30 January 2014

Machine Piecing

I have a very nice Bernina sewing machine :) but we are not best friends :( this is something I want to rectify this year. I normally prefer to hand piece small intricate blocks and save machine work for long easy straight piecing, but as I am meant to be challenging myself this year! I decided to machine piece the first two blocks of Green Tea & Sweet Beans.
I started by making a template from the pattern in the book, using clear plastic so I could fussy cut if possible...
I then rotary cut the pieces using my small cutter and adding the 1/4" seam allowance as I cut...
I trimmed the dog ears from the triangles - this helps every thing line up nicely...
Laid out the pieces on my board...
And machine pieced them together  - one 6" Wedding Chain Block no problems :)
Flushed with success I decided to tackle the 3 1/4" Propeller Blocks next, Hmm not so good! I measured the finished units and they were 1/16" too big, so I had to trim them all, not a problem but I am glad I took the trouble to check, 1/16" seems trivial but if I had sewn all 16 together and then measured I would have been a whole 1" out - major headache when it comes to putting the quilt top together!
Once they were all trimmed, I had no problem piecing the block. I need to take extra care when making and cutting out templates, it is really easy to cut just outside your pen line resulting a piece that is only a hairs width too big, but that error gets compounded very quickly in these small blocks with lots of pieces.
I am still happily hand piecing the hexagon panel in the evenings, I am making 1" hexagons, but the pattern in the book calls for 1 1/4" - no real problem, I just need to make a few extra, the block has to be trimmed to size at the end, so fingers crossed all will be well!


  1. Thank you for the inspiration with the pattern Green Tea & Sweet Beans. I've had the pattern for awhile but couldn't settle on fabric choices. Your work has encouraged me to get started. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your progress.

  2. You're off to a flying start. Love the fabrics you've chosen

  3. I love how you are using your hand piecing skills to perfect your machine piecing. I am not a good piecer, but I think I would love to learn to hand piece. I turned to applique to make quilting more enjoyable.

  4. Well done your blocks are looking great !!!

  5. Great design, Love how they look sort of like a pinwheel!

  6. Looks fantastic! The whole measuring and cutting thing is my weakness. Ugh.