Saturday, November 11, 2017

Star Kisses Sew-Along - Week 6

Welcome to the final week of the sew-along!  We're in the home stretch!  The blocks are completed and it's time to turn them into a completed quilt top! There are only 12 blocks in this quilt, so the top goes together quickly.  

Even though I decided on layout before I started assembling the blocks, I still put them on my design wall, just in case I wanted to make any last minute changes.

The main struggle that I have when assembling tops is dealing with so much fabric at once.  The more fabric, the more risk of the fabric shifting while sewing.  I've had several instances where, even after pinning the seam I am sewing, the weight of the fabric will pull the bottom piece away from the edge of the top piece as I'm sewing.  Since I can't see what's going on on the bottom, I don't realize there is a problem until it's too late, and I end up with wonky seams, or maybe I barely caught the bottom piece in the seam at all.

To keep this from happening, I don't just pin along the seam.  I add extra pins here and there a few inches away from the seam to prevent the two layers from shifting.  If those pins are there, it helps to stabilize the fabric near the seams.  The pins are a little hard to see, but the pictures below show where I have added an additional pin or two to each block as I was sewing the rows together.

I usually use this method when I'm sewing rows to each other, but if I'm sewing large blocks together, I might do the same thing.  These blocks are pretty big at 18" so I did find it helpful to add pins even when I was just sewing two blocks together.  

You might have also noticed that I pressed my seams open between the blocks.  Several seams do not nest, so it was less bulky to press those open.  

Once the blocks are all together, the last step is to add borders.  I've always heard that the way to avoid wavy borders is to measure the top in three spots, take the average, and then cut the border pieces to that length.  That may be true, but I seem to have trouble with cutting something so long to an exact measurement.  I think the problem with borders is that if you don't cut the border piece to size before you sew it, you could be taking in extra fabric as you sew without realizing it.  While that may not be a problem on the side with the seam, all that extra fabric on the opposite, or unsewn, edge of the border is not contained and left to wave and ripple.  To combat this, I start pinning on one end and work my way down, pinning every 3-4 inches, and smoothing the fabric as much as I can as I go so that I don't end up taking in extra fabric.  It seems to work well for me.  

I don't have any pictures of my quilt with a border because I'm skipping that part for now.  Partly because I can't decide what fabric I want to use, and partly because I'm packing for a move and I packed up the fabric I was leaning towards using (oops!).

I have had a lot of fun with this quilt, and I have really enjoyed seeing everyone else's progress.  Thank you so much for joining me on this sew-along!  I can't wait to see your completed quilt tops!  If you post pictures on Instagram, remember to either tag me or use the hashtag #starkissessewalong so I don't miss them!

Until next time,

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