Having been given a jelly roll and a quilting book for Christmas 2010, there is no excuse not to get on with quiltmaking.

Here's what happened next...


Monday, 10 January 2011

First Steps!

Well – I have had my first play around with fabric & sewing machine this evening!

This was a lot of fun – eventually – despite ending up with more questions than I started with, & this being my first attempt at sewing a straight line – eek!

Initial snags:

• I plugged in the sewing machine in & nothing happened
• Once the machine was working, it proceeded to refuse to pick up the thread from the bobbin underneath & merrily perforated the fabric rather than sewing
• the BRAND NEW needle snapped & the tip pinged I Know Not Where whilst I was winding the bobbin, as I managed to skew the foot round so that the needle hit it at speed. (There’s bound to be a lever to stop the needle bombing up and down when you’re winding a bobbin – can’t think where it is on this machine though.)

A mountain of thread and offcuts later, and I’d progessed to this.

The seams look massive – do you trim them?

And they show through when pressed – is that normal?

I was pleased that I sewed three bits together, chopped them in half then turned them round and put them back together again so that the seams matched – although in retrospect, this would have been rather more impressive if I’d used three different fabric strips to start with, not bits of the same.

A good start, I think – although I must remember to buy an un-picker.


  1. Great start Hazel, you've got the concept of patchwork - start with a perfectly good piece of fabric, chop it up, sew it together and get a new piece of fabric!! Generally in patchwork we work with a 1/4" seam (looks very small to start with, but I can assure you it's sufficient), if your machine doesn't have a quarter inch foot you can measure from the needle and stick some masking tape on the bed of the machine to use as a guide for the edge of the fabric. You may need to do a couple of test seams and adjust the tape until you get an accurate 1/4". Aim to get as accurate and straight as possible, but don't be too hard on yourself, it's one of the trickiest things with patchwork, but it will come with practice. Good luck!

    I'm not sure what make your machine is, but some older machines you unscrew the centre of the flywheel (loosen, not remove!) to release the needle mechanism.

  2. Ditto everything Ali said! If you have any Scholl foot padding (sticky backed stuff) a strip of that stuck to your machine gives a great edge to help with the quarter inch seam (it will be higher than masking tape - I use this cos I need all the help I can get!)

    VERY impressed with how your seam junctions meet up.

  3. Nothing I can say that hasn't already been said. Oh, yes there is. About seam rippers - try to buy one with a non rolling about type, soft grip handle (I think Clover do one)as they're much more comfortable to use. Guess how I know that?

  4. Well done! With my small machine (Janome Jem) the wheel can be pulled out (grab the outside of the wheel and pull) which disengages the needle moving facility.

    I find the main thing with seams is to make them consistent. As long as all your seams are the same, it almost doesn't matter what they are. It's when you swap blocks with people that the quarter inch is vital. They show with finer fabrics but generally they don't with quilting stuff, but the convention is to press them towards the darker of the two fabrics.

    My two latest quilt tops (now waiting for the bloke to service the big machine so I can sandwich and quilt them) were made with the 2.5" strips you will have from your Jelly Rolls. I had one lot of actuall JR but the rest I cut. I'm really enjoying using these 2.5 x 4.5 rectangles. I used to be known for 9 patches (you can guess I go for the easy stuff!) but I'm branching out!

  5. D'oh - I've been working with 1/2" seams!!

    Now realisation has dawned and will be marking sewing machine base accordingly.

    I greatly appreciate all your expert input - advice you can't find in a book. Long live blogger!

    Oh, I found the needle disengage, too - now I know where to look. :)


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