How to Make a Pressing Board for Quilting

Quilting pressing board

If you’re into quilting, you know that there are so many things that can help the whole experience run smoother, whereas the results can be better.

The pressing board is one of the tools within the category, and no experience quilter is going to disagree.

Why building your pressing board important?


You don’t realize the difference there is between the regular ironing board and the one specially designed for pressing your quilt until you’ve tried both. Classic ironing boards feature a thick foam pad that is going to wiggle and squish as you’re applying the hot iron.

It also means that, when using a traditional ironing board, the fabric is going to move along with it and shift as you’re pressing on the ironing board. When you’re preparing the material for your quilting, using a pressing board is going to give far better results. A quilting pressing board provides a robust press and doesn’t alter the fabric in any way.

You need to starch and press fabric for stiffening the surface of the pressing board. You can bond the starch to the fabric fibers. When using a pressing board, the material is going to stay in place, as the starch remains bonded with the fabric and not with your pressing board or the iron.

You also need a quilting pressing board for pressing the pieced units (half square triangles or geese that can alter the fabric, shifting it against the slipping surface). When you’re using any method of applique, the pressing board is essential for the accuracy of your projects.

What are the benefits of building a quilting pressing board?

There are many good things related to a customized pressing board for quilting:

  • It’s easy and cheap

Regardless of what one may think, building a board requires necessary materials that you can find in any hardware store. You can also find pre-cut wood in a hardware store, eliminating the need for shopping for a big piece of plywood that you have to cut down on your own at home.

  • It’s durable

Even a cheap ironing board is going to take use for a reasonable amount of time. Some can also last for years. You may have to change the canvas after some time but simply because the colors wear out and lose the beautiful colors.

  • It provides the firm surface you need

Having a durable and stable coating is essential for pressing fabric, and the pressing table is what you need for your quilting.

  • You make one perfect for your precise needs

You can create an ironing board that has the size and shape you need. You can have a large board for pressing yardage and also a smaller one for the smaller projects. And now that you’re building make one for your traveling for a quilting workshop.

What’s the easiest way to make a pressing board for quilting?

It’s vital that you gather the materials you need for this project:

  • A couple of pieces of batting. It has to be larger than your plywood board
  • A piece of plywood- get the size and shape you need
  • A portion of fabric for the outer part of the pressing board. again, it’s up to you which one
  • A staple gun with some staples.

You should look for a beautiful space on the floor where you can put everything you need within reach.

Let’s check the steps to take too:

  • Fold the batting around the plywood board. use the staple gun for stapling it down
  • Lay the fabric for the outer part, making sure that the right side is down facing. Staple the folded top section to the board.
  • Continue with folding the bottom part of the fabric. It’s essential that you pull it tight, but don’t exaggerate. You also need to staple it to the board.
  • Fold the sides over, tucking them under and don’t stop stapling.

Some suggestions

As it’s your pressing board, you can try all sorts of ways for designing and building it. No matter which way you choose, take a look at some general guidelines:

  • You should use a 100%cotton duck as it has a good grip. You can prewash it for shrinking as pressing is going to imply a lot of steaming (you want to stay safe).  Remember to take it out of the dryer before it’s scorched.
  • Use 100% cotton for the batting, but only one layer of it. It’s the surface where you’re going to work, so make sure it’s not too soft for pressing.

Some fabrics come with a 3% shrinkage rate (it depends on the materials) after your quilt is done and washed. Some manufacturers don’t recommend prewashing of the batting before you use it for the quilt. The duck is going to keep everything in place, so stapling may not even be necessary.

Many are also using the spray adhesive, but it’s again about whatever floats your boat. If you like working with it, you should give it a go. You may still control the batting only with the use of the wood and the duck, though.

One straightforward method for the newbies out there

If you’re looking for a lighter and more portable pressing board, you can easily use a piece of foil covered insulation. Cut it 4ft by 18-20” (again, you can decide on the size you need). You can take it with you wherever you go, setting it on the counter. It’s a firm surface to work on.

