I so want to quilt, however everytime I try, the trash gets something new. I can't seem to keep straight or square and get frustrated and start over and over and over. Have tried many patterns, but then I get stuck and can't get out of my own way.

Any ideas on a quilt that is easy to keep square and still looks pretty? I thought of the quilt in a day, and have tried patterns from easy quilts, but still gettting frustrated. I have one on my table now that is about ready for the trash. Should be squares, but they do not mathc. Then I go to measure and am not sure what to do next. So, I am getting ready to start again.

Frustrated, but still trying!

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Replies to This Discussion

Hello Denise, 

Please try not to be so frustrated.  My first quilts were not pretty, but they did help me to learn and get better.  I still get a little better with every project.  If you are having trouble matching seams, check to be sure you are sewing an accurate 1/4" seam.  Sew your seam, and then measure it with a ruler.  If you are not sewing accurate 1/4" seams, your blocks will not come together correctly.  

Also, I have a free Star Block of the month tutorial series on my blog.  Each block takes you step by step with pictures through the process.  You may want to check it out.  Here is the link:  Star Block of the Month Tutorials

I hope this helps.  Have a super day!

Thanks - I will have to try the blog. Seems I may have come to the right place..

Denise, There is a lot of great advice and good friendships to be had here at MyQuiltPlace.  I really enjoy it.

Hi Denise!

I can TOTALLY relate to your frustration.  I started 7 years ago and was teaching myself through books, etc. I kept reading how everything HAD to be perfectly precise and I started to feel (and still do many times) that I am complete idiot when it comes to getting my cutting & piecing to square up.  Like you I've tossed a lot of stuff. I made 3 quilts back then and even machine quilted them myself.  They were NOT precise I promise you...I wasn't terribly happy with them because I could see all of the imperfections...but you know what?  We are the only ones judging our stuff so harshly.  Should we TRY to do better...of course!! But PLEASE stop throwing your stuff away, just keep going.  Square up your quilt blocks best you can as you go and then just try to square up the quilt itself before you add the borders and binding. Just try to enjoy the process of creating.  Once I have started to LET GO of the snooty/persnickety/has to be absolutely perfect mind-set, I started to enjoy it more...I've been on a quilting binge lately.  I joined a guild full of wonderful folks who are all so happy to help me, we have tons of workshops...and you know what?  Many of these ladies have the exact same issues we do from time to time. Just relax...you are NOT alone and you WILL get better, but you have stop tossing your stuff in the trash!  HAHA

I've found that its not my piecing, but my CUTTING that is often less than precise, so I'm working VERY hard on that aspect and just bought new rulers that are CLEAR on the edges...my old rulers all had a darker edge that made it difficult for me to see whether I had the fabric measured and lined up better when I cut.   For Christmas my husband gave me the Sizzix Fabi machine with some quilting dies that I can use for some things in order to get precise cutting...AccuQuilt makes one too.

Check your quarter inch seam on your machine and mark it somehow and if you have a quarter inch piecing foot for your machine these are great to help with sewing a straight/true 1/4" seam.

Best of Luck to you!!!  Happy Quilting

Debbie is right! if it is not perfect do not toss out !!!!  you will have a record of your first attempts! also when my cousin first started she took classes and her teacher told her this: take the GALLOPING HORSE view of things .....if you can't see the mistakes while galloping past it on a horse, then don't worry about it!  lolololol.  precision will come later.

Carla I love this!! My grandmother always said that about little mistakes..."You'll never notice it on a galloping horse!"  

lol, it must have been a popular saying at one point in time :)

Denise, first of all CONGRADULATIONS on wanting to become a unique group of people who make heirlooms!

the best thing I can tell you is to learn, learn, learn.........from MQP, from u-tube and from your computer just look up how to make a quilt.....there are tons of great tutorials out there for begginers on! and lastly GET A REALLY GOOD BOOK! my favorite is Better Homes And Gardens Complete Guide To Quilting. it is a fantastic tool. also the quilting bible is another good one. start with something easy so you don't take on too much at once. even a simple bunch of squares  can turn out really lovely. once you learn a few techniques you will be surprised how nice your pieces will go together.

when I first started I had no sewing experience at all. I had no clue about seam allowances and all so I would make a block and then when  I trimmed it I always ended up cutting off the seam allowance because I thought I was making it ''straight''  there was not a pointed ANYTHING in my first couple - especially stars... my were all blunt ! lolol  I cut them all off! time and trial are your best friends. use them and you will come to love the quilting world.

