Category Archives: TIPS & HINTS

Tips and hints are always useful in quiltmaking. It’s amazing how resourceful and innovative quilters can be when it comes to finding new ways to use or recycle everyday items in their quilting.

If you have time saving or money saving hints, please share them by leaving a comment.

Cool Information

During the 1940’s and 50’s, Applique Kits became popular.  A quilter could purchase a kit in which the applique pieces were stamped and ready to be cut out and then appliqued to a pre-stamped top.  (Heather Buchan) C


CQA Wine Bottle Bag Tutorial

Techniques include; basic bag construction and some fun suggestions for piecing, surface design and embellishment.

The Canadian Quilter’s Association has put out the call to Canadian Quilters for banquet attendee gifts for CQA Niagara 2014. This year’s project is wine bottle bags.

-you can make a few to send in to CQA.
-or whip some together to have on hand as a hostess gift.

Tidy Tips

To quickly and inexpensively clean an iron’s surface, pour a line of table salt approx 1/2 x 6″ on a terry towel.  Iron back and forth with hot iron – residue comes right off.  (F&P mag).

Maintain your machine – there’s nothing more frustrating than a breakdown when you’re in the middle of sewing. Especially keep the bobbin case clean from lint – a quick brush and you’re right to continue. You can use a long pipe cleaner to get into all the nooks and crannies of your sewing machine and when done you can just toss it away.  Thanks to Fons & Porter tips.

If you happen to prick your finger and blood gets on your quilt,  just use your own saliva and it will come right out.

Be sure to wipe the blade and clean your rotary cutter properly after each cutting session, otherwise lint will build up on it, which can affect its cutting performance.

If you get oil on your work, sprinkle it with talcum powder and let stand at least 24 hours before washing. The powder absorbs the oil. This also applies to grease or fat spillage.

When you need to clean a quilt you have hanging on the wall, just vacuum it right where it is.

Clever & Crafty Ideas

Make Your Own Variegated Thread
Load  bobbins with the colours you want to use in your project and stack them onto your thread holder.  Run all of the threads through a large eye needle.  You will be amazed at the effect.  Also put spools of thread onto extra spool holders or in a mug near your machine.  Finer thread may work better for you but experiment and play with thread.

Design a Design Board
You can make your own by using a 4×8 sheet of foam insulation board (the pink kind) and cover with a flannel backed tablecloth (found at any $ store) and staple or glue to the board with flannel side up.  Another idea is to use large sheets of cardboard doubled and cover with flannel or felt – or just tack the flannel to your wall if you have the space.   Smaller ones can be made in this manner also.

Transferring Quilting Patterns
One of the best ways to transfer motifs is to use tulle (fine netting found in bridal area of your fabric store).  First, tape plastic wrap over your design to protect it and then tape a piece of tulle over the plastic.  Using a permanent marker, trace the motif onto the tulle.  Pin the marked tulle over your quilt top and retrace the design lines with a pencil or disappearing marker.  You will see a dotted line to follow as a stitching guide.

Salvage Scraps

We all have them but whether they’re bits of thread, fabric or batting, they don’t need to be wasted. Here are some ideas on how you can make good use of them.

If you’re not into saving and using small scraps of fabric in another project maybe this Pinterest collection will change your mind.

You can collect thread and little snips of fabric to use in making greeting cards or pictures.  There are several bonding agents on the market that can help you attach your work to another surface (Bonash Bonding Powder) or you can “capture your work” under a sheer toile or water soluble fabric and stitch over it.  Reduce your carbon footprint and create a one-of-a-kind piece of fibre art.

For other ideas on recycling bits of thread and fabric check out:

Recycling in Textile Projects
Scrap Flower Pins
How to Make Fabric Post Cards or Artist Trading Cards (playing card size)

Don’t throw out those pieces of batting left over from other projects.  Small pieces can be used to make coasters or mug rugs. You can also  use them to help get the dusting done. Dusters can be made by cutting to fit your Swiffer or broom.  It works great for picking up loose thread or dust bunnies.  Another tip (from Fons & Porter magazine) is to cut a long narrow strip, fold it lengthwise and sew a seam.  Then slip the tube over a yardstick and secure the end with a rubber band.  Works great for dusting narrow places such as under the refrigerator or behind furniture.