Quilter's Tips and Techniques

Schoolhouse Index
Fast Flying Geese
Standard Mattress Measurements & Quilt Sizes
Quilt Size Guidelines
Mitered Borders
Sizes for Corner and Side Triangles
Stains and Quilt Care
Fabric Calculator
Yardage - for cutting squares
Yardage - for cutting squares from fat quarter
Paper Piecing Patterns - Links
Enlarging/Reducing Scale for Patterns
Hanging Up Wall Hangings with Round Tops (or unusual shape tops)
Coping Strips for adding perfect pieced borders
Setting Blocks on Point
Batting
Printing on Fabric with your printer
Enlarging/Reducing Scale for Patterns
Tips:
Templete Tips Paper Piecing Tips Needle Tips
star Template tips Paper piecing tips star Thread tips
star Sliding templates? Paper piecing paper tips star Threading the Needle
Template cutting tips Appliqué Tips Binding Tips & Misc.
star Freezer paper templates Appliqué Tips star Binding Tips
Rippled Edges star Silk Thread Appliqué star Measuring fabric for continuous strips
Adhesive Remover star Fusible Web Appliqué Raggy Flannel Quilt Tip
Batting Leftovers star Using Steam-a-Seam 2 Thimble Hints - Save That Finger
Dabbing away blue marks Scissor Tips Making straight blanket stitches
Make an instant design wall Sore Finger Prevention Remove the backing from fusible web
Marking Quilt Top Tips Blood Stain Removal Spray Starch
Labels Ironing Tips Storage Tips
Cotton or Poly? Washing Fabric

GOT IT COVERED?
Don't know how big to make your quilt?
Remember to add 12-14" on each side (and the foot) for the drop and 14" at
the head if you want it to tuck under a pillow.

Mattress Size Quilt Size (These are all measurements for a 16" drop)
Receiving
  N/A
  36" X 45" or 45" X 45"
Crib
  23" X 46"
 
Lap Quilt
  N/A
  Between 52" and 68" wide.  52" to 78" in length.
Twin
  39" X 75"
  Between 64" and 72" wide.  86" to 96" in length.
Full
  54" X 75"
  Between 70" and 88 wide.  86" to 100" in length.
Queen
  60" X 80"
  Between 88" and 99" wide.  94" to 108" in length.
King
  76" X 80"
  Between 94" and 108" wide.  94" to 108" in length.

Measurements are approximate.

Quilt Size Amount of Backing Needed
Twin 71" x 101" 6 yards
Full 86" x 101" 7.5 yards
Queen 92" x 106" 8.25 yards
King 108" x 106" 9.25 yards

Several factors are to be considered when deciding what size to make a quilt such as your block size, borders and sashings.  Also, the purpose you would like your quilt to serve needs to be determined when beginning your project.  If you quilt is to be a coverlet or comforter, it will rest on the top of your bed with out any hanging over the edge.  If you are making your quilt a bedspread, you must add to your measurements to allow for hanging on each side and at the bottom, as well as a pillow tuck a the top.

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TEMPLATE TIPS

Sliding Templates?

Try putting Steam-A-Seam 2 on the wrong side of a template. Steam-A-Seam 2 is sticky on both sides, so it will adhere to the template easily. Just remove the paper from one side, stick it onto your template, and trim the excess. Then removed the paper from the other side of the Steam-A-Seam 2. Now the template grabs the fabric just enough to keep the template from sliding while rotary cutting.

Steam-A-Seam 2 sticks well to a template. But it doesn't stick to other surfaces in the same way. It adds a non-skid surface to the back side of the template. And it's relatively transparent, so you can use it on the back of acrylic templates and still see your fabric for fussy cutting.

Template Cutting Tips

Want to save all the work of hand tracing master templates, cutting out vinyl or cardboard, and then tracing around on the fabric. And be more accurate, too. Well, here's a template cutting tip...

