My fellow adventurers, after only a few weeks you have already made it to the end of the Adventureland sew along! Yay! Phase 4 of our mission is sewing the large triangle blocks together and trimming the quilt top. I've seen some questions in the Suzy Quilts Patterns Facebook group about trimming so we will spend a lot of time talking about options and tips to help you feel confident when making those cuts.
Before jumping in, here's a recap of our schedule and sponsors one last time. Don't forget that from now until mid-May you can get 25% off longarm quilting on your Adventureland quilt from Trace Creek Quilting. You must mention this deal when filling out the info form. You can also get 25% off longarm quilting from Jenn B Quilts now through August if you use coupon code ADVENTURELAND!
Adventureland Sew Along Schedule
- Week 1, March 22: Pick fabric
Sponsor: Sewing Arts Center - $100 gift certificate
Sponsor: Emily Van Hoff - earring kit
- Week 2, March 29: Cut fabric
Sponsor: Cottoneer - Martha fabric fat quarter bundle
Sponsor: Jenn B Quilts - free longarm quilting on one throw quilt
- Week 3, April 5: Sew strips together
Sponsor: Global Fiber: Sprout wovens bundle (pre-order)
Sponsor: Bessie Pearl Textiles: $50 gift certificate
- Week 4, April 12: Assemble quilt top
Sponsor: Trace Creek Quilting: free longarm quilting on one quilt
Sponsor: Rifle Paper Co: Camont fat quarter bundle
If You Are New to Quilting...
The two skills to focus on this week are pinning and trimming. I will cover both in detail below. If you trim your quilt top and think, "Woah. That was cool." The Gather quilt pattern should be your next make. Trimming that quilt is a rush and I even have a video tutorial of me crawling around on the floor showing how to do it. Check out Week 7 of the Gather Quilt Sew Along.
Adventureland Quilt Sew Along Week 4: Assemble the Quilt Top
There are three things left to do, Quiltketeers, and then our mission is complete:
- Sew the large triangles to our strip units.
- Sew the four blocks together.
- Trim the quilt top.
Ready? Line 'em up and knock 'em down! First, sew those large triangles.
Tip #1: Lay out the entire quilt.
Sometimes the simplest patterns are the ones that trip us up the most because we forget to pay attention. Did I tell you that I had to seam rip half of my strip sets because I kept sewing them to the wrong strips? Here's a video as proof.
Lay out all of the pieces of your Adventureland quilt so that you know for sure you are sewing the triangles to the correct side of the strip units. Once your four blocks are complete, lay them out again so you know for sure you are sewing the blocks together correctly.
Tip #2: Now is the time to pin.
Last week when we sewed our strips together we had the option of tossing our pins aside. This week you will need to pick them back up. Those large triangles have a couple of stretchy bias edges which means you should handle them gently and pin, pin, pin.
I pin every few inches when sewing fabric that is cut on the bias. It's important to make this a NO STRETCH ZONE, people! So once my four blocks were sewn together I continued to pin when sewing those blocks to each other.
Tip #3: Use a fork pin or two pins to line up the center seam.
Do you remember fork pins from the Voyage sew along? We used them to make sure our seams lined up perfectly. If you don't have any fork pins on hand, you can create the same effect by placing straight pins on either side of the seam to lock it in place.
My sewing table is from Tracey's Tables, in case you were curious. I'm not sponsored by them in any way, I just lovie love LOVE my sewing table. It folds up and down and rolls around and looks quite pretty too!
Troubleshooting: My fabric is dimpling, what did I do wrong? Is this permanent?
We've talked about fabric dimples before on the blog and specifically during the New Horizons sew along. I personally think dimples are adorable, but the dimples you're wondering about are not located on sweet pudgy cheeks. No, these dimples are glaring at you after pressing, most likely after pressing with steam. Here's what's happening...
- Fabric dimpling will happen most often if your fabric was not pre-washed. If you used a jelly roll like me, your fabric wasn't pre-washed.
- These dimples usually occur after pressing with steam because your hot steamy iron caused your fabric to shrink and warp a little bit.
- These fabric dimples are not a problem. I repeat, they are fine and normal and everybody has them sometimes.
- Once your quilt is completely finished, washed and slightly crinkled from everything shrinking a little bit, the dimples will disappear completely.
Trimming Your Adventureland Quilt Top
Like I mentioned before, trimming the quilt top can evoke some nervousness because once you cut, you can't uncut. But do not fear! I have tips for anyone out there feeling scared about those final cuts.
Tip #4: Trim on the floor or on a large table.
If you can find a large flat surface for your trimming, that will help you trim the most accurately. You want to be able to lay an entire side of the quilt out flat. Crawling around on the floor is not possible for everyone, but if you have access to a dining room table or even a picnic table outside, that would do the trick.
Optional Tip #5: Gather up your quilting rulers or straight-edged items.
If you are a visual person and like to see the entire trimmed edge of your quilt before cutting, it's easy to do by butting up quilting rulers to each other to create a long straight edge. If you only have one quilting ruler you can also use the straight edge of books, cookie sheets, or a cutting board. Once you have your straight edge you can either draw a guideline or place a cutting mat underneath the quilt top and trim with your rotary cutter.
This tip is optional because if you use measuring tape and draw your guidelines before cutting, like I show below in Tip #6, you only need one ruler.
Troubleshooting: My strip units are a little short and don't line up with the base of my triangles. What do I do?
Sometimes the large triangles get cut slightly off or stretch a little bit. Sometimes our strip units aren't quite 42". That's no big deal! There is the option of adding a teeny bit more fabric to the short strip, however, I have another suggestion that will be easier and faster for you—use the bottom corner of your center strip as a guide and trim the corner of your quilt top there.
If that's not making sense, check out the picture below. My longest center strip is a 1/4" too short and doesn't line up with the edge of my base triangle. Now, I know that I could still trim it normally and assume the strip selvage would disappear in the 1/4" seam allowance, but what if my strip was a 1/2" too short or more?
With my long quilting ruler, I line up the perpendicular guide marks and draw my trim lines. Since this drawn line will get trimmed and covered with binding, you can use any marking tool, even one that is permanent.
Tip #6: Nervous about trimming? Draw guidelines around the entire quilt and then trim.
So yes, you can lay out your cutting mat, place the quilt top on your cutting mat, and trim away; however, if that makes you nervous, OR if you sew in a small space and cannot lay your entire quilt out, I suggest you measure with a tape measure and draw a guideline around the entire quilt top.
Once you have a guideline you can either take it to your cutting table and trim it with a ruler and rotary cutter, or you can trim the whole thing with scissors.
Do you see that I can even use the 45-degree guideline on my ruler to help me get this corner perpendicular? Now because my sewing was a 1/4" off I trimmed a 1/4" from the bottom of the triangles too.
I chose to draw guidelines around the entire quilt before trimming. That way nothing was permanently cut off until I knew it was correct. If you are feeling unsure about this trimming step, I recommend you do the same thing. This is what my corners look like with guidelines before trimming.
So here's the thing...there's math, and then there's quilt math. Math is 1 + 1 = 2. Quilt math is a bit more flexible. Sometimes 1 + 1 = 2, but sometimes 1 + 1 = 2.25 or even 1.875. Rather than stressing over getting it perfect, I like to chalk it off to fabric having a life of its own and no one will ever know if my quilt is 60" square or 58" square. You know?
Below you can see that once I trim my quilt top it will end up a little closer to 59.5" square.
Week 4 Sponsors & Prizes
One of our longtime favorite sponsors, Trace Creek Quilting, is back once again giving away free longarm quilting. We love sending our quilts to Lilo, the owner, because she has beautiful quilting designs and always provides quality service.
The second sponsor for a final week in the Adventureland sew along needs no introduction because I'm sure you already know and adore Rifle Paper Co. If you're new to this company you should know that they don't make just paper products. Ooooh no. They have a plethora of beautiful things you can purchase, one of those being quilting fabric. One lucky winner this week will get a full fat quarter bundle of Rifle's latest fabric collection, Camont.
How to Win
- Post a pic to Instagram. The photo prompt for Instagram this week is to post a picture of your finished quilt top. Your quilt top must be a throw or larger. Use #AdventurelandQuiltSA in the caption.
- You must have a public Instagram profile to participate.
- Each photo posted is an entry and you can enter as many times as you want in a single week. Once the week is over, those posts do not count in the next week's giveaway. Every week we start fresh.
- Your photo must be posted between Tuesday, April 12 and Tuesday, April 19. The winner will be picked randomly from all qualifying posts and announced at approximately 4:00 p.m. on the 12th. Good luck!