We all make mistakes. It’s what we learn from those mistakes that is important. I am going to share a few of mine and what I have learned with regard to quilts, without necessarily resorting to the seam ripper! Or at least not too much.

Too Small

The finished block is too SMALL! there are two possible fixes.

  • If the quilt has a sash, just add a spacer to make up the difference. If the quilt doesn’t have a sash, make sure the rest of the blocks match the smallest block.
  • Make up the difference in the border!

Too Large

The finished block is larger than expected.

  • If all the blocks are too large, just make the quilt bigger.
  • If just that type of block is too large, you may be able to trim it down.
  • If you can’t trim it down without losing points or distorting the pattern, sew new seams right next to the old one, without ripping out the seam. By leaving the seam in, you ensure the next seam makes the block smaller and you are not making the exact same mistake twice!

Seams Don’t Align

The first question to answer is does it matter? If it doesn’t detract, don’t worry. Have a little grace for yourself and realize you may be the only one who notices.

You may be able to add quilting that hides some of these imperfections. Curved quilting often hides issues with straight seams or points that aren’t perfect.

If they are off at one end of the block/row but not the other, remove only the section that doesn’t match. Start sewing from the opposite end and ease the middle together. Then, use a little steam to flatten the seam.

If the block uses diamonds or triangles, the fix may be a little easier. You can resew the seam to one side or the other of the original seam, that will move the intersection points. After you adjust, remove the original seam.

Block is Turned

Checking the orientation of the blocks before sewing them together is critical. We have all been there. I was preparing one for Market and then a customer to photograph. I was halfway done with the QUILTING, when I noticed one block was turned sideways. I removed the quilt from the longarm. Then, I removed only the offending block and about 1-inch of the seams around it. I turned the block to the correct orientation. Then, I used partial seams to put it back in place. If the piece is really small or there is lots of quilting around it, the partial seam may need to be done by hand rather than machine. Regardless, it can be done.

This technique also works well for small stains or rips. You can remove just a section and sew a new one back in. My brat cat Edmund once landed on a quilt on my longarm and tore it…. I was able to replace using this technique.

Not Enough Fabric

The opportune time to find out you don’t have enough of a fabric is when you start. It is best to find new fabric before you start. If you have to buy more, but the entire amount, not just the amount you are short. Why? Because it may be a different dye lot, so may not match the original fabric well.

What if you can’t find that specific fabric? Try to find something close in color and size of pattern. Again, substitute the whole amount, not just the short amount. That will minimize anyone noticing, but you.

If you notice after you have some of the quilt sewn together. Find enough to replace the missing amount. Then, place these blocks evenly throughout the quilt. That will minimize anyone noticing the difference.

Bobbles in Quilting

I subscribe to Angela Walters philosophy that the best way to hide mistakes in quilting is to just quilt more!

Wholes, Stains, or Other Mishaps

Like my catastrophe story, sometimes, the damage may seem too great to fix. That is when you need to put your creativity to work and EMBELLISH! Yup, time to turn that sow’s ear into a silk purse. Add a little fusible applique, ribbons, beading or other bling to distract or cover the mishap.

Most importantly, do not get down on yourself. Use this as an opportunity to learn. And as with most things in life, you don’t need to share with everyone that you made mistake. If no one else notices, congratulate yourself on a good recovery!

Happy Quilting!