Make accurate photocopied sets of your master templates from magazines, books, etc. Always use the same photocopier to make sure the copies are all the same size. Keep your master templates in a file folder for future use. Use a yellow highlighter to mark your masters with a "m" (it won't show when you make a copy). Always copy from your original masters, don't make copies from copies. Cut apart the paper templates from one photocopied set. Cut approximately 1/8-inch away from the outside lines.

Four layers of fabric can be "stuck" together using spray sizing. Don't use spray starch. Cut four pieces of fabric large enough to lay out several paper templates. Make sure the fabric grainlines run parallel. Spray the first piece, cover with the second piece, iron firmly, spray, cover with the third piece, iron firmly, spray and place the fourth piece on top, iron firmly. Let the stacks dry thoroughly.

If you need to make reverse patches, place two of the fabric layers in the stack with the wrong sides up. When you cut the patches you will have two reversed patches.

Place small pieces of two-sided sticky transparent tape on the back of the paper templates in each corner. You can use rolled pieces (sticky side out) of one-sided transparent tape instead. Stick them on the fabric stack. Watch for correct grainline placement. You can put the templates quite close together on the fabric. The paper templates can be lifted and repositioned until they are just right. Smooth the paper so it sticks firmly on the fabric.

Use a see-through plastic ruler and rotary cut along the template line, going through the four layers of fabric and the paper. Continue cutting and moving the ruler to line it up with new edges.

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Using Freezer Paper Templates

If your freezer paper template won't separate cleanly from the fabric, start with a dry iron on a medium setting. Press for a second or two then peel off!

For hand appliqué, when using freezer paper as a template, iron three layers of freezer paper together to make a sturdier template. Use starch to press the edges of the fabric over the freezer paper. If your iron isn't too hot, you can reuse your templates many times.

Use freezer paper to *mark* your quilt top. Trace and cut out your design, and carefully press it with an iron to the quilt. Each freezer-paper *template* can be used several times before it stops sticking.

Make an Instant Design Wall

For an instant and portable design wall, purchase a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth at a discount store. Pay attention to the backside, look for one with a nice fuzzy flannel back side. Place the vinyl side against the wall with the flannel side facing you. Use generous amounts of masking tape as it will get heavier when you add your fabric pieces. To help position your squares and pieces, mark a grid on the flannel with a permanent marker (Sharpie). A design wall is a wonderful addition to any sewing room.

Audition individual fabrics side by side on your design wall to help determine how they will look in the finished quilt. Move them around, add and subtract fabrics until they are pleasing to you. Cut out one block and arrange it on the design wall to see if it is what you envisioned.

A design wall in valuable for assembling scrappy quilts. The wall gives you an overall view of the quilt as you shuffle the shapes around to create that perfect layout. It is also handy to sort fabrics into color values for watercolor quilts. Place your fabrics side by side to see if they blend together, removing those that don't.

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New Quilt Sizes

Many new mattresses are thicker than their predecessors, which makes the top of the mattress further from the floor. So we have increased the measurements of the twin, double, queen and king to include a longer drop. Use the New Quilt Guidelines Chart for full coverage. Coverage will be comfortably generous with a thinner mattress.

Quilt Size Guidelines
Bed Size (mattress) Comforter Coverlet/Bedspread
Twin (38x75) 66" x 89" 80" x 108"
Long Twin (38x80) 66" x 94"

80" x 113"

Double (54x75) 82" x 89"

96" x 108"

Long Double (54x80) 82" x 94"

96" x 113"

Queen (60x80) 88" x 94" 102" x 113"
King (76x80) 104" x 94" 118" x 113"
California King (74x84) 100" x 98" 114" x 117"

Old Quilt Size Guidelines

  Width Length
Baby 36"-45" 45"-54"
Crib 42"-48" 54"-60"
Nap 54"-60" 68"-76"
Twin 56"-64" 84"-100"
Double 70"-80" 84"-100"
Queen 76"-84 90"-104"
King 92"-100" 90"-104"

