Most of What I Know About Piecing, I Learned from Longarming

It’s true. Longarming has taught me more about piecing than actual piecing experience has. Every flaw is noticeable when a quilt is on the longarm. Every crooked seam makes the process more difficult.

Longarming taught me how important impeccably pressed seams are. It also taught me how important solid seams are.

Here’s a great example. Yesterday while adding a pieced sashing row to my Churn Dash quilt, when I went to press the seam I noticed a small pucker. I ripped out the seam allowance to fix it, re-sewed it, and darn if I didn’t get the same pucker!

I ripped it again, but this time, the fabric gave way.

I piece with a very small stitch length, 1.6mm on a digital machine, or 15-16 stitches per inch on a vintage, which can make seam ripping tedious at best, and it is again due to long arming quilts that I eventually went to such a small seam allowance.

That rip in the fabric is right on the edge of the quarter inch seam allowance, and I know from long arming for the public, that many quilters would just re-use that piece, because that frayed section won’t be visible once re-sewn, or just barely visible, and they might slap some fray check on it.

It will however, come apart, I promise. Maybe not immediately, but it will come apart. It’s an easy fix! You don’t have to take the entire row of sashing off, simply unpick the seams around that section or block.

Below is the bad section removed.

Once the block with the bad section was removed, I ripped out the burgundy strip, cut a new one, and stitched it back in place.

When I removed the damaged section, I opened the seam allowance about a half inch on either side of the opening, so that it was easy to re-attache the new section.

You have to be careful to check all the surrounding seams and re-sew them if they didn’t remain tightly stitched to the seam ends. That’s rarely a problem with a stitch length as short as I take, but I did have to restitch the end of one of the nine patch blocks. It’s an easy repair now, but not so fun to try and fix once the top is quilted and you find an open or frayed seam.

My sashing block is replaced and sewn back in place, and I need a stronger pair of glasses for frogging!

CJ Tinkle

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Maureen Pinwill

    Love your tutorials.

Your feedback is always welcome! If you have a question, I will respond to it here.