A Sewing Tip

Friday, December 6, 2013

Here's a little tip I wanted to share for those that are too lazy don't like to draw lines on fabric, like me! I admit, I would rather sew than write, and picking up a pen to draw a line to sew on is an extra step I'd rather avoid doing. Yep, I AM that lazy :)

On my sewing machine, I have used a very thin permanent marker to draw a line that marks the center of my needle out to the edge of my sewing table. I use this guide all the time. If I'm sewing half square triangle-type shapes, I will move my needle one position to the left or one position to the right, depending on the direction the triangle will be pressed (below my needle is one position to the left).

I line the corner square points up with the needle hole and the line on the bed of my machine and off I go. As I start sewing onto the fabric (below) the needle is a tad off center, which is just where I want it to be so when I trim the triangle and press open, I get a nicely shaped unit, not too big and not too small, almost perfect (my sewing is never 100% perfect, I'm a close is good enough for me kinda girl!).

As you can see above, I'm nearing the end of the triangle and the point of the square is lined up with the line on the bed of my machine, but my needle is not in alignment with the line, it is shifted slightly to the left, just where I want it to be. I was able to sew 200 units like this in about an hour. If I had to draw a line on each square fabric, it would have easily doubled my time, and I can't follow a line when I sew to save my life anyway! I find it easier to look ahead to keep the square point aligned with the mark on the bed of my machine. It's kinda like walking on the balance beam when you are 8 … the instructor always told me, took at the END of the beam, not where your feet are, and it works! Not that I could walk on a balance beam at my age, no matter where I look. LOL

Here's what my units look like using this trick. I will trim, set my seam with a hot iron and press open, and I don't have to pull and stretch on my fabric to get my block to measure exact because I've left a little "extra wiggle room" to account for the fold in the fabric that happens when you set a seam, then open and press the block. One wonderful thing I've learned since longarming and doing stitch in the ditch (SID), the SID comes out much nicer and is easier to control when the piecer hasn't stretched open a seam in places like these. It's a little harder to SID when the fabric is stretched and the threads are a bit exposed.

I love the way this works for me, but what works for me may not work for you. I just wanted to share :)

After cutting all my pieces this morning, I realized that I could have used the Easy Angle ruler to cut triangles from my 2 inch strips and save some fabric! I will remember it for the next time. Below are pics of the few triangles I did cut using the 2 inch strips and the Easy Angle. Same method of sewing a hair off to the right or left and using the line on the bed of my machine to line up the points of the triangles. I think using the finished 
1-1/2 inch HST die from Accuquilt would work too but I'm not certain as I didn't try it.

A pair of neutrals.

And pairs of yellows.

Positioning them on the fabric is a bit of a pain if you are at all easily confused like I can be at times.

This is the way the yellows are positioned and then sewn.

Trim, press, and add the neutrals as shown below, and sew and trim and press those too.

The finished unit.

Happy sewing!



  1. I really like the idea of using the Easy Angle Ruler to cut the triangles from the 2" strips. Yesterday EVERY time I trimmed away the excess, I thought, what a waste of fabric! Since I haven't finished cutting all of my 2" squares out yet (halfway there!), I will definitely use my Easy Angle Ruler today.

    Thanks for a great tip!

  2. I really like that Easy Angle Ruler as well - problem is I forget to use it before I've got all my pieced cut . . . I will put it front and centre from now on! I also don't like drawing that line - so I also have marked my machine like you - works for me! Thanks for sharing!

  3. great idea to use the easy angle ruler if you are tight on fabric. But you won't get all those tiny bonus HSTs for a future project. I haven't finished cutting all the step 1 blues yet... so I've got some time to decide which way to go!
    hm in tn

  4. Nice tip about drawing the line. Any suggestions on how to get the line ON one's machine bed? I can't seem to get the ruler aligned correctly to draw a proper line. Thank you


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