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Hanging Up Wall Hangings

This works for any shape quilt. For a round topped wall hanging, instead of a 'sleeve' on the edge of the quilt, make a pocket. Take a piece of backing fabric (I use a heavier fabric for very large quilts), cutting a half circle the size of half your quilt plus an additional 2" across the straight edge. Hem this edge by folding up 1" twice and stitching. Sew the pocket under the binding on the top half edge of your quilt. Then cut a piece of foam board in the shape and size of the top half of your quilt. Slip that into the pocket and slip stitch the pocket closed or use Velcro dots to close. I use a regular sewing needle to hang it with. Just tap the needle into the wall and then pop the foam board onto the needle. The quilt holds its shape and only one small needle hole in the wall. I've used this for on-point or diamond shaped quilts too. Works beautifully.

Yardage - Fabric Cutting Chart
(Based on washed, 44 inch wide fabric)
Square 1/8 1/4 1/3 3/8 1/2 5/8 2/3 3/4 7/8 1 yard
1" 172 344 473 559 731 946 989 1118 1333 1505
1.5" 58 145 203 232 219 406 435 493 580 667
2" 42 84 105 126 168 231 231 273 315 351
2.5" 17 51 68 85 119 136 153 170 204 238
3" 14 28 42 56 70 98 98 112 140 154
3.5" 12 24 36 36 60 72 72 84 96 120
4" 10 20 20 30 40 50 50 60 70 80
4.5" 0 9 18 18 27 36 45 45 54 63
5" 0 8 16 16 24 32 32 40 48 56
5.5" 0 7 14 14 21 28 28 28 35 42
6" 0 7 7 14 14 21 21 28 35 35
6.5" 0 6 6 12 12 18 18 24 24 30
8" - 5 - - 10 - - 15 - 20
9" - 4 - - 8 - - 12 - 16
10" - 0 - - 4 - - 8 - 12
12" - - - - 6 - - 6 - 9

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Fat Quarter Squares
What can you get from a fat quarter?
99
2" squares or
50
2 1/2" squares or
42
3" squares or
30
3 1/2" squares or
20
4" squares or
16
4 1/2" squares or
12
5" squares or
12
5 1/2" squares
9
6" squares or
6
6 1/2" squares

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Sizes for Corner and Side Triangles

     This chart gives you the measurements for corner and side triangles for the most commonly used quilt-block sizes.

Finished Block Size

Cut Size of Square for Corner Triangles

Cut Size of Square for Side Triangles

2"

2"

4"

3"

3"

5"

4"

3"

7"

5"

4"

8"

6"

5"

9"

7"

5"

11"

8"

6"

12"

9"

7"

14"

10"

8"

15"

12"

9"

18"

14"

10"

21"

16"

12"

23"

18"

13"

26"

20"

15"

29"

24"

17"

35"

Cutting tip: It is easier to cut fabric smaller than make it bigger, so cut squares for corner and side triangles " - 1" larger and trim them down once your top is pieced.

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Batting
Quilters have a large selection of quilt batting to choose from. There are low loft and high loft. There is cotton, polyester and a blend of polyester/cotton. Some batts are meant for hand quilting and some for machine quilting; some can be used for both hand or machine quilting; others are meant to be tied comforter-style; others can be used for clothing or wall hangings.

Batts can also come with a scrim or be needle punched. The scrip makes the batting more stable, but it is harder for hand sewing. Needle punching makes it easier to hand quilt. For hand quilters, ease of needling is an important consideration and hand quilters prefer polyester as it is easier to work with. Cotton or cotton/polyester blends are preferred for machine quilting as they cling to the fabric and there is less shifting, thus alleviating puckers on the bottom lining.

Batting is the part of the quilt that does not show, but it determines the look of your finished quilt. If it is a bed, it should provide warmth. If it is for a wall hanging, it should be low loft and hang fairly flat. Also note that cotton batts take longer to dry while polyester ones dry fairly quickly.

