Pumpkin Picking Quilt-Along: Weeks 2-4 Tips
Weeks 2-4 of the 2020 Quilts & More Quilt-Along starts on 8/24. The assignment is to make small blocks. Below you'll find some helpful tips for sewing the small blocks. See more about the Quilt-Along here.
I want to mix and match the small blocks to personalize my quilt! How can I do that?
As we shared last week, since the small blocks are all the same size, you can swap them out to customize your quilt. The original quilt pattern has small blocks in stars, leaves, and pumpkins. We also have alternate designs available for an acorn and cat. In total, you'll need 19 small blocks (2 center blocks for top and bottom rows, 6 top row blocks, 6 bottom row blocks, and 5 blocks to become centers of Large Star Blocks).
If you choose to switch up the pattern, we've created a handy cutting list for each block. Don't cut fabrics based on the Cut Fabrics section on the pattern -- instead use this cutting list to cut the number of pieces for each of the blocks you're choosing to make.
For instructions for the cat and acorn blocks, see this free online pattern. You'll follow diagrams 4-12 as needed.
Getting a 1/4" seam is important for sewing small pieces. How do I get consistent seams?
Maintaining an accurate seam allowance is essential to assembling this quilt properly. If your seams aren't accurate, the pieces may not line up correctly. See 10 tips for getting a perfect 1/4" seam here. If you have a 1/4" presser foot, this is a great time to use it. If you don't have a 1/4" presser foot, you can make your own 1/4" guide with masking or washi tape. See the process of making your own seam guide here.
How can I save time and thread while piecing all these small units?
Try chain piecing! It's the process of feeding pairs of pieces under the machine needle without lifting the presser foot or breaking thread. You can see a video of this technique here.
What's the best thread color to use for piecing this quilt?
If you're using a light background like a white or cream, pick a light thread color like white, cream, or gray -- it will blend in with all colors of fabric without showing through your light prints.
Any pressing tips? I don't want to distort my small pieces of fabric!
1. Set Your Seams: Before pressing a seam open or to one side, first just press the seam as it was sewn, without opening up the fabric pieces. Doing so helps meld or sink the stitches into the fabric, leaving you with a less bulky seam allowance after you press it open or to one side.
2. Keep It Straight: Straight seams should be pressed from the right side of the fabric with the iron parallel to the straight of grain. This helps avoid pressing tucks and pleats into the seam.
3. Don't Drag: Make sure you're pressing (setting the iron down then lifting it up completely before moving it to the next section) instead of ironing. If you drag the iron across the strips sets, it may cause distorted fabrics.
How do I keep track of all these units?
If you're cutting all your pieces for the small blocks at once, stay organized by labeling and sorting pieces by block. You can keep your pieces in neat piles or use small plastic bags to keep fabrics and units organized until all your small blocks are sewn together.
Any extra tips if I'm struggling with a certain type of unit?
Of course! Click the links below for some extra help!