Carla makes a great point...don't square up to the point you are cutting away your seam allowances!! ... and my first quilts didn't have many pointed anythings either!!  

Hi Denise,
I started quilting a couple of years ago, but have been sewing forever. I have trouble with my squares matching up as well! Part is my cutting, part is my sewing. I got a 1/4" foot which helps greatly!
My quilt guild calls me Ms. OCD and tell me all the time to let go!! It doesn't have to be perfect! I am still working on that, and realize that it's a lot more fun when I do let it go and just sew.
If you take a quilt that you really love and admire, and think about why you do, it will help you understand, that it is probably not about the seams and perfect matching that you love. It's the color, the feel, the memory of a grandmother, etc. that made it. Some of the blocks may look bad if they were separate from the others, but together, it's a beautiful thing! It all works together to create a unique work of art!
And you are braver than me to quilt your own!! I tried a pillow top and that was bad enough, so kudos to you for attempting a quilt.
One more thing, maybe try making smaller things before you jump into quilts. Hot pads, pillows, doll blankets, (save them for your children, or grands!) baby blankets, (save them, too!) You get the picture. That way you can practice and not be overwhelmed by a large project. And many years down the road, your grands or great-grands can say, look, my grandmother made this as one of her first attempts at quilting!!
Sorry this is so long, but I am passionate about quilting and helping those as others have helped me.
I was looking around on the internet and found this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUNGH9B0Ohw
It makes a chevron quilt using 10" squares. You could use 5" squares and make one smaller. It an easy way to make a cute quilt, fast!

Denise, I recently added some write-ups on my Blog about rotary cutting that might be helpful to you. You can link to my page through my name & look at them.

Do NOT be hard on yourself as a beginner. I made 3-4 quilts before I started figuring out how to get pieced units to come out close to square. Then I did a LOT of reading & took several classes (& eventually started teaching) before I found ways to usually get my square units to match at the corners, then even more to get the points on my triangles stitched in the right place.

Here are a few of my tips about sewing things together. I usually am as careful as possible in cutting & piecing my square units (or larger blocks), but they NEVER come out perfectly square. Usually my square units end up just a little too small, leaving less than 1/4" seam allowances in some spots. Then when I really want the corners to match perfectly, I use extra effort in sewing these squares together into rows. (I prefer to avoid trimming the units down into smaller sized squares.) I use a Dritz mechanical pencil with 0.9 mm ceramic leads (called a Tailor's Marking Set) to mark the finished square (w/o seam allowances) on the back side of each square unit. Then I pin 2 adjacent units together very carefully, matching the corners of the drawn squares first, then pinning along the side seam lines. Match the drawn seam lines with each other while pinning, ignoring where the edge of each fabric unit falls. It is the drawn seam lines that need to match up when you sew the 2 squares together!

I know, this is tedious. But I have found it to be much easier than repeatedly stitching a seam and then having to either restitch it or rip it out and try again. If I am very careful, I can often get the units or blocks to match up on the first try! That is worth some extra effort on the front end - at least to me.

Keep in mind that cotton fabric has stretch in it, a natural result of the weaving process. The crosswise grain stretches more than the lengthwise grain, and the true bias stretches the most of all. Spray starch can help control some of this stretching, so long as you are not using fusibles on the fabric (like for applique). But the natural stretch in the fabric will always make it challenging to keep the fabric in the desired shape & size, particularly if you are trying to work with cut triangles. When piecing shapes into triangles, I try to use methods that allow me to cut & sew squares together, then cut them into units that look like triangles after I have already sewn along the bias. This is much easier than cutting triangles first, then trying to stitch along the stretchy bias edge.

Best wishes! Monica


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