Polyester batts can lose their loft, whereas cotton ones become softer and more supple with use and repeated washing. Cotton batts and wool batts, being of natural fiber, tend to "breathe". Polyester batts can trap in air and do not 'breathe', thus making you 'sweat'. Cotton batts are heavier than polyester. Children's quilts tend to lean toward polyester because they are lighter and they are easier to wash and maintain. Keep in mind that polyester batting will cause a quilt to melt when exposed to fire. Polyester batts can beard, i.e. the batting may creep to the top of the quilt.

Some batting manufacturers are Mountain Mist; Fairfield Processing; Warm Company (Warm & Natural); Hobb's.

For tied quilts, try Fairfield Extra Loft and Ultra Loft or Hobbs Cloud.

Cotton batts may or may not be bleached. If a quilt top is predominantly white, bleached cotton should be used or your batting color color may show on the top. Hobbs' Bleached Organic Heirloom Cotton and Fairfield Bleached Cotton are some examples. Most 100% cotton batts need to be quilted 2" apart between quilting lines. Read the instructions on your batting package as some cotton batts can now be quilted farther apart. The scrim found in cotton batts adds stability to the batting. The scrim is synthetic. Some batts are needle punched, meaning puncture marks are added to the batting for ease of hand quilting. Cotton has a tendency to shrink an average of about 5%. You can purchase black batts for dark pieced tops.

Cotton or cotton/polyester blends are preferred for machine quilting as it clings to the fabric and helps prevent shifting, thus alleviating puckers on the bottom lining.

Fairfield's Cotton Classic is 80% cotton and 20% polyester. The polyester content means that you can quilt farther apart than if it was all cotton.

Hobb's also carry a polyester/cotton blend - 80% cotton and 20% polyester. It does not have to be pre-washed but the instructions say that you have to quilt 3 1/2" apart. For use with either hand or machine quilting.

Warm & Natural is predominantly polyester with 20% cotton. It looks and feels like cotton and is readily available. It should be prewashed as it contains plant seeds.

Quilters Dream Cotton can give your washed quilt an antique look.

Wool Batting may be treated with lanolin or other resins. It can be machine-washed. The cost is slightly higher than cotton but it hand quilts as easily as polyester. There is no pull on the needle and it is easier to hand-quilt than cotton. Wool tends to beard.

Pellon Fleece is used for place mats and table runners as it is heat resistant. Hobbs Thermore is used for clothing but can also be used for placemats.

Polyester batting allows for quilting to be farther apart. Quilting lines for cotton batts are as follows:
Cotton Classic - 2" - 3" apart
Heirloom Cotton - 3" - 4" apart
Warm & Natural - up to 8" apart.

At all times follow the instructions provided on the bags regarding how closely you can quilt, whether to pre-wash or not and if it is for hand or machine quilting.

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Setting Your Blocks on Point
"How do I set a block on point?" This is a very simple technique, but one you must be careful with, as you'll be dealing with bias edges. Nothing can ruin a quilt more than bias edges being stretched all over the place. You may want to consider using spray starch or sizing on your square before cutting, which will help keep it a little more stabilized when sewing. Especially good idea for thinner fabrics.

To set a block on point, you need to first calculate what size square you'll need to cut to make the setting triangles. To accomplish this step, follow this calculation: Take whatever your block size (for example, 15"), and divide that number by 1.414. Then ADD .875, which will then equal the size of square you'll need to cut. You may need to round up or down a little bit, but I say it's safer to have it a little bit larger and then cut it down, rather than have it too short, thereby not leaving a good 1/4 inch to add your next portion to! Then you will cut that in half, diagonally. Obviously, you'll need to make two of these squares, if setting on point. So again, to recap:

Block size DIVIDED by 1.414, then ADD .875, equals size of square. Then cut square diagonally.


