Sewing Accuracy

Stripes & Seams

I have very fond memories of working on my Grandmother Ellie’s little blue machine, her sitting behind me watching as I learned to stitch straight lines and eventually making dresses. She was always so patient, and my love of sewing takes me back to the moments I shared with my Grandma.

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When you visit Mrs. Homefront, I want you to feel like you have come home to some pumpkin pie! Your thoughts, questions, and ideas are met with excitement and listening ears. When I hear something that makes me say “Oh my heavens!” you might hear a bit of the south. I’m a little sassy with some sweet as a peach “bless your heart” and a healthy appreciation for a good yes ma’am.

If you are a fabric lover, quilter, or a crafter you have come to right place. You’ll find a fresh new take on quilting and find versatility. Helping you learn new things through tutorials and beloved quilter friends, this is a great resource for you.

I want to make beautiful things with people. Creativity, and the quilting community go hand in hand. There is a fabulous group of people who want to help each other become better. I want to raise my hand up high and say “Me! Me! I will help you learn.” That is because I am a maker and my favorite thing to do is create things with amazing minds beside me.

Being an Army wife is a large part of who I am.  Encouraging my husband and caring for my kids brings me great satisfaction. I am happily devoted to my country and I treasure the opportunities that it sends our way.

Anyone who know me, knows I get a tingle in my nose every time I here the boots of a platoon in cadence or the boom of fireworks reverberate through my chest as I sit on a quilt on that hot July night. I believe my love of fabric and cotton is deeply rooted in my love of country. Those perfectly pressed stripes make both the faithful American and Quilter in me jump for joy (quite literally).

J n L Homecoming (20 of 42)I was one happy lady on a hot August home coming morning.

Now if you are a quilter or an aspiring quilter or really any kind of seamstress, seam accuracy and pressing are super important!

Let’s start with accuracy…

There are several ways you can be sure you get the desired result. Sometimes you have got to play some trial and error to see where exactly your quarter inch seam is coming from. Many of us have an quarter inch foot that helps guide as we piece, but it is amazing how minor things like thread and pressing can affect your outcome. If we pretend for just a minute, that we are Thomas Edison trying to make a light bulb, try, try again until we have success because we learn the most from our mistakes! So, let’s pull out a simple pattern to test our accuracy.

Simple 4 Patch

 simple 4 Patch

Materials:

1 Square 4 3/8″ (yellow)

1 Square 4 3/8″ (white)

2 squares 4″ (turquoise)

Cut out your pieces and start sewing. Many times when I make a quilt I’m so excited to get down to business that I don’t test it out. I cut my pieces and then the sewing machine gets humming. EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE I think it is good to check and see how true to size my blocks are finishing. For this exercise, you want to check the size of things after each seam.

 

Sew your half square triangles. This is always a good test to make sure you are getting your stitches right on the line and that your fabric is not slipping and sliding on you. Cut them down the middle between the seams and press them flat to set the seam and then open the triangles and press your seam allowance to the dark side. Now check the size. Is it square? Is it 4 inches? Are the triangles the same size? If you answer yes to all these questions, then you are ready to move on. If you answered no to any of these questions, go back and try again. Repeat this process until you get it right. How straight your seam is, cutting, and gentle pressing is key to achieving the desired 4 inch square.

Once you have your 2 half square triangles you’re ready to sew your block together! That was fast! We want something simple to create a quick easy accuracy exercise. Sewing a half square triangle to a 4 inch square you will get 2 strips. Set the seam, press to the dark side and then check your measurement.

 

It should be 7.5 inches long and 4 inches wide. If both sections are measuring correctly, nest those seams in the middle, pin them together, and sew the final seam. Set the seam, press to the dark side and make sure your block is 7.5 by 7.5 inches. Then you have completed your accuracy test!

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Remember it is no big deal if you don’t get this on your first try. Most of us, including myself, can use a good accuracy test every now and then. And then you can move forward knowing your machine and yourself a bit better. Don’t forget to download the free printable here to try other sizes of half square triangles!

Happy Sewing! Tag your sewing with #mrshomefront so we can see your lovely work!

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