Quilts: Tips for Perfect Piecing


Picture of Jungle Buddies machine applique designs on quilt at Sew Inspired by Bonnie


Making a quilt is more than just pretty fabric and beautiful embroidery. These tips will help ensure that your piecing skills are top notch!

Many a pieced project has been ruined by the tiniest of missteps. These tips will help assure that your quilted project avoids common pitfalls.

You found the perfect quilt pattern. You choose a gorgeous fabric or two and maybe added some adorable embroidery, like Bonnie’s Jungle Buddies. You invest a lot of work and expense and want it to turn out just right.

Buy More Fabric Than You Need

Fabrics releases run on a cycle. All too often, when they are gone, they’re gone. It is advisable to buy more than what the pattern calls for. That way, you have extra in case of a mistake. This is particularly true if you are like me and tend to have long-term projects.

Wash and Press Fabrics

We’ve already discussed the pros and cons of washing fabric so that is up to you. At the very least, you should press fabric before embroidery, before cutting, and press blocks as you piece.

Pressing your fabrics before stitching and piecing will yield more professional results, especially with quilt blocks. Even the slightest fold line can cause seam alignment issues as well as wrinkles or puckering during embroidery.

I am a big fan of Best Press. It does not leave a residue, smells great, and is the best thing I have found to remove fabric fold marks. Many quilters prefer to use spray starch.

Bonnie has shown us the right way to press machine embroidery, so any embroidered blocks should also be pressed before piecing.

Keep Seam Allowances Clean

Trim away any stabilizer and batting that extend into the seam allowance to reduce bulk and allow the seam to press flat.

Measure Seams

Perfect quarter-inch seams are a must with piecing. Practice on scrap fabric to test the allowance. Check to see if your machine came with a quarter-inch foot. You can also use tape on top of your sewing machine stitching plate to help guide the fabric and keep a consistent seam.

Create a Test Block

Machine embroiderers have a habit of creating test stitchouts. It is always a good idea to create a test block when piecing as well. That way you can measure and be sure that your block finishes to the proper size.

What tips do you have for piecing blocks?

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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