Dabbing Out Blue Marking Pens
If your blue marking lines have turned brown, to remove use a gallon of plain white vinegar in the machine with the wet quilt. (If the laundry detergent has sodium carbonate in it, that
is the 'fixer' for the color in the dye. This sodium carbonate, otherwise known as soda ash, can be found in its purest form in Arm & Hammer or any other detergent with 'whiteners and brighteners.' The reason that vinegar helps remove the stain is because it pushes the pH of the water to an acidic point, thus allowing the fabric to release the dye. (Sodium carbonate is a strong base.)

Remember to soak/rinse your quilt in plain cold water before you wash it! That way, the pen marks will come out. After the quilt is thoroughly rinsed and then washed, the pen marks will never come back at a later date, or after drying.

Some quilters keep a spray bottle of plain water beside them and as they finish a block, spritz it right away. That way they won't forget and it is ready to launder. Some keep a damp paper towel nearby and as soon as they finish a section, dab at the blue marks until they disappear.

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Stains - the Buttermilk Recipe
To remover stains try the "Buttermilk Recipe" - put a quart of buttermilk and a teaspoon of lemon juice in a gallon of warm water. Soak the item. (ok, for an entire quilt you would need to triple or quadruple ) the natrual bleaching agents in the buttermilk and lemon juice will brighten the whites and colors while being gentle with fabrics. This is a great way to brighten old linens and doilies too... If you just happen to be drinking wine while you are quilting and you spill some on your quilt soak up as much as you can with a clean cloth then wash the quilt in cold water and ammonia.

When washing old quilts, minimize handling them when wet.

Stain Removal Guide - web site page that gives full details for removing a variety of different stains.

Removing Blood Stains
If you prick your finger while quilting, you can use your own saliva to remove the blood stain. Just dampen a piece of cloth with your saliva, and rub over the stain. It should disappear. This of course, only works with your own blood.

Washing Fabric
Washing Small Pieces: Place fat quarters of fabric in a mesh lingerie bag to launder. Wash your fabric with other clothing items without losing the fabric and with minimal fraying.

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Paper Piecing Tips

  1. 1. Use a size 90/14 needle. The larger needle makes the paper easier to remove.

  2. 2. Use a smaller stitch (18 to 20 stitches to the inch) for easier paper removal and it permits a smaller seam allowance.

  3. 3. Make copy machine copies from an original only. Making a copy from a copy can cause distortions.

  4. 4. Use a small lamp next to your machine to aid in seeing through the paper and the layered fabric for proper placement.

  5. 5. Use a small press board and small iron, no steam, next to your machine.

  6. 6. Cut oversize pieces of fabric to ensure that the fabric covers the area adequately.

  7. 7. Keep the paper intact until the blocks are surrounded by other blocks or fabric pieces.

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  • Paper Piecing Paper Ideas
  1. 1. Buy newsprint by the ream (lots less money this way). It is about $3.00 for an entire ream! Good place is at Staples, or get end rolls from the local newspaper publisher. You can put it through your copy machine or your home printer, light enough in color to trace pattern through ,and tears away readily from seams. Hint: when using, don't race your machine.

  2. 2. Use tissue-type paper that is used to cover examining tables at your physician's office. This lasts forever! It's lightweight and you can see through it to trace patterns.

  3. 3. Use fax paper (the roll kind, not plain paper) for paper-piecing projects. Just run the original through the fax machine. It enables you to make multiple copies so you don't use up your originals, the paper is very thin so it rips from the seams easily, and the ink/toner is very stable so it doesn't transfer onto the fabric. All in all, it's very easy & cost effective!

  4. 4. The tissue paper that bakeries use for their donuts, or that butchers use for separating hamburger patties, work really well for paper piecing. They're stiff enough to sew on, but lightweight enough to easily tear away. Another plus is they're usually square and a good size (4" to 6") for most patterns. You can get boxes of these from a Restaurant Supply House.

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Easily Remove The Backing From Fusible Web
After you have ironed the fusible web to the back of your fabric, fold back a corner (about 1/2 inch), paper-to-paper. When you release the corner, the fabric will spring back, but the paper will stay creased.

Using Steam-a-Seam 2

Pre-wash your fabric to make sure that the chemicals and sizing are removed as these may prevent the fabric from sticking to the steam a seam.

