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Quilt Tips From Quilters Around The World

Fabric

When sewing at night, I often have trouble determining which is the right and back side of some fabrics, such as white on white. To make this easier I have come up with a way to mark them when I cut the pieces out. I bought some self adhesive round labels (some people call refer to them as dots) and I stick them on one right side of the fabric. At that time, I can also mark them according to the pattern piece. You can decide for yourself which works best for you. To make the dots go further, you can cut the dots in half. I always use the colored dots so that they stand out on the fabric. - Sandi in Idaho

A very inexpensive way to fussy cut a pattern piece for a quilt or purse is to make a new pattern out of wax paper. It is clear enough to be able to see through it so that you can get the exact flower, etc. that you want. When you are done you can throw it away and you are not out a lot of money. - Mari in Minnesota

After washing my fabric I use a liquid starch to press. It gives the fabric that new feeling we all like. I mix 1 part liquid starch to 3 parts water. A 32oz. Bottle (under $2.00) equals 10 aerosol cans (about $2.00 a can.) When mixed in a spray bottle there's no clogging. It doesn't flake on the fabric. And rotary cutting goes much smoother. - Anita in Missouri

I save all my scrap fabrics and cut them into small squares before putting them away. They are ready when I want to make a scrap quilt or when I want to decorate a pair of shorts or tops I'm making for grandchildren. - Debra in Kentucky

Save your smallest scraps, cut into 1" strips and make great log cabin pincushions for presents. - Lorna in Australia

I visit my favorite quilt shops about every 3 months. I go with what projects I plan to make, and make sure I buy enough fabric for each project. When the fabric for each project has been cut, I place the project with that fabric and ask for different bags for each. This helps to keep each project together, and I don't have to take the time getting fabric together at the start of each project. OH, I usually buy at least 1/2 yard extra of each fabric so I can add to my crazy quilt/scrap quilt fabric collection. - Barbara in New Jersey

For prewashing fabric and "inherited" scraps: I fill the washer with HOT water and laundry detergent, push the fabric into the water, and let it SIT for *20 minutes*, swishing it occasionally (NOT agitating). Then I drain, and rinse the same way - pushing it into the water several times, but NOT agitating. Then I spin, untangle if necessary, and toss into the dryer. If you do not agitate, you have almost no tangling or fraying. - kiskat in Texas

Save 6.5" blocks of all the clothes you make for your children. By the time they are adults, you should have enough for a memory quilt for them. - Helen in Georgia

I like to use flat sheets for my quilt backing. The tip is to find a complete set of sheets with colors suitable to the top side of your quilt. The fitted sheet can be cut to use for the quilted design side for sashes, borders, cornerstones or binding, or whatever you decide. The flat sheet for your backing and you might also purchase the matching pillowcases for the final touch. For a complete bed, just buy 2 sets of matching sheets. - Sue in Missouri

Before washing my fabric I baste the cut edges together. This keeps the fraying down in the washer and dryer. - Carla in Florida

Before washing new fabric, I put a pinking blade in my rotary cutter and pink the cut edges of the fabric. I like this better for controlling the fraying. A pinked edge is easier to spot in my stash, too. I tried using pinking shears; rotary cutting is much quicker and easier. - Bonnie in Illinois

I like the look of tea-dyed fabric but I'm not a tea drinker. I use coffee instead! The hot coffee I didn't drink in the morning can be used to dye small amounts of fabric. Or I make a pot and use that for larger yardage. - Sandy in Michigan

I take fleece and use it as the batting and backing for kids quilts. This saves time and money. This makes for a real cuddly blanket. - Connie in Washington

When pre-washing fabric, serge or zig-zag the cut ends (not the selvege edges) together. This not only stops it from fraying but also from tangling into a long rope. - Sharon in British Columbia

When I finish a quilt I cut all my remaining fabric into 1-1/2 inch strips. Then at the end of the year, I have plenty of strips to make log cabin placemats, table runners or quilts for holiday gifts. - Karen in Maryland