Don’t forget that the best part about making your quilting pressing board is making it the size you need, width and length included.

When you’re using a lot of starch in your piecing, you know that the top layer of cotton of the pressing board isn’t going to do it. You can fix it by adding another layer of cotton duck over the first one or remove it when you’re not happy with the results anymore. An extra layer of muslin on top can be a reliable solution too.

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How to Fix Quilting Mistakes

How to Fix Quilting Mistakes

Quilting is a lot of fun, and if you have the skills and patience, you should always make time for it. One of the significant challenges when quilting is having to deal with a mistake. Can you fix it? Is it common for quilters to mistake any now and then?

Fortunately for you, quilters are always making some mistakes, and even the most experienced ones do have to fix things at times. Without any further ado, let’s see some of the most common errors and their fixes, for the obvious reasons.

You run out of fabric

We’re only humans, and even if you’re run your measurements twice, you somehow end up with not having enough material for your quilt top.

  • What’s the fix?

Why not check the free tools out there? A popular calculator (you may find it in many places) is going to help you know how much yardage you’re going to need for your batting, backing, borders, and binding, there are also tools that count the number of fixed-size pieces that you have to cut from your fabric yardage.

Don’t forget about the go-to fabrics by the bolt as they’re easy to use and you never worry about running out. When you need a particular print, you should take a picture of it and post it as ISO (“in search of”) on social media. You may get lucky!

You get stuck in a corner

Getting stuck in a corner is quite common when you’re free quilting. It’s only too late when you understand that you didn’t allow yourself an out when designing the stage. You end up stuck in a corner and no way to get out. You could also want to move on to the next block, only to realize that you’re in the bad place. What’s the best way to take care of the thread when you cannot move anymore?

  • What’s the fix?

An experienced quilter recommends that you travel along a seam or another line until you get to the right place. Don’t stress much about perfection. You can try many small stitches in the beginning and only quilt afterward. Trying tiny stitches is a good idea, just like burying the thread or stitching in place before cutting are.

What about the mismatched rows?

It’s common for the fabric to stretch when quilting, which may lead to rows not matching with each other. The situation may occur even if you’re using sewing pins for every single seam. You may also end up tearing many of the stitches.

  • What’s the fix?

You can try the no-pin method, and here are the steps for doing it right:

Use your fingers for catching the first two seams together, inserting under the presser foot carefully

You may sew a couple of stitches back and forth, following the intersection of the two seams that you’re going to join

Once you’re done with the backstitching, you should cut the thread and go to another junction.

You need to open up the connected rows to check for the amiss seams. When you’re not happy with the results, you should rip out some of the stitches and start all over again. You may stitch the raw edges together for connecting the rows when you’re satisfied with the alignments of the seams.

The seam allowances are anything but right

Even if you’re going by the rules, you may still obtain a block that is too small. It’s because you just didn’t run the numbers for the seam allowances right.

  • What’s the fix?

Nine times out of ten, you’re going to use a quarter-inch seam allowance for the majority of quilting patterns. Everytime you use the quarter-inch foot, you’re going to obtain a precise seam allowance. Some machines feature a foot that has a quarter inch metal ridge.

When your machine doesn’t come with any of them, you should place some masking tape (a sticky note will do too) on the base, marking the accurate distance away from the right edge of the foot. You may also improve your accuracy by pressing the seams after every single step. It’s essential that you press the iron up and down and not side to side (it’s only going to alter/stretch your fabric, ruining the seams).

The borders end up wavy

You may not be able to obtain a precise edge when the left side of the quilt is two inches longer than the right side.

  • What’s the fix?

Always check to see if the top is even, both length and width-wise. You should also remove any excess before you attach the borders. It’s a good idea not to cut an exact border length; sew a long piece of fabric to the other side (remember to trim off the extra). Doing so is going to help you not ease in too much material (a common cause for the wavy borders).