Take your piece of Steam a Seam 2 and cut it to the required size for your appliqué design.

Trace your appliqué design (IN REVERSE) onto one of the Steam a Seam 2 liner.

Peel off the liner you DID NOT draw your appliqué design on.

Stick your Steam a Seam 2 to your appliqué fabric.Cut out the appliqué design from the Steam a Seam and the Fabric.

Peel off the remaining liner.

Stick your cut out Steam a Seam 2 and Fabric appliqué design onto the Background Block Fabric.

Press with a hot iron for 10-15 seconds (time may vary depending on fabric used—this timing is for cotton). Repeat this until the appliqué design is stuck to the Background Fabric securely.

Spray Starch
Spray starch adds body to fabric. It cuts down on fraying, and when used with applique, it stops frayed edges and makes needle turning easier. If applied before rotary cutting, the fabric does not shift, and your 1/4" seams are straighter when you sew. Blocks square up easier and there are less waves when sashing is applied. When machine quilting, the sprayed backing glides smoothly on your work surface and there is less puckering on the back. Bias cuts have less stretch. Pencil marks also wash out easier. Sizing spray is softer than spray starch and works just the same.

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Thread Tips
1. To make thread behave for appliqué or regular sewing - run your needle and thread through a fresh dryer sheet, folded, and magic - no tangles or those tine little nasty knots.

2. Ever wonder why your quilting thread will tangle and knot up sometimes, but cooperates beautifully other times? It matters which end of the thread you put your knot in. For North American-made thread (i.e.. Coats) put your knot in the end that you cut from the spool. For silk thread or European-made thread (i.e.. Mettler) put your knot in the end that you pulled from the spool. This way, you work with the way the thread was twisted when it was manufactured.

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Threading the Needle
If you have trouble threading the eye of the needle, try turning the needle and thread through the other side of the eye. One side of the eye is always bigger than the other.

Try this... Don't lick the thread, instead lick the eye of the needle!

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Fusible Web Appliqué

If you cut the fusible just a hair, like 1/16", smaller than the applique fabric piece, and match the edges when sewing, then the fusible will automatically be pulled to the wrong side when turned so no peeking!

Silk Thread Appliqué
For those who use Silk Thread when they do appliqué but get frustrated because the thread keeps slipping out of the needle, try this. After you thread the needle, pull the thread through so one end is only about 4" from the eye of the needle and tie a double knot immediately behind the eye of the needle. (I use the old boy scout reef knot as it doesn't slip). You will find that it will not hinder your appliquéing as the knot is still smaller than the end of the needle.

Pinning your Appliqué
Pin your appliqué pieces in place on the underside, that way as you are appliquéing the piece in place your pin won’t keep catching on the thread.

Appliqué Thread Color
Always use the color thread that matches the appliqué piece not the background color. Also when using the needle turn method of stitching eliminate pins use a small dab of stik glue in the center of flower or appliqué piece.

Easier Appliqué
Use a Bounce fabric dryer sheet to run down the thread a couple of times after it is threaded. It sure makes the thread flow through the cloth a lot easier with less drag and the thread doesn't knot as easy.

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Sore Finger
Keep clear nail polish in your sewing basket (tightly closed, of course.) Paint a layer or two on whatever area of your finger that usually gets sore from needle pricks (the finger under the quilt for many of us.) Do this before you get pricks in your finger as the polish will sting if you already have needle pricks.

Thimble hints - Save that Finger
Dropping a dime into the tip of a leather thimble will give you the strength and protection of a conventional metal thimble along with the conforming comfort of leather.

Labels
Baste the label in place on the back of the quilt and quilt through it, so the label will be very difficult to remove and will look great!

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Measuring fabric for continuous binding.

Add up the total inches around the quilt, divide that by 40 (the standard width of the fabric), round that number up to a whole number and multiply that by the width you cut your bindings.

