Monday, May 25, 2009
The Quilt Nazi and the perfect quarter-inch seam
I started quilting about three years ago. My friend Chris had been quilting and she had been doing a Stampin Up class at her house every month for a year. We were all kind of stamped out so she asked us if we would be interested in learning how to quilt. Spend money on yet another unlearned craft? Sure, where do I sign up?
Now, I have to admit, although I made a very nice pillow and apron in 7th grade Home EC class, I had not sewn much past a button or a seam since. I had a sewing machine that was collecting dust and figured this was a way to get some use out of it since I HAD to have it a few Christmases ago.
She started us out with an easy pattern. It was called Yellow Brick and was basically cutting Fat Quarters in smaller blocks then putting them together. We all agreed to do a Halloween quilt, this way Chris could just order a bolt of each and then cut our fabric for us.
There were five of us and none of us had ever made a quilt. I showed up with my little Brother sewing machine and high hopes. She had cut our fat quarters for us and walked us through cutting. Right away I had issues because I am left-handed and had to adjust the cutter so I didnt cut mine or my neighbors hand off. Once the cutting was done and we had all these beautiful piles of fabric the sewing began.
Chris showed us how to start putting our blocks together, fabric facing right sides together, lined up just so. "Now", she says, "Make sure you sew and leave just a quarter-inch seam." A quarter inch seam? That sounds easy enough. So we start sewing. A little shaky at first but OK I get the hang of it. Now she starts coming around and inspecting what we have sewn.
Now to get the right picture in your head, let me tell you about Chris. She is bigger girl, very pretty with short cropped blonde hair. She has a face that looks like your oldest friend. From the moment I met her I felt like I had known her a lifetime. On that particular day she is wearing a tape measure around her neck and bifocals on the bride of her nose. She looks at my squares then looks at me over the top of her glasses and says "Um, we might have a problem here." Problem? What problem? Well turns out that I don't have clue what a quarter-inch seam is and neither do some of the other girls. Chris now introduces us to the most evil tool a quilter can own: A Seam Ripper. She made us rip out our seams and start again.. Then again...again some more.
By the end of the day she had earned the moniker Quilt Nazi and we knew what a quarter inch was! Believe me, by the end of this process I had become quite close with my seam ripper and was thankful Chris was so keen on details because if not I would have had some issues down the road with seams coming apart and holes in my quilt.