Should you not have enough extra fabric for the border, make sure you measure the length and the width of the quilt using a tape measure at the center and not at the edges. Cut the limits using the measurements, pinning the center of the border to the center of the side of the quilt. Pin externally from the center and stitch in place afterward.

You run out of thread

Running out of yarn is just as frustrating as having the thread snapping the moment you get into the groove of your quilting.

  • What’s the fix?

Always double check the bobbin before quilting. Sometimes, the thread breaks. Period. You may undo a couple of stitches so that you may knot the thread, tucking it into the batting so that it doesn’t show. The yarn is going to snap a lot more when you live in a dry environment. You can place it in a plastic baggie along with a damp towel for adding some moisture to the thread. Put it in the freezer for a couple of hours before you start quilting.

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How to Cut Strips for Quilting

Cut Strips for Quilting

If you’ve been quilting for some time now, you know that you have to be meticulous and organized to have amazing quilts when you’re done.

There’s a lot of planning and preparing in quilting and shouldn’t let anything out of site. Even a couple of inches and two uneven strips can ruin your results, so why not doing it right every single step of the way?

Prepare the fabric

You may work with printed or dyed fabric, but the excess dyes and pigments may still be on the surface of the material. Various chemicals can also coat the fabric so that it looks better and more appealing to customers.

Working with fabric that has excess chemicals and dyes on the surface isn’t the best idea. Once your quilt is done, the colors may migrate and even bleed from one color to another, ruining the quilt. Wouldn’t be a shame to have done all of this work, create a perfect quilt, only to realize that after one washing the colors bleed one to another?

  • Wash the fabric

Washing the fabric is nothing but a great idea, and you should begin with sorting the materials of similar colors, cleaning them separately. Throw a piece of white fabric into the washing machine so that you can check the colorfastness. When the white fabric comes out painted in any way, it’s better that you load them again so that you get rid of all the excess dyes.

  • Use special formulas

Look for the specially formulated products that are supposed to pull excess dye from the water. A product of this type is very efficient for the batik fabrics that may need a couple of washings until the colors don’t bleed anymore.

  • Don’t use fabric softener

It’s also essential that you’re not using fabric softener. You don’t want to work with soft fabric as it’s going to be very tricky to cut it precisely.

  • Stay away from the small pieces

Try to stay away from the precuts of fabric that is too thin or too small to take washing. Even some of them are going to “survive” the wash, some aren’t going to be useful anymore on the cause of fraying. Don’t take any chances and focus on using more significant pieces of fabric for your quilt.

  • Starching

The fabric is going to be soft after you wash it. When it’s too soft, setting the ruler on top and cut precisely is going to be difficult.

You need to apply some starch and to press your fabric until it becomes stiff and flat. Not all quilters go with starch, so you’re going to have to decide on your own if it’s working for you or not.

However, you’re going to find out that starch stiffens the fabric just enough to ease out working with the material. You need to spray it on the right side of the fabric, flipping it over and playing a bit with the cloth until the starch soaks in. You continue with pressing it from the wrong side. When you’re spraying it from the wrong side, you also need to work it a bit and finish with pressing from the right side.

An extra layer of starch is going to make your fabric paper stiff, without any stretch. Accurate cutting is going to be a breeze. It’s essential to get to this stage as it’s going to be less complicated to cut the long straight strips.

  • Pressing

You should use a firm pressing board as they’re not difficult to build, but they’re fundamental for getting amazing results. You want to press the fabric without distorting it in any way. Use a hot and dry iron for pressing and stay away from steam. Regardless of what you may think, steam is going to maintain the fabric wet and not dry the starch fast on the surface, as you want.

Now that the fabric is ready, what’s next?

With your fabric stiff and dry, you should continue for getting the strips you need for your quilting.

  • Square the edges

When the fabric is stiff and flat, you may proceed to cut. Is it that easy to cut straight long strips out of a large piece of cloth? More often than not, you need to fold the fabric so that the fibers are aligned square and straight together. It’s fundamental for obtaining the perfect looking straight strips.

