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    Help, please!

    I had an extra block left over from my Blue and Gray quilt, and I decided to put it under the microscope, so to speak, to see how it turned out. Obviously, it wasn't any where near what it should have been. It isn't 12 1/2 inches, it isn't square. Pretty much it's a crappy block (ignore the light bar on the left side). So what did I do wrong? Do I need to measure each of the 4 1/2 inch squares after cutting them (I didn't, since the Accuquilt is supposed to be accurate). I've measured my seam allowance until I'm blue in the face, and it comes out always at 1/4 inch. I try to press to the dark side and make sure I press so I can nest the seams, yet this is how most of my blocks end up. So again, I'll ask.

    What am I doing wrong?

    Rob
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    There's nothing more directly linked to who we are than the fabric that we make.
    --Ken Burns

    #2
    I've not read fun things about Accuquilt lately. not being accurate mainly being in the seam allowances. mostly skinny 1/4 inch seams. cut and measure, before sewing. then measure after sewing. you will quickly find out where the problem or problems are.

    Comment


    • Rob the HOAQ
      Rob the HOAQ commented
      Editing a comment
      I have to say that the only problem here is that Cheryl uses it as well, and her blocks are OK. So it seems to me it's obviously user error of some sort.

    • Hillbillyhike
      Hillbillyhike commented
      Editing a comment
      Have you watched her do it, since hers are ok? Possibly your technique.

    • Rob the HOAQ
      Rob the HOAQ commented
      Editing a comment
      Several times. Not really sure what she does that I don't do (other than get it right).

      Rob

    #3
    Are you sure your using the right die? I'm looking and each square is not correct. So top left right now should measure 4 and quarter. Top middle should measure 4". And so on..I would start there look at each block, measure it like it is now to see where the mistake is. Sometimes it's in the pressing to, are you setting the seams? Are you pressing or ironing them open. Fabric can easily get distorted..ask me how I know first hand of all of the above issues. Been there!! Hang in there. Look at each block alone and you might find a consistant little error.

    Comment


    • Rob the HOAQ
      Rob the HOAQ commented
      Editing a comment
      I used the 4 1/2 inch strip cutter and then subcut the strips into 4 1/2 inch squares. On some I also used the value die's square. I measured the first few and they came out just fine, so I didn't bother with the rest. I am setting the seams and I'm pressing to the dark side. I'm not pressing the seams open.

      I guess I'm going to have to start measuring each block before sewing and after like nativetexan suggested.

    • Momofmonsters5
      Momofmonsters5 commented
      Editing a comment
      I hope you figure it out!! It is frustrating. You learn over time.

    #4
    Are you starching your fabrics well before cutting with the Accuquilt? Are you trying to cut more than 4 layers at a time? Are you cleaning extra threads from around the dies each time before you make cuts? There is a reason for using the "scant 1/4" when quilting. Pressing the seams over take up a tiny amount of space since you are folding over the thread that was ewn. All those tiny amounts add up over time and take away more and more from your block size depending on how any pieces in the block.

    If you are pressing your seams with steam, and haven't steam pressed your fabrics beforehand, then your fabric may be shrinking on you as well. There are all kinds of issues in quilting, not just a 1/4" seam, and they all need to be taken into account.
    K is for Karen 😊​..................
    Cremation - My last hope for a smokin' hot body.


    Before you speak,
    T - is it TRUE?
    H - is it HELPFUL?
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    N - is it NECESSARY?
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    Comment


    • Rob the HOAQ
      Rob the HOAQ commented
      Editing a comment
      No starch (guess I'm going to have to start doing that) and, generally speaking, no to cutting more than four layers. I say that because on some I have cut six layers. Also, no to cleaning the die before making the cut. However, we do clean the dies after each project. I have used steam occasionally, but most of the time I try to press with a dry iron.

      Thanks for your help.

      Rob

    • K. McEuen
      K. McEuen commented
      Editing a comment
      Starching before cutting with the dies gives the fabric more body and you get a much cleaner cut

    #5
    According to several instructors I have had you need to measure the piece after it is sewn, not the seam allowance. Pressing, the "turn of the cloth" ,and shrinkage can all cause your perfect 5" square to not be the correct size.

    Comment


      #6
      Totally feel your pain. I've spent the last 60 days working on my scant 1/4, my pressing, consistency on when/if I'm starching or steaming. Most of my issue is getting a good press. Used up almost all my ugly stash.


      Comment


        #7
        I've never used an Accuquilt. I cut my own fabric with the rotary cutter. I've learned that it usually takes a scant 1/4" seam to get any block to come out at the desired measurement. Also good pressing is important. Karen Brown has a good video on pressing. I don't starch fabrics ahead of time. I use Best Press to iron out folds & heavy wrinkles prior to cutting. I use spray starch on the finished top & backing prior to sandwiching. Hope you get it figured out. Good luck.

        Comment


          #8
          Perhaps:
          to much pressure on the pressure foot may distort / push fabrics about,
          the sewing machine may just need the underside cleaning fluff under the feed dogs
          the needle is not fully home, needle may be not straight and true, or just needs changing due to doing 8 hours
          is the path of the thread smooth. it may be moving needle slightly if tugging.
          lastly check for wear at needle bar.
          then again how do you iron your seams
          perhaps trialing finger press or small wall paper roller and sew see what happens
          try not ironing, yikes did I really say that! well if all fabrics are ironed before going on die, they are ironed pieces
          Accuquilt only allow 6 fabric layers through at one time on the die.

          the best way to check seams is 3 same size rectangles, 2 sewn up long edge one over top all should match if do not then unpick move guide or needle to make match.

          good luck getting your perfect unit sized seam

          edit just to say:
          with the sizzix dies I use a wall pasting / painting brush around 3 inches to brush fluff after each pass, it saves a lot of unpicking the die after project.
          Last edited by 201 Treadler; September 14, 2020, 05:34 PM.