EXAMPLE:
If your quilt measures 46" X 46"
46 x 4 = 184
divide by 40 =4.6
Round up to 5, you will need 5 strips for the binding. Now if you cut your bindings 2.5 inches, you will need 12.5 inches. So 1/2 yard would be more than enough.

Binding Tips
1. Make your double fold bias binding at the time you finish sewing the quilt top together while you still have your sewing machine and fabric out. Wrap the binding around an empty toilet paper tube or 8x10-inch cardboard piece (so it doesn't crease), This insures that you won't accidentally use the binding fabric for something else.

2. Sew your binding on before you trim your edges. Then trim your edges with the binding attached. I have trimmed, then sewn and missed the backing sometimes. This assures you will not miss the backing since it is larger than the quilt top.

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Rippled Edges
If the edges of your quilt are slightly rippled, baste around the quilt with stitches about 1/8 inch long. Then lay the edge on a flat surface and gently gather it until it lies flat. Stay stitch by hand or machine to hold the gathers in place and to keep the edges flat.

Adhesive Remover
To remove a fused appliqué without getting adhesive on your iron, set your iron on warm and iron with aluminum foil covering the appliqué. You can remove any remaining adhesive by placing the foil directly over the fusing-adhesive material and ironing again. You can use this method to remove any fusing-adhesive material that has been mistakenly ironed onto the ironing board, too.

Batting Leftovers
When you use part of a package of quilt batting, write the dimensions of the leftover batting on the package. That way you will know at a glance what size batting You have available.

Making Straight Blanket Stitches
To make a long row of evenly spaced blanket stitches, first machine-baste a visible line 1/4" from the edge of the fabric. Using this basting line as a guide, make one blanket stitch per machine stitch, which yields a row of perfectly spaced blanket stitches. I might recommend 6 stitches to the inch.

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Ironing Tips
Secure a thick, heavy, white, bath towel to your ironing board for use as a pressing aid. You can press appliqués face down on this napped surface and press the seam allowances in quilt blocks without having them "mark" the right side of the fabric. The towel also prevents slipping and distortion as you press.

Storage Tips
If you buy several yards of paper-backed fusing-adhesive material at a time, keep it from getting torn or creased by rolling it up and sliding it into an inexpensive cardboard mailing tube. Just label the tubes and you are all set.

Marking Quilt Tops
When using a pounce with powder to mark a quilt top, temporarily set it by using a quick spray of hairspray. It won't brush off, but it will wash out when you're done with the quilt.

Scissor Tips
Put knitting needle point protectors on the sharp ends of your small scissors. This will protect you from getting poked each
time you reach into your sewing bag and will also protect your sewing bag lining.

Cotton or Poly Blend?
Burn Test: To identify fabric content, burn a corner of a piece of scrap fabric and extinguish it in a bowl of water. Cotton will feather with a light ash as it's burned; poly blend will feel like plastic when it is burned.

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Raggy Flannel Quilt Tip
After you get all your clipping done and you are ready to wash your rag quilt, take your vacuum hose and ruffly vacuum your clipped seams. The suction will loosen the threads and suck them up instead of going into your washer.

Coping Strips for adding pieced borders
How do you properly add pieced borders to a quilt?

First determine the size of the pieced border you want to add. Then add a coping strip to bring the quilt up to size.

For instance: If the quilt measures 25 inches, and you want to add a border of 6 inch blocks, you need to add coping strips to bring your quilt up to 30.5", 30 being the next number that is evenly divisible by 6.

So you need to add 5.5" to the size of the quilt. Write down the FINISHED sizes of the quilt and the two coping strips you will add:

3" coping strip
24.5" quilt (finished size)
3" coping strip

------------------------
30.5" total

The quilt already has its 1/2" seam allowance. To cut the coping strips add 1/2 seam allowance, cutting two strips 3.5" wide by 25" long. Add those to opposite sides of the quilt. Cut two strips 3.5" wide by 30.5" and sew these to the two remaining sides.

Your quilt is now 30.5 inches square.

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