When pre-washing your material (especially good for reds) place a piece of muslin in the washing machine....that way you will be able to tell if the fabric is really going to run. - Mary Ellen in Wyoming

To prevent your fabric from raveling when being washed, serge or zigzag your cut ends first. - Linda in Canada

When cutting on the bias, place a strip of scotch tape on the fabric and cut down the center of the tape. Now you have a stabilizer on both pieces. Do not remove until sewn together. - Shirley in Wisconsin

Applying spray starch to fabric before cutting bias cuts, will help keep fabric from stretching and distorting. - Dee in Washington

To prevent fraying when pre-washing fabrics, I use my serger to serge both ends. No fraying. - Charlotte in South Dakota

I like to buy several yards of a single fabric. When getting ready to prewash it, I tear it in half to be sure to get one edge that is on the straight of grain. Tearing the fabric tends to reduce fraying, too. - Kay in Oklahoma

Since I shop at many different fabric stores, I don't always remember where I bought a piece of fabric at. Sometimes I want more of a particular fabric and it is time consuming to try and retrace all your fabric shopping trips. Now when I buy a piece of fabric, I use a permanent marker to write the pattern fabric name, maker, and quilt store on the white selvedge piece. This makes it easier for me to find more of the same fabric very quickly! - Glenda in California

When I finish sewing a quilt, I cut the left over fabric into the largest strips possible with 6" being the largest.  I then store the strips in a plastic container with several drawers each labeled with the size of the strip.  They are handy and already cut for scrap quilt piecing. - Susan in North Dakota

Use spray sizing instead of starch.  Sizing won't build up on your iron or cause flakes on your fabric like starch does. - Clarissa in Missouri

After washing my fabric for my stash, I take a black marking pen, and mark on the salvage edge the following information.  The date of purchase and the store it was purchased from.  That way I have a quick reference if more fabric is needed. - Sandy in Indiana

I loved the tip for marking on your material where you purchased it and when.  If you also cut little corners off each corner it will not ravel as bad when you wash it and you can tell at a glance that the material has been prewashed and is ready to go. - Virginia in Washington

Whenever I am cutting into a new piece of fabric, I cut one additional strip 2" wide. These are stored together for strip piecing and log cabin projects. - Angela in Indiana

After purchasing fabric, take a small piece of paper and record the yardage purchased, the price per yard, name of the store, the date and a description of the fabric. Now you will know when and where you got the fabric if you should need more. - Virginia in Iowa

When sewing triangles always spray starch the fabric before cutting. This will prevent stretching and will feed through the machine without falling through the needle slot in the throat plate. - Bert in Nebraska

If you have access to a photocopy machine, you have the perfect 'value' finder.  Just slip a piece, or several pieces onto the glass, close the cover, and copy.  Instant values, without the distraction of color! - Sharon in California

Never give fabric away!  I gave away all my yellows and pinks when I had two boys as I thought I would never need them, and now whatever I make needs a little bit of yellow or pink!!! - Ann in Brisbane, Australia

When prewashing your fabrics, clip a 1/4" corner off of each corner to cut down on the unraveling of the material. - June in New Jersey

Whether you prewash fabrics or not, spray with Magic Sizing and press, moving iron lengthwise of the grain, in the direction of the selvedges, only. Then cut strips or pieces for your quilting projects. You'll have more accurate cutting and piecing with this little additional preparation. - Carolyn in Texas

To help determine the value of a color (light, medium or dark) look at the fabric through a clear piece of red glass or plastic. The red neutralizes the color allowing you to see only 'black and white'. - Debra in Texas

Quilt Tip Categories:

Applique  |  Basting  |  Batting  |  Binding  |  Design  |  Fabric  |  Hand Piecing  |  Hand Quilting  |  Healthy Tips  |  Pressing  |  Machine Piecing  |  Machine Quilting  |  Marking Tips  |  Miscellaneous Tips  |  Needles  |  Organization  |  Paper-Piecing  |  Quilt Care  |  Quilt Labels  |

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