Born to Quilt: Tips & Tricks with Cathy M.

  1. Remember that the value difference in the fabrics will show off the pattern or piecing.
  2. Take care of your tools.  This means having your machine serviced (Perry is your guy for this!), dusting out the bobbin area, and  replacing needles frequently (every 5-8 hours of sewing time), keeping a sharp blade in your