Quilting Best Practices Lead to Success

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If you have been quilting for a while, there’s a good chance that you’ve picked up one or two habits along the way that you should try to avoid.  Some of these habits appear fairly harmless like sticking a pin in your mouth. It’s no big deal, right? Everybody does it and your mom and grandma probably did it as well. However, this is dangerous and should never be done 

This article is meant to help you achieve the best results possible for your projects with some best practices that can improve your results while helping you enjoy the process.

Keep pins out of your mouth

It can be tempting or convenient to hold pins in your mouth as you piece, but it is really something you should avoid. It is easy to accidentally inhale the pin which can cause life-threatening repercussions. It is simply a convenience not worth the risk! Instead, keep your favorite pin cushion nearby at all times and get in the practice of using it at all times!

Mind your posture

Good posture is paramount to a positive quilting experience. If you find yourself with an aching waist or arms after some time at your machine, your posture is probably to blame! When you are bent over the machine as you quilt, it is important to ensure that you maintain the right posture. A bad posture could be because of the size of your workstation, the way the machine is placed, or even the chair you’re using. A bad posture while quilting could have long term effects on your health such as a serious back, wrist or neck pain.

TipThis article from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides many helpful tips on how to improve your posture while sewing.

Remove your pins as you sew

Although it is tempting to sew over pins as you piece, it is a certainly a negative habit to develop. Your risk breaking a needle at best and serious damage to your machine at worst. If you find it difficult to remove the pins as you sew, you you can try spray adhesive or clips to hold your fabrics together instead of pins. of pins.

Change your needle or rotary blade often

Did you know that one of the first suggestions to sewing challenges is to change the needle? A fresh, sharp needle will pierce through fabric with ease and won’t pucker it or skip stitches. Change your needle after every 8-10 hours of quilting. If you use a rotary cutter to cut your fabrics, it is advisable to change it before you begin each new large project. When you’re using heavier fabrics, you might need to change it more often. A dull blade can make your work slower and more frustrating. So, once your blade starts becoming dull, you know it’s time for a replacement.

Avoid cutting in the same area of your mat each time

Many quilters find themselves using the same area of their cutting mat ech time they start a project. Unfortunately, this causes unnecessary wear on your mat. Rotating the spots where you cut gives your mat time to heal, which increases the lifespan of your mat.

Tip: If you’re using a self-healing cutting mat, don’t hesitate to soak regularly it in water-vinegar solution. Doing this regularly will help extend the mat’s useful life.

Make sure to press your seams

Pressing as you piece can be time consuming but when seams are pressed properly throughout your project, your seams will end up fitting perfectly with each other, resulting in a fabulous finished product!

Be a smart shopper

It is hard to resist buying beautiful prints. A yard here, a fat quarter there. It adds up quickly. To keep your fabric stash getting out of hand, consider shopping with a list and be sure to check your fabric collection before you shop. You’ve probably accumulated quite a large stash of scraps, leftovers, and beautiful fabrics waiting for the perfect quilt project. Organize your stash, so that you’ll be able to quickly find what you need, and you’ll spend less. However, it is always enjoyable to find that beautiful bundle of fabric just waiting to be made into your next project! 

By following some of these best practices, you’ll be sure to enjoy the sewing journey as you create beautiful quilts!

All photos by Dimi Atanasova

Dimi is a lifelong crafter/DIYer and blogger at HelloSewing, a website that that provides sewing tips and guides — to people looking to take up sewing. As a girl, she spent many summers with her grandmother knitting gloves and scarves, hand quilting duvets, and canning strawberry jam. She spends a lot of time dreaming up and working on various projects for her family’s home. She loves all things DIY- crafts, drawing, decorating, and above all – simply loves sewing!