          Comment


            #9
            You may want to watch how you are ironing. Gently press along seam with edge of the iron. Press (up and down) rather than iron (back and forth). Ironing is stretching the block out of shape. Now that you have done one, try to moisten lightly and block back into shape

            Comment


              #10
              I have nothing to add to everything above. Just want to encourage you not to give up. Hang in there, Rob.
              sigpicwww.whisperofrose.blogspot.com


              Scottie Mom Barb

              Comment


                #11
                I haven't read all the replies and apologize if this is a repeat.

                You are close, so very close. Look at the center red square, right hand at the bottom. The seam is curving off the line. It also happened at the bottom of the red block. Is this the seam? or is this from ironing issues?

                The center red block should equal 4 inches all the way around. The outside squares should measure 4 1/4 inches. When you square-up, you are squaring from the center point out. Don't just cut the excess from one side. The 45 degree line is going to go through the center square at top (right) and the center square at bottom (left). You want the 4 1/4 line on the seam line (left side of block) and the 8 1/4 line on the other (right) side of the center square. You trim the right side and top.

                Then turn the block. A rotating mat helps. Place the ruler again from center point out. Trim the other two sides.

                When you press to set seams:

                First, lay the iron onto the seam and hold. This sets the seam. Then open and gently smooth the fabric to the side you want. Don't push or pull. It will distort the fabric. Then press against the seam. Don't use the pointed tip of the iron. It can distort the seam also. Notice the word "press". It is not the back and forth motion of ironing like a shirt. It is "press".

                Are you using steam? That can distort the fabric/seam.

                For practice: Take the block and draw the 1/4 inch (not scant) line down the fabric. Place next fabric together. Then stitch on that seam line all the way to end. I think you are perhaps letting go of the fabric at the end of the seam. That is causing the curve. What machine and foot are you using to stitch? Do you have a straight needle plate to try?

                Hope that helps!

                Comment


                • Rob the HOAQ
                  Rob the HOAQ commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I'm using the 1/4 inch foot. The machine is the Janome M7200. It only has the needle plate that came with it. I'm definitely going to have to practice more. Thanks!

                  Rob

                • srgreene
                  srgreene commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Rhonda thanks for great instructions. Helpful for a beginner like me who has been fully taught from videos.

                #12
                I experienced a problem with wonky blocks after using die cut squares that were provided in a kit. We determined that it was because the squares were not cut on the straight of grain ... so that made the squares have a bias edge. Possibly starching would have helped before cutting. But I find bias edges tricky to work with and will make a wonky block if stretched even a little.

                Also wanted to mention that there are 1/4" feet but you need to sew a scant 1/4" (in most instances) to make up for the fabric lost the seam fold.

                Comment


                  #13
                  Thanks to everyone who has taken time to answer me. You guys are great!

                  In all my reading and watching, the one thing I've never noticed is does it matter which ends of the block you sew together? In other words, do you sew WOF to WOF end or LOF end to LOF end, or does it even matter?

                  Rob
                  There's nothing more directly linked to who we are than the fabric that we make.
                  --Ken Burns

                  Comment


                  • Judy, USMC
                    Judy, USMC commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I was taught early on that you needed to sew a seam in one direction and the next the opposite direction. It got sooo confusing. I don't do it with small 9 patch blocks. I can tell if it's wonky when I square it up. If it's off a little I can usually square it up, starch
                    it and then iron it into submission before I trim. It did make a difference on a larger quilts when sewing long rows or columns.

                  #14
                  Your picture is from the front and I find it easier to diagnose problems by looking at the back, It;s much easier to see problems problem with the seam width. But much easier if you iron the seams open. Both to one side will hide crooked seams but takes a lot more fabric so "real" seam allowance will obe widew.

                  I may have missed it but how do you check it to see if you seam allowance gives you the block size you want. In your example you should end up with a 8 1/4 piece measuring the edge of center to the edge of the outside squares.
                  You gots to risk it to gets the biscuit-

                  Comment


                  • Rob the HOAQ
                    Rob the HOAQ commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I usually just measure the seam. To be honest, up to now I haven't measured the block size.

                    Rob

                  #15
                  Just one tiny thing to add: A thinner thread (like Aurafil) will "eat up" less seam allowance than a thicker thread (like Metrosene).
                  Toni ... If I keep sewing long enough, will they make their own dinner?

                  Comment


                  • Rob the HOAQ
                    Rob the HOAQ commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Thanks for the tip! We are using Presencia for piecing.

                    Rob

                  • GuitarGramma
                    GuitarGramma commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'd never heard of Presencia thread. I just looked it up, and it looks like a terrific product. I did notice that they sell 40 wt, 50 wt, and 60 wt. Make sure you're using the 60wt for piecing to get those super flat seams.You can use the 40 wt and 50 wt for quilting; I find 60 wt breaks too easily when I'm doing FMQ.
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