Sunday, January 29, 2012
Postage Stamp Techniques
So after not doing very much so far this year, I decided to get back to making my postage stamp blocks. I was surprised when I saw my latest block next to my first test block. My first one is rubbish! It made me realise that I've adopted several techniques to make the block neater. It slows the process down, but I think it's worth it. I thought I would write them down so I remember.
The process I used was to sew two fabric panels together, press them flat with an iron then trim one edge to 3/4" from the seam. The process is then repeated by sewing another panel to the short bit of fabric and pressing and trimming that until you have 6 strips in total. Then I trim the starting edge. Hey presto you have a long strip of 6. I make 6 of these strip units then I begin to sew the strips together at the shortest edge and do the same pressing flat and trimming technique. I admit, I haven't tried it any other way, but it seems to work pretty well.
So that's the basic process. Here are the things that help with the accuracy.
Spray starch the fabric, starch thinner lawn fabrics twice.
Take time to cut the material accurately. It saves time later.
Consider the grain of the fabric. One side will have more give. I sewed the tighter grain together first so I could utilise the stretchier grain when I needed to pull and push seams to align.
Sew the seams in opposite direction.
Feel along the seams and line them up as you feed them through the machine.
Push and pull fabric to line up at the seams. Don't pull so much that the fabric warps though.
Use a 1/4 inch foot with a guard at the side.
Use the markings on the machine plate to guide in the fabric. Decide what mark to use and stick to it. (I have even practiced doing this to get it right).
Use a good ruler. A wide one allows you to make sure everything lines up.
Don't cut fabrics to the right width then sew them. Sew them, press flat, then trim them.
Don't put too much pressure on the iron and warp fabric. Take time to press it and do a little tugging to make seams straight.
Iron everything all the time. I just leave the iron on.
That's it so far. But I am only through 40 blocks out of about 80 I think.