Tips and Tricks

User Suggested Tips and Suggestions

I have been quilting, learning and teaching since the late 1970's. Over the years, I have received many tips and tricks to make our quilting life easier. Everything from Applique to regular piecing. If YOU have a suggestion or addition, just let me know!

Here we go:

    • Pin appliqué elements to the background fabric from the back instead of the front. The thread will be less likely to catch on the pins as you do your hand stitching!

    • To test to be sure your marking pencil is removable, mark on the selvage of the fabric before you pre-wash. If the mark is gone after washing, you know the pencil is safe to use on that fabric.

    • For smooth, finished edges on a quilt label, pin the label right sides together with a piece of muslin or lightweight interfacing. Machine stitch around the label. Cut a slit in the center of the lining, turn the label right sides out through the opening and press. Hand stitch the prepared label to the quilt.

    • Use a refrigerator magnet to pick up and hold the blade from your rotary cutter when you change blades.

    • To make tracing a pattern from a book easier, use a warm, dry iron to lightly press a piece of freezer paper directly onto the page. The paper won't shift or slide, and you can see clearly. The freezer paper will peel right off without leaving any residue. 
      (Note: OLDER freezer paper has a 'wax' finish and works much better than the newer freezer papers)

    • Before you pre-wash fabric, snip the selvage corners off. The snips help reduce raveling and remind you later that the fabric has been pre-washed and is ready to use. 

    • Each person's saliva has an enzyme that neutralizes proteins in her/his own blood. Wet a Q-tip with saliva and rub it on the spot to make it disappear.

    • Wine stains - use Hydrogen Peroxide. Works wonders.

    • To stabilize fabric to make writing on it easier, place strips of masking tape on the wrong side of the fabric just under the area where you will write. OR - use strips of freezer paper

    • Store fabric pieces in special zip-top plastic vegetable storage bags. The bags store flatter because they have small perforations that allow contents to "breathe" and expel trapped air.

    • Place an old pillowcase over your ironing board to protect the cover when using fusible webbing.

    • Cut Templar heat resistant plastic to the actual size of the template and fabric piece, then press seam allowances around the edges of the Templar before sewing. This gives me a more accurate idea about how to place each piece since the seam allowances are already turned under.

    • To keep track of and avoid duplicating your quilting books, record the title and authors in a small address book. Tuck the book into your purse for a handy reference when shopping.
      (2022 Update- keep a 'Notepad' app on your phone to keep track of books!)

    • An over-the-door Christmas wreath holder makes a great hook for storing various sizes of quilting hoops.

    • After using a seam ripper to break every third or fourth thread, apply a strip of tape to the loose threads. Run your finger or thumb over the tape as if finger pressing. Pull the tape up. All the thread ends are pulled up with the tape.

    • When hand-piecing, I keep several needles threaded with a neutral shade of thread - it saves time!

    • Have funky odors from your fabrics? Whether from storage, sweat or whatever, launder with a bit of vinegar in the laundry.

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