  • Always cut straight and square

Once your fabric is stiff, stable, and square, you can begin cutting. You should align the ruler and square off the end of your material. Flip it over so that you can always cut with your dominant hand.

Some like using the large cutter as it remains sharp for a long time; besides, titanium blades give you accuracy. It’s why you should pay the extra buck for a nice, sharp, and durable pair of scissors or rotary cutter with titanium blades.

Remember to double check the strips, cutting two and unfolding one. You’ll know when you’re off when you see a “V” shape or some peak showing up in the folds of your fabric. You need to do it all over again, so unfold your fabric, holding it up. Make the square once more, cutting off the edge and start cutting the strips all over again.

Do you need to go through all these steps every single time?

How to Cut Strips

It’s just one method to cut strips for your quilting, and you need to discover which way works the best for you. Even if it doesn’t seem to float your boat, you should at least give it a try once. It’s an effective method that results in blocks with the same size and strips lining up just fine, and we all know how frustrating it is not to have that when quilting.

Quilting is a building process in a way, and one of the most important matters is to prepare the fabric right. You need them to be perfect for piecing and beautiful looking results later on.

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How to Build a Cheap Sewing and Quilting Table

Build a Cheap Sewing and Quilting Table

If you’re into quilting, you know that it’s fundamental that you have the right tools for getting the best results. Quilting isn’t only about passion, being meticulous or patient, but also about using the appropriate tools throughout the whole process.

The height of your quilting table is just as important as its surface. You want to place as much as you can from the surface of the quilt, reducing the risk for hanging, pulling, dragging, or puckering. When the table is too small, you’re not going to be able to do it. Also, when the table isn’t high enough, you may end up with back pain and strain on your shoulders or arms. Soon enough, the quilting process becomes anything but fun. Frustration is around the corner. And it’s all on the cause of your table being too short or too small.

Why is the size and height of the table important for quilting?

You need the work surface to be spacious, so that the cutting and pinning the fabric go faster. You also need good outfeed area for finishing the large projects. The quilting table has to be sturdy and robust, supporting the weight of the quilt, with minimal to no risk for vibration or shaking when quilting.

You also want the table to feature storage drawers so that you have the fundamental tools within reach, no matter the job you’re doing.

There are many methods for building yourself a sewing table for quilting, without emptying your wallet. Spend some time on research to figure out which one may work the best for you.

How to make a sewing&quilting table on a budget?

You are meticulous when quilting is fundamental, and you should prove your skills when building your sewing machine. Take a look at the steps and see if it’s an attractive project for you.

1. Take care of the skirt structure

The skirt of the table is holding everything together. You bolt the legs onto the corner and screw the table top to the dress from the underside.

You can use ¾” pine plywood for making the top and the skirt structure. Any smooth and blemish-free plywood is going to do it too.

Remember that you can adjust the size of the table to your specific needs. In this case, six 5” by 48” pieces of plywood were used. You need to trim four of them to 38 ½” for using them for the outside. Use 5″ long braces for the corners, presenting 45 beveled ends. You can glue and put in place temporarily with a nail gun.

It’s important that you trim the last strips of wood and use some glue and pocket screws for installing them on the inside of the skirt frame. It’s going to improve the support for both the top and the drawers.

The drawers make the project more sophisticated, so it’s up to you. You can use pine with ¼” plywood bottoms for making them. You can install them in different ways and add the support pieces to the skirt for better results.

2. Continue with the legs

Two 8-ft, 4″ by 4″ pine beams can work for the legs. You should cut four 31 ¼” pieces for the table legs.

You also have to cut a 45degree notch from the top of every leg so that you can bolt them to the skirt structure. Buy the special table leg bolts that come with coarse threads on one half for the locks you use into the tops of the legs. Continue with drilling a hole where you’d like to see the bolt sticking out. Use a nut threaded onto the bolt side, while screwing the lag into the wood. Keep in mind to remove the nut.

