Roundabout Quiltalong :: Part 2 (Piecing)

Once you've gotten your fabrics all laid out in rows it's time to move them to the sewing machine. Here's the basic order of things: Pin. Sew. Clip. Press. Trim. Repeat.

(May I suggest trying one or two pairs with practice fabric.)

For clarity's sake let's refer to the parts as the 'pie' and the 'slice'.

Sewing curves is counterintuitive at first. The shapes don't seem to fit and you have to yank at the fabric in a way that you otherwise avoid doing at all costs. Try to remember that you are using both the grain and the bias of the fabric and it will stretch.

I pin (and sew) with the pie on the bottom.

My first pin goes at the center point,

then I put one in either corner.

(Can someone please remind me to have a manicure before doing a photo tutorial featuring my hands.)

After that I find the 'natural' center of each of the two halves (between the center pin and each corner pin) and pin there.

And after that I do it yet again. So I end up with (at least) 9 pins for each square.

I often have to lay the fabric down on my surface and stretch it with one hand while pinning it into place with the other.

When it's all ready to sew I make sure that the pie is on the bottom so I can pull at it from beneath and place it under the presser foot of my machine perpendicular to my body.

As I sew (using a 1/4" allowance), I pull at the pieces to keep them as smooth as possible and keep rearranging them so that they pass under the presser foot at at 90 degree angle to my body.

Next (after removing the pins) I clip into the seam allowance a lot. Maybe nine times. Take care not to clip through the stitching.

Place the piece wrong side up on your ironing surface and press toward the slice. Don't be afraid to pull at it to get it to lay as flat as possible. Don't be alarmed if there are a few little puckers. Quilting can work wonders at hiding these.

Turn it over and press again.

Now for the part which makes all the difference (at least to me).

At this point my pieces still don't look square.

Congratulations if yours do and could you please email me and tell me how you did it.

So I lie it on the cutting mat and using the slice as a barometer I trim it to 11".

I have found that this size will work for me with this pattern but you may choose to wait until you're finished sewing all of your squares and square up to the smallest one. It's important  to measure from the slice corner so that all the pieces will line up nicely.

As for sewing the squares together, they aren't any different than other quilt squares except that you may have 'nested' your seams previously (pressed them in opposite directions so that they sit nicely into each other).

These blocks won't nest so you'll have to pin at the seam where the slice meets the pie and line up the blocks from there.

I hope that all makes sense.

I'm going to put together a list of anyone who is quilting along and wishes to be linked to. Just leave a comment here and let me know your info. If you don't have a blog and want to share, be sure to join the flickr group.

Feel free to email or comment with any questions you may have. I'll get back to you as soon as I can. I'm heading out of town for a few days of rest and relaxation. (Are the mothers among you laughing here?) I can't wait to come back and see how you are progressing.