Thursday, July 21, 2016

Piecing Cheats

Everybody has their strengths, and I discovered fairly early on that my piecing skills are pretty much going to lag behind my quilting skills. Piecing is supposed to be fun, but it's not very fun when I'm about to throw my machine with frustration over sewing a curved seam. (Yep, that almost happened.) It's not very fun when I'm about to cry because after hours and hours of work, the seams STILL don't match and it looks horrible. I want to keep it fun, but I also want to do some of the really beautiful stuff I see out there, and I do care about quality. So here's what I do to simplify.

When I see a piece of work or pattern that is above my level of ability piecing-wise, I always look for ways for me to achieve a similar look but doing it in an easier way. Here are some of the potential ways to make it simpler to do:

Can I applique it?

I hate piecing curved seams. I really, really hate them. When I first tried to do them on a Drunkard's Path block, I nearly broke down in frustration. I had bought a Curved Master presser foot, but it was completely useless to me, even when I manage to sew a curve ... it does not flatten into a square. However, a similar look can be achieved by appliqueing the curved piece, using either raw-edge or turned edge.

Can I use English paper piecing?

I like tumbling blocks a lot, I find the 3-d effect mesmerizing. I also like stars made up of diamonds. However, I find that level of precision piecing to be above my ability, so instead I make it with English Paper Piecing, which allows really really precise looking seams, and I applique it onto the background fabric. It looks just as good, if only a little thicker. (Think of that as extra insulation)

Can I make the piece oversized and square it up?

If I made half-square triangles using exactly what the specification was, by the time I try to square it up, it will probably resemble a diamond. Maybe it's my piecing of bias seams, maybe it's my pressing, but I cannot seem to get it right. But if I make it just a little bit bigger, I have plenty of room to square it up and it will look perfect.

Can I break down the block into easier components?

The LeMoyne star is made up of diamonds and Y-seams. Blech. Instead, I can achieve a very similar look by converting the entire thing into half-square triangles, which are much easier to work with. I do have more seams in this case, but it's better than not making it, or making it really badly.

Can I swap out that block for something else?

Sometimes, I just have to call it quits on a block. It's just not working. That's when I look for a block in that size and swap it out. Not only do I have something more "unique", but I don't have to force myself to do something I hate. After all, only I should dictate what I want to have on my quilt, and so what if it doesn't look exactly like the pattern picture?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting and for your comments! I try to reply to comments, so if you don't hear from me, check if you're a no-reply blogger. Have a nice day!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...