You may thread a standard 4-in bolt through holes bored from the outer part of every leg, plugging the holes with a long dowel. It’s not common, but you can give it a try.

3. The table top

Once again, it depends on the size you want for your table. We went for a 48” square piece of pine plywood. You can round over the top edge with a router, using some wood filler for filling the gaps.

4. Cut out for your sewing/quilting machine

No matter the type of machine you have, the purpose is the same: creating a sewing surface for the machine close to the level with your tabletop. It’s not a drama if it’s a bit above, but it’s a drama if it’s below. Remember that you still need easy access for changing the bobbin or run the regular maintenance.

A lot of careful measuring and marking is going to be involved. You can cut the opening six inches back from the front edge. Go for inches in from the side, using the tools you need for most accurate results.

Go ahead and use a router for creating a tiny small round so that you can remove the sharp edge on top of the opening.

5. Install the quilting/sewing machine

Some pin hinges from an old sewing machine can help when installing the machine. It’s best that you use adjustable supports to the front edge of the opening.

Side note- Mounting choices

It’s fairly easy to build a tiny table underneath the opening; you can use an alternative mounting option for the future. You screw it in place for supporting the rails. You can slide it in/out of place from right underneath.

You can also leave it there to catch oil drips or who knows what for the days to come.

6. Completing the job

Don’t forget to use a beautiful color for painting the skirt on the table. You should also give the table top, the drawers, and the legs two coats of polyurethane with some sanding of sandpaper after every layer has dried. You should also wax the table top with furniture wax, making it nice and shiny.

You may also drill the pocket holes on the inside of the skirt structure so that you can fasten the table top in place.

7. Putting it together

It’s easier to set the table top together from underneath. Bolt the legs in place, flipping the table over. You should also install the drawers and some bumpers; the ones made od sticky-back craft foam work great on the inside of the drawer faces.

Some tips instead of a conclusion

When you’re not using the sewing/quilting machine, it’s wise that you protect it with the top of a used sewing case. As long as you’re careful and dedicated, you should be able to do it right from the first trial. Happy quilting!

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How to Make a Patchwork Quilt by Hand

Patchwork Quilt

For those of you out there who are creative and daring and don’t hesitate to take a moment for hand making a patchwork quilt, some tips are important and helpful.

Sewing patchwork by hand simply means you join small pieces of fabric together, into some various shapes. You may use rectangles, squares, hexagons or other shaped that you’d like to do. You may go, as you want for your patterned fabric, for sure.

When you don’t have the time nor the will (or the skill), you may also use a good sewing machine for your patchwork. You typically use it for the regular shapes and if your work includes more intricate shapes (pentagons, for instance), it’s actually easier to do hand sewing.

Hand Patchwork Quilt

For so many years, sewing patchwork by hand was the most popular method to make a quilt or some bad covers. It’s true though that sewing machine does it better and faster.

If you tried before hand sewing, you know that it has many benefits as it relaxes you, helping you feel so proud at the end of your projects. You may get an idea on the design of your patchwork on some graph paper with various colors that are similar to your fabric. Either you go for some models from books with patchwork patterns, or go with your own ideas; it’s totally up to you. If you’re not that creative nor have the time, you can always get a kit that includes everything you need already cut.

It’s important to always use the right pins so stay away from the blunt or rusty pins. Try the quarter seamer, as it’s great for you to rule the seams nice and precise.

Use also a clear, plastic ruler on your projects and don’t hesitate to get some help from frames and hoops. The hoop is amazing for the small pieces, whereas a quilting frame is the better option for the larger projects.

Even though there is no such thing as “forbidden” fabrics for quilting, some fabric don’t make a good choice. Probably it’s better to stay away from wool, open-weave, and crepe fabrics and stretch fabric also. The best option is the 100% pure cotton fabric, especially for the entry-level quilter.

