid rippling borders? After careful piecing your quilts you want to take as much care in cutting borders. There are some basic rules to accurate cutting of different types of border treatments."  
Crayon Coloring - if you love(d) coloring with crayons here's a perfect thing for you.  You basically color your picture on the cloth, then iron off the wax, leaving the color behind, the more "layers" the more color that is transfered.  Multiple colors can be used to obtain the perfect shading.  You must launder the fabric before you color it.
Crayon Staining- Crayons are used to stain the fabric of a quilted wallhanging, accented with strips of fabric, free-motion embroidery and applique. has step by step instructions for this wall hanging.
Free Motion Quilting - is more than just a way to hold the pieces of your quilt together. Stitching lines, swirls, and motifs onto your quilt can add dimension, depth, meaning, and interest. For more info check out Quilting Arts
Hanging your quilt - once you've put all that work into it you may want to hang it, quilt shows and challenges/contests require them.
  • sleeve - the way to hang a wall hanging or any larger quilt from
  • fast finish triangles - a great way to hang a small quilt. Here is a great tutorial from
Inspiration Notebook - Fill a notebook with magazine clippings, color palettes, sketches, and other items to keep inspiration at your fingertips. A purse-size notebook is ideal for when you get those creative sparks while out and about
Minky - Luxurious and silky soft, Minky fabric resembles real mink in touch. It has a soft short pile that is as soft as cashmere. Here is a lesson from
Missing Fabric - have you run short of fabric and can't find any more locally or online?  Try posting a picture on an online forum or at, be sure to include any info you can, such as manufactuer, collection, pattern and color(s).  If that fails try scaning and printing out on a printer ready fabric.
Paper Piecing - is another way to piece fabric together, following a pattern on paper allows for sharp points such as those on a compass.  Here is a lesson from Texas Quiltery
Pressing - There is a difference between pressing & ironing, see how it can affect your work.  Here is an explanation from Texas Quiltery 
Printing on to fabric - there are so many options these days here are some
Quilting - from Generations Quilt Patterns
Squaring Up - your quilt blocks need to be square to fit together correctly, this page at Quilt University walks you through the process
Setting on Point - this is when the quilt blocks are set to look like diamonds, with the tricky part being figuring out the half triangles around the edges.  A simple explination can be found here.
Sewing Strips/Bands - many quilts use Jelly Rolls (1 1/2in) or Honey Buns(2 1/2in) strips.  Here is a tip on how to keep them straight from  Penny Halgren at also has tips on how to sew those small scraps together to create "new" fabric.  Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville is the Queen of using String Piecing to create great blocks. She recommends using paper as a foundation, follow along her tutorial and find out how to make great scrappy blocks.
Techniques & Terminology - this is a great quick reference guide from Amy Butler Design.  
Tying - A finishing technique used as an alternative to machine or hand quilting.  Embroidery floss or pearl cotton is normally used, but thin ribbon & yarn can also be used.  The knots can be on the front or back, some add a bead or button, but if for a child this may pose a choking hazard.
Working with Laminate Fabric - A classic that is making a comeback. It’s great for a variety of projects from bags, tablecloths and picnic blankets to raincoats and umbrellas.  Because of the laminate coating it can be challenging to work with.  Amy Butler Designs has tip sheet
Yo-Yo's - these are usually circular embelishments made of fabric scraps. The Quilter magazine has a good explanation of making them
Subpages (2): AccuQuilt Sewing Tips