Make a Display: Working with Small Pieces
HI, I'm Lindsay from Quilts & More! For everyone sewing the Make a Display quilt, we wanted to share some tips to get you started! This quilt is considered a mini quilt, finishing at only 20" square. And some of the pieces we're working with are cut at 1" square – and that's pretty tiny! There are some special considerations to take when working with small pieces like in this quilt, so we wanted to share a few tips for getting great results no matter how small the pieces are.
Tip 1: Choose fabrics carefully. You'll see in this quilt that the fabrics are a mix of solids and small prints. When we're cutting small pieces, we want to make sure we can see the print of the fabric and also the colors of the print accurately. Some large-scale prints, novelty prints, or fabrics with a lot of colors may not look right once we've cut them down to a small size and pieced them together.
Tip 2: Scale-down your tools. Many times it's easiest to work with small pieces when our tools were made for the job. So consider subbing out your rulers, rotary cutter, iron, and other common tools for small ones, which handle tony pieces more delicately and accurately than the larger versions.
Tip 3: Starch your fabrics. Now I'm not a starcher usually, but for those tiny pieces, I'll bring out the bottle. Starch helps your fabric keep its shape and makes it a little stiffer, so you can cut and sew small pieces a little easier.
Tip 4: Set up your machine. When you're working with small pieces, any variations in seam allowance can really add up. To get the most accurate ¼" seam, try using a ¼" foot with a guide on your machine and swapping your throat plate for the straight stitch plate if you have them. The straight stitch plate is a handy tool for sewing small pieces. Because it's doesn't have the wide hole that allows for the needle's swing for specialty stitches, there's less of a chance for those small pieces to get sucked down into the machine when sewing. There's nothing worse than your machine eating the corner of your pieces as you sew. Sewing with a leader and ender strip can help with that, too!
Tip 5: Sew for success. Small pieces have less fabric to catch in your stitches, so you may want to shorten your stitch length a little. That way, your stitches catch the pieces a little more often to hold them tight. And if you're worried about your fingers getting in the way of sewing or not having enough fabric to hold to confidently guide the pieces through the machine, try using a stiletto, which allows you to hold pieces tight as you push pieces through the machine.
We hope these tips help you sew easily and accurately with those small pieces. For more info on the Make a Display spring sew-along, visit our website at AllPeopleQuilt.com/MakeaDisplay.