Tips from Our Readers

In our October 24 Newsletter, we asked our readers to share their favorite tips.  We have over 40 pages of tips!  Here are the first group of tips.  Enjoy!

Tips from Our Readers

  • Always start your machine with a jump piece of fabric. This way you won’t have a birds nest in the back of you quilt.
  • The value of basting so not having to rip out seams and saving the time and the fabric
  • Have patience and maybe a glass on of wine to calm the tension when doing applique.
  • UsE the right tools and don’t be too shy to ask for help.
  • Use Rosanne's glue to baste your wool pieces.
  • Take two stripes sew them together and then cut save time in making a four patch.
  • Always select the correct needle for the project and always use a new needle for each project. Using the correct type of needle makes stitching easier and smoother. Needles dull and ware over time so using a new one with each project ensures easier stitching.
  • Needle is punched so if thread won't go thru eye try from other side of eye. This works every time. Saves frustration.
  • Use the colonial knot when needing a stitch that stands alone (like for an eye) and use French knots in a group where they help to hold each other up.
  • I was told to make a mark on my thumb so my buttonhole stitches are even. It works wonderfully.
  • I was told to keep all of my notions organized. They stay clean and one know where they are when they are needed.
  • Be comfortable & have good lighting.
  • Take your time and enjoy the process. Why, I've learned that it takes time to put the love into a stitched project, plus they look better.
  • I was taught to do a proper applique stitch. I was using a stitch that obviously showed. Now my applique stitches are invisible!
  • Don't be too concerned with perfection. Keep sewing and no one will judge your work, but will enjoy the finished project.
  • Practice makes perfect. Take your time & try to keep stitches even.
  • I keep a chart with my floss together with my wool project so I always know the proper color.
  • Always wash your hands before stitching. Oils may leave marks on your fabric
  • Steam-a-Seam 2 Lite!!! Makes a world of difference with applique!!! Absolutely LOVE using it!!!
  • Baste edges of quilt. Snug up thread so edges do not ripple. Then bind your quilt.
  • I always use a pillow on my lap to hold my work while hand stitching. It reduces arm and hand fatigue as well as eye strain. The pillow also provides a cushioned surface to poke the needle into when doing French knots! I first heard this tip from Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings.
  • Moving the sewing machine needle to the far right when using an open toe foot to applique.
  • When sewing several seams, feed one seam after another, chain them together rather than leaving a long tail of thread between each seam. I learned this from my grandma as a way to conserve thread. There have been times when I would have run out of thread if I hadn’t sewn this way.
  • I knot at my corners while doing the applique stitch . It helps to keep it in place.
  • Don't let a larger project overwhelm you. Think smaller. One section at a time.
  • Use good thread for less lint.
  • On small applique projects use a primitive stitch in the background and a blanket stitch in a darker color than the applique and this combination of stitches makes the applique stand out more.
  • You can use the starch and mini iron with any applique shapes using double or triple layers of freezer paper or heat resistant template material. Just use a finger stiletto or awl to push the moistened edges over the template edge as you press with the mini iron.
  • This really isn't a stitching tip but a way to knot your thread. You wrap the thread a couple of times around your needle and pull and it makes a knot. Easy peasy
  • Pieces of wool that are too small to use work well for stuffing a pin cushion. The wool also helps to keep the pins sharp.
  • When you have made a big mistake walk away from the project for at least 24 hours. This have saved me much frustration, more mistakes, bigger headaches etc. etc..
  • I love applique, especially with wool. I was told to pick the correct needle to use, considering the type of thread I was using
  • Press all seams as you go. Also, always backstitch at the beginning and end of a seam.
  • Relax it doesn't have to be perfect.
  • Use good quality thread - it affects your 1/4' seam.
  • When I was a girl my mom used to make clothes. I learned to cut patterns and clip for smooth inner curves. Mom has been gone for 10 years now but I had a great laugh while I remembered this when cutting out some cute little baby bibs that came as a template with no instructions! Turned out great!
  • I don't remember every getting a tip, I just don't rush and take time to research from some of the books I've collected, or find a tutorial to watch....
