Tips & Techniques

Image of the Wyoming Valley Quilt Block
The Wyoming Valley Quilt Block

Below are some great tips for making accurate patchwork and solving some of the little problems that come up while sewing or quilting! Simply hover over the card or click on the link to reveal the tip or technique.

Cut the Right Size Piece

It happens!  It's easy to accidentally use the wrong line on your ruler to make a cut. Here is a handy tip to help prevent that!




Find the Right Line

Use a dry erase marker to temporarily mark the line you need to use on your acrylic ruler so you can see it better. When you are finished, wipe it off!




Prewashing Precuts

Need to prewash your precuts (either because you are mixing them with older washed fabrics or because you are uncertain about their colorfastness?

Here is what to do.

Use a Salad Spinner!

Place the pieces in the spinner and add some hot water and detergent.  Give them a good spin, then rinse and spin out again to extract as much water as possible.  Lay flat, then press with a hot iron to dry.

When Fabrics Bleed

You've tested that lovely dark red fabric and the bad news is that it is bleeding red.  Don't let that spoil your quilt.  Here is the fix.



ReTayne those Colors!

Look for a product at your local quilt shop called ReTayne and use as directed.  It will set the colors in the fabric so that they no longer bleed, and you will have a beautiful quilt with colors that last a lifetime!

Accurate Geese & HST's

Probably one of my favorite tips ever! When making geese and HST's where you have drawn a line on the diagonal of a square and you are supposed to sew on the line.  Try this and watch perfection happen.

Aim a Hair to the Right

Instead of sewing directly on the drawn line, position your needle just to the right of it. When the seam is pressed open, you will find that you will have nailed it. (This works because the thickness of your fabric eats a bit into your 1/4" seam, and that hair you gave it just took that into account.) 

Patches & Labels

When sewing on patches or quilt labels, don't let pins get in your way. Use this tip for a no-fuss way to make sure that patch/label goes on straight the first time.

Give it a little Spray!

Spray Baste products (such as 505 spray or Sullivan's Quilt Baste) make this job easy.  Simply spray the back lightly, then position on your garment or quilt. The item will stay in place as you stitch and you won't have to mess with pins being in your way!


Fix a Loose Thimble

Is your thimble sliding around too much? Here's a nifty little tip that will have your thimble fitting snug as a bug.

Grippy Gloves

Take an old pair of latex or rubber gloves and cut off the fingertips. (Old rubber gardening gloves with those textured fingers work really well for this!) Next time you use your thimble, first position one of the glove fingertips over your finger before you put on your thimble. Instant grip!

Gummy Needle?

Sometimes your needle might accumulate gunk from spray baste or other adhesives.

 This will clean it right up!


Alcohol Swab

Use a Q-tip dipped in alcohol or a medical prep wipe to clean it off!  


Good as new!


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