How to do it

Joining pieces in basic freehand patchwork pattern isn’t that difficult, but it’s wise to have in mind few tips. You may use any type of fabric for this type of projects, but it’s always better to have the same type and weight fabric on a single project. It doesn’t look bad to combine, for instance, a lightweight cotton with corduroy, but the fabrics don’t wear out the same in time.

The choosing of your fabric isn’t essential when working on a smaller project. Keep in mind to wash first your fabric if it’s new. It may shrink after washing it, and you do want to keep the size of your quilt, right?

First thing to begin with, to settle on the shape you want to use on your project and make templates in the chosen shape. You could use strong card or any cardboard you have around the house for the templates. Don’t forget to add ¼” seam allowance to all sides. The templates work also as a support structure while sewing, so make as many as sections you have for your project.

step 1

Put on the wrong side of your fabric the templates and don’t forget about the ¼” seam allowance, drawing it around your template. Cut as many as you need, for each color.

You need to make sure when placing the templates in the middle of your material. They need to follow the straight grain of the material. Have everything steady in place by using a pin.

step 2

Pay extra attention at each corner and fold the material over the edge of your template. Pin the material onto the template.

Now it’s time to join them together using the iron.

Place two material templates, right sides facing down and one edge together. Use some small overcast stitches and sew them, without sewing the cardboard template. Don’t forget to secure the thread at the start and finish.

step 3

Join all the patches with small overcast stitches on one or more edges until your project is done.

step 5

For a nice, professional finish, don’t forget to remove the tacking threads and the cardboard templates. Spend some time on the details and iron the seam allowances in place. You may also sew a lining inside the patchwork cover so that the edges don’t show.

Sewing a patchwork by hand in a pentagon shape is great for some pincushions. You may even join more edges together, getting a ball shape that you may use as a lavender bag afterwards.

How to Use a Stapler Sewing Machine In Easy Steps

Stapler sewing machines

Stapler sewing machines are fun to use, and they are handy. Here is a simple way to get started on using your stapler sewing machine in a few steps. Check out for more advanced machines.

Hand-held stapler sewing machines are convenient because they are light and portable. They are perfect for fixing hems in an emergency. They get you the perfect stitches you need every time without having to get yourself to your full-size sewing machine which may not always be possible.

Forget the frustration of having to thread a needle when all you need is a quick repair to get out of the house and be on your way to work or school. These hand-held sewing machines are also great for crafts or to get decorations like custom-made tablecloths ready for a holiday party or other occasion.

use a stapler sewing machine for quilting

To use it you need to hold it correctly. Put the bottom of the sewing machine in the four fingers of the right hand. Your thumb will rest naturally on top of the machine. Hold it tightly.

If it needs new thread, just put the bobbin next to the needle. Thread it through the needle with the threader. Next, lift the cloth plate with your forefinger and put the cloth between it and the fastening plate.

Press the top of the stapler and allow the machine to go up and down across the area of fabric you need to sew. You will have your hem, tablecloth or cuff sewn in a few seconds.

Your machine should come with a nut that you can also adjust to get the stitch just right. If the needle needs replacing, you will need to use a small screwdriver to loosen the set screw first. Remove that and the needle comes out and allows you to replace it.

There are many different uses for the staple sewer. It can go with you wherever you travel. It is perfect to take to work. It does the job of fixing hems or cuffs and anything else where a piece of fabric has torn and needs to be fixed in a hurry.

You can make lots of great fabric crafts with the stapler machine. It is easy to move around different shapes of fabric like circles or rectangles. You can use it with a variety of fabrics.

Add a ruffle to a homemade shirt or placemat. Add a trim to your new homemade skirt. There is nothing that you cannot do with this handy gadget. It is perfect for the person who enjoys crafts.

For the person who cannot sew by hand, it is the best tool to have for fixing clothes in a hurry. No one wants to go to work with a suit jacket that is frayed or a hem to a dress that has come undone. Hem clothing and keep up with trends easily with the stapler sewing machine.

It is easy to use this handy sewing machine. Just place it in one hand and press to get the stitches that you need.