  • Measure twice and cut once and.... Always close your rotary cutting tool after each cut to prevent an unexpected accident.
  • To add a laser sight like on my mitre saw to sew straight lines without much effort. This has saved me countless time and a whole lot less pinning time
  • I learned this early in my quilting - unless you have an exact quarter inch seam, nothing is going to match which ends in a lot of frustration. Find where that quarter inch is on your sewing machine and don't deviate!
  • How to make a quilter's knot on the end of my thread instead of just wrapping it around my finger and rubbing it around until it makes a knot.
  • Using pins to hold pieces together.
  • Use the correct needle for the thread and stitch you are doing!
  • I lay it all out and take a picture with my phone. When I look at the picture it helps me to notice if something is really standing out of place. Then I can make changes before stitching. And the picture is a good reference as I stitch.
  • Wool is so much easier to work with because you don't turn the edges under.
  • On small blocks, be sure to heavily starch the fabric so that it will stay true to size with a crisp, sharp look.
  • Take your time & HAVE FUN. Why? Fewer mistakes & a lot more enjoyment in the project you’re working on.
  • I was told to use Milliners needles for applique and blind stitching binding. They are sharper and longer in size for your fingers to not get sore or fatigued. I like using them they work nicely for me.
  • Separate floss before stitching it won't twist and bunch up.
  • This is a tip that I use every day. It is how to put a knot on your thread by wrapping the thread around the needle two or three times and then sliding the knot all the way to the end of your thread. Works every time and no fuss!
  • Making a tiny stitch at the beginning and end for machine quilting. It beats tying and hiding ends.
  • To use the stitch I personally enjoy when doing hand applique even if it is not the one the sample used.
  • Use a hoop!
  • Using a scrap of fabric to start and end to end snarls ending up on a seam bottom.
  • Take your time and relax. I do tend to be in a rush to get to the next thing, whatever that may be, and it shows in my stitches and reduces my enjoyment of the process.
  • Using wool thread when appliqueing on wool. Perfect!
  • When threading the needle, wet the needle instead of the thread and the thread goes thru easier.
  • I always receive tips from best friend Crystal. She gave me a tip about keeping my seams in line. I was having a terrible struggle with that at one time. But her hints and suggestions have made things a lot easier Crystal is my rock when it comes to quilting I have more confidence in anything I start even hard things.
  • Pull DMC floss from the side with the arrow and it will come out without tangling.
  • Using a backing on my stitching projects to cover my strings from the back.
  • Relax and enjoy what you are doing and what you are creating. I try to remember this as I am somewhat of a perfectionist. I want everything to be perfect which is not possible. Relax and enjoy the journey.
  • Relax and enjoy what you are doing and what you are creating. I try to remember this as I am somewhat of a perfectionist. I want everything to be perfect which is not possible. Relax and enjoy the journey.
  • Using very small stitches when appliqueing to give a finer curve.
  • Make sure you have good lighting. Not only is this better for your eyes, but good lighting can prevent mistakes.
  • When embroidering on wool, layer with multiple layers of applique and use different fancy stitches with different types of thread for interest and dimension.
  • Find a needle that is right for the job and a size you are comfortable using. A long, thin needle works well for me when doing applique or bindings.
  • Use double thread so it shows up if you don't have a thicker thread
  • Use the correct foot.because it will make your time stitching easier
  • Take classes! Classes get you out of your comfort zone and around other creative people. They broaden your horizons, give you new inspiration and keep your projects fresh and fun. As an added bonus, stitchers are such an awesome bunch, you will probably make a new friend, or two!
  • Check your 1/4' so that all your seams come out correct per the pattern.
  • There are no stitching police!...I love this because when I make a mistake, it’s okay to be a little creative. It makes me smile every time.
  • My best stitching tip came from my mother. She taught me how to hide my knots and to take small, even, steady stitches.
  • To check and correct my quarter inch seam. It completely changed the accuracy of the blocks.
  • My best tip is my own. Do the project and don't worry about mistakes. Treat it like taking a class. You will get better with each project. Your supplies are tools for learning!
  • Keep your fingers to the sides of the needle. (I was 8 years old and learning to use my grandma's sewing machine.)