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I would put this in the techniques category but the discussion board is not giving me the option.
Anywho....I am a novice quilter and am often frustrated with my inability to get consistent accurate points in my blocks. I think that sometimes perhaps my cutting is off and sometimes maybe its my 1/4 inch seams. Or perhaps I'm pulling my fabric out of whack when I press the seams. Does anyone have any advice to help me get accurate, clean, sharp points?

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Paper piecing is the only way I've ever been able to get consistent points out of ANY pattern...but I tend to be a sloppier freehander than I should be. When you cut your pieces, you need to be extra careful and don't try to cut too many layers at the same time. Hold your ruler down TIGHT when rotary cutting too.

It's also a good idea to measure to be sure that you are actually getting a 1/4 inch seam. Put your needle in the "down" position and with a ruler you know is accurate, measure out from your needle 1/4 inch and place a piece of tape on your sewing machine that extends from the front to the back at that exact line. That way, when you feed your pieces through the needle, you can track the seam all the way across the piece without one end of your seam being smaller or larger because it shifted during the stitching process.

You can also mark your top piece with a faint 1/4 inch line before sewing so you stay on track and PIN PIN PIN those little pieces together. I HATE doing it and I always think that I can hold them firmly enough to keep them straight myself, but I am ALWAYS wrong no matter how hard I try.

Good luck!
Exactly right on cutting....and make sure your strip is straight - use a large 90 degree triangle placed on the fold to square your yardage. Cut one strip and open it up. If it's not straight you'll see a "V" or wobble in the edge of the cut piece - if you have alot of strips to cut, check your strips periodically as you go.

I hope I'm describing this correctly, but there are a rediculous # of strip piecing books on the market or online you can check out. I also take time to pin at least once on each end - there are alot of strip piecers who say this method eliminates pinning, but it's the most accurate way to go.

My biggest problem is that I want to get the pieces cut fast so I can start sewing - you'd think after quilting for 35 years and being a teacher, I'd kown better, but I'm also an impatient multitasker - can't be happy unless I'm working on too many things at once!

Good Luck!
There's a new set of trimmers from Fons & Porter to use for trimming triangle corners before sewing. They add more time to your cutting, but they worked for me. Work on "nesting" your seams, pin at intersections and measure that first set of seams to double-check for the 1/4 " accuracy. Start sewing on a scrap of fabric first (doubled to two layers); put that under your presser foot first, then butt your strip piecing right up to it. These steps work! It may seem that it's all going to be more time consuming than it's worth, but you'll have good results and won't have to spend time ripping out and re-sewing. Best of all, you won't feel you have to apoligize for your points when a more experienced quilter sees your quilt. (Been there, done that!)
I agree with Rebecca the system she describes has worked well for me. I would only add set your seams on the wrong side with a dry iron and flip to the right side iron only once with a dry iron. I used to iron with steam thinking it would give me a sharp joint but it only stretched the fabric.
ME TOO! Julie me too. I try to be so careful and it seems that no matter what I do my block are ALWAYS askiew .I will watch this discussion carefully
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH !!! I just responded to Judy's post under "Books, patterns, tools, batting" thread (She posted "New to group") about a product I saw demonstrated yesterday at my LQS. It was called "Quilt Smart" and is a fusible web PATTERN system that comes with the piecing patter, sequence and information already printed right on it! You just cut out your pieces and then follow the instructions on the webbing! It shows you where to place, fold, iron and then stitch your pieces together and I'm telling you, her seams were perfect and flat and lined up like nothing I've ever seen. She had a wedding ring quilt sample there and a Lone Star one (with a few others) and the Lone Star one was not only stunningly accurate, but the entire thing laid flat and had no bulk towards the centers or anything! And she said she completed the Lone Star quilt-start to finish in ONE WEEKEND! Blew me away...

Basically it was the coolest "cheater" system I've ever seen BUT the results look completely hand pieced for that traditional, high quality look that I had given up hope could actually be faked!
I started my TWO quilts I spent a great amount of time meticulously cutting each piece accurately. marker ,rotary cutter, rulers, cutting mat, scissiors. I started with the A cut and went then B... when I was done I realized there had to be a simpler way...I scanned over the first 4 blocks and realized, at least in the first 4 (And looking at the picture it might apply to all) that there are basicly only 5 different cuts.. so I got out Card stock ( that was all I had) and made templates.

I labeled them 1 - 5 with the measurements written on each one next to the number. That was all that I needed was just 5
( #1 ...2 1/2" square.///..#2...2 1/2. x 4".....////.#3...4 3/8 sq ..made a note on template that in needed to be cut once on the diagonal after template was removed...////.#4 2 5/8" sq with same note as on #3 .////...#5..4" sq)

Next I took the #1block sheet and listed A -FABRIC.....template, 1...B fabric template 2, C fabric,.template #3 ..etc. I repeated this with block sheets two throught 4. ( no additional templates needed)
I took one of Paula's little 4 piece piles already sorted.............
THEN I CUT ! AND WOW did it go smooth and sooooooooo much faster.

then I turned my templates over to Courtney, made Janet (jbugley a set and sent them off with her fabric.

This method just seemed logical to me and I hope maybe it will help some of you. BLESSING ON YOU AND YOUR SCISSORS AS YOU CUT Ssmittee
For the life of me I cannot sew a straight seam, so I bought a 1/4 inch quilting foot with a guide on it. Oh my! Does it work good! My seams are now always exactly 1/4 inch and I can finally sew faster as I have more confidence in straight seams. Also, be careful when cutting, and when pressing. I have to be so careful there, because it does distort the fabric, and I always pin, pin, pin. (I do like paper piecing too, it;s always accurate)
ME too. I cannot tell how many blocks I have pitched because it was all messed up.I am good with the first 5 stitches but thats my limit...I have heard about the quilting foot but figured I could STILL sew crooked with it...but after reading your comments, by golly I am going to give it a try BIG THANKS

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