For my first pieced top, I made this checkerboard pot holder.
There's a trick to it. First I cut four long yellow strips and four long black strips and sewed them together in alternating colors. Then I cut the resulting bumblebee looking piece into perpendicular strips. Then I flip every other strip and sew them back together.
The hard part is getting the corners to line up exactly. I made it difficult on myself by using so many squares (this is usually a 9-square instead of a 64-square) and by using such small squares (small errors become proportionately bigger).
For the quilting stage, I decided to use the "stitch in the ditch" method where you quilt along the seams of the pieces. This was a little more tricky than I expected. It was hard to keep my stitching in a straight line, and little variances are more obvious with this method.
I also had difficulty with unintentional pleats. These were formed when I pressed the seam allowances. The fabric folded, and the folds were ironed in, so the "ditch" was inaccessible to stitch. When I pressed the seam allowances, I always pressed them onto the darker fabric so that it wouldn't show through. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but of course this wasn't possible once I got to the point where I was sewing the alternating strips together. I realize now I should have pressed the seam allowance open. This would have prevented the pleats, and the show-through problem would at least be symmetrical.
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1 year ago