It's the FINAL week of the New Horizons sew along! You did it! You did it!! And even if you're still technically on week 3 or even week 1, you deserve a pat on the back. I'm giving myself multiple pats on the back because throughout this sew along I had only so much time during the day so I had to choose between sewing and clean laundry for my family and as you can see each week I chose sewing and I'm standing by that choice! haha!
There are a couple main takeaways here in this final week. The first is to do whatever it takes to keep that 1/4" seam allowance along the perimeter of your quilt top during the trimming process. The second takeaway is to let small mistakes slide. I'll show you some photo examples of mistakes I made this week. Some of them were large enough that I had to get my seam ripper out, but others were minor enough that I didn't need to worry about fixing them.
New Horizons Sew Along Schedule
- Week 1, June 30 - Sponsor Fabric Stork: Pick fabric and gather supplies
- Week 2, July 7 - Sponsor Global Fiber Textiles and Notions: Cut fabric
- Week 3, July 14 - Sponsor Saltwater Fabrics: Make HST and stitch-and-flip blocks
- Week 4, July 21 - Sponsor Trace Creek Quilting: Assemble blocks
- Week 5, July 28 - Sponsor Lamb & Loom Fabrics: Assemble rows
- Week 6, August 4 - Sponsor Sewing Arts Center + custom longarm quilting for a throw New Horizons quilt from Evanston Quilt Company: Sew rows together and trim the finished quilt top
Don't forget that the only way to enter to win a prize from our weekly sponsor is to use #NewHorizonsQuiltSA on Instagram AND have a public profile. If you only have a private profile, you can create a public one just for this sew along and then delete it afterwards.
Week 6: Sew Rows Together & Trim the Finished Quilt Top
Tip #1: Lay out your rows.
Just like last week my first tip is to lay as much out as you can. Especially if you are a visual person, this will help keep the rows in order.
Tip #2: Rough cut your sashing according to the diagrams in the pattern.
You can see in the photos below that 1.) Joanna is the most adorable sewing cheerleader ever and 2.) I am laying out my long sashing strip, then cutting it down according to the throw diagram on page 14 of the pattern.
Tip #3: Trim off seams when you can.
In a couple places my sashing ended right before a seam. Since I know I'll have some extra sashing and also a little extra background fabric if needed (which you shouldn't), I'm trimming off this section of my sashing just so I have fewer seams running through it. This isn't necessary, but it's something you can do.
Last week when we were assembling our rows, I made a note that you can wait to trim off your dog ears (those pointy triangles hanging out.) In the photo below you can see that I lined up my sashing strip and will sew right over that dog ear. Once everything is pressed and ready for the final trimming, those dog ears get cut off.
What was that? You wanted another photo of JoJo? 😉
And here I have all of my sashing strips cut and ready for the next step.
Tip #4: Follow the diagrams when sewing the sashing strips.
This may seem like an obvious one, but don't just sew these sashing strips to your rows willy nilly. They should be sewn to certain rows first and then sewn together. This is so the sashing hangs over in the correct places so you'll have enough when the time comes for trimming.
Basically just follow the pattern.
Tip #5: Line up the blocks when sewing the rows together.
Again, I'm sure this is something you were already going to do, but I wanted to show you some detailed shots of how I do it. First I place my rows on top of each other, right sides together. I then line up the blocks in each row. Once those are lined up I gently shimmy the top row up or down so that the edges of both rows line up.
Once I know that those seams are lined up, I pin. I will do that at all main block "intersections" then go back and fill in some pins in between the blocks to keep the two rows nicely in place.
We're tired, distracted, the baby's crying (Not Joanna of course. She never cries! ;)) – whatever the reason, we all make mistakes. You can see below that I accidentally sewed my corner row too high because I lined it up in the wrong spot.
As much as I like to let mistakes slide, this one needed to be fixed because it was going to cause big issues during the trimming process.
Tip #6: Make sure to maintain a 1/4" seam allowance when trimming the quilt top.
Fudge everything else, but try your hardest to keep your blocks looking like this during the trimming process...
To get that, line up the 1/4" mark on your ruler with the tip of the block.
Once I have trimmed one side, I line up the horizontal side of my ruler with the trimmed edge and then move the ruler around to line up the untrimmed side, keeping that 1/4" mark on the block tips if I can. Err on the side of a larger seam allowance when trimming.
I used a stretchier woven fabric for my background which meant I would just have to be ok with things not lining up perfectly. Below you can see that I'm trimming off some of the side-setting triangle while trimming my edge.
Minor Mistakes Don't Need Fixing
Below you can see that to maintain my 1/4" seam allowance from the block tip there is a small section of the edge that does not line up with my ruler. What's a girl to do?? As long as I have at least a 1/8" seam allowance in that scant area, I'll be fine. When I sew my binding I can curve in a little bit if I'm worried the seam is getting too narrow.
In this case, I went ahead and trimmed.
Bigger Mistakes Do Need Fixing
Remember that corner row I sewed incorrectly? Well the moment I discovered my mistake, Joanna woke up from a nap. Instead of waiting to gently rip the seams, re-press, pin and sew, I thought, "Oh I can fix this in just a minute. Hang on little JoJo!"
Well...below is the result. I ended up stretching my fabric, not pinning very well and creating a row that is almost a 1/2" off. Oops!
In this case, the mistake is large enough that it would cause structural problems with the quilt and end up as a hole. No thanks! I ripped it out again, gently stretched the fabric in place, pinned and re-sewed.
It's still not "perfect" but it's good enough and I'm still able to have the 1/4" seam allowance from the block point, plus I don't have to worry about getting a hole in my quilt after the first washing.
Once your quilt top is finished, don't just admire the front, flip it over and marvel at your handiwork from the back! You cut, pressed and sewed each one of those seams – way to go, you!
Oh! If you were wondering if I would fix the block that I accidentally sewed upside down, you can find your answer below. Like I said, I'm all about letting minor mistakes slide. 😉
I hope you enjoyed sewing along with me! I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments!
Week 6 Sponsor & Prize
Since this is the final week of the New Horizons sew along we have a HUGE grand prize package to offer ONE WINNER! Sewing Arts Center, your one-stop-shop for the best in all things sewing related, is giving away a $100 gift certificate AND Evanston Quilt Company is giving away CUSTOM longarm quilting on your finished throw New Horizons quilt. Isn't that amazing!!?
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. To officially enter this week your quilt top must be at least as large as a throw and completely finished. Use #NewHorizonsQuiltSA 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 Wednesday, August 4 and Tuesday, August 10. The winner will be picked randomly from all qualifying posts and announced at approximately 4:00 p.m. CST on Tuesday, August 10.
JoJo says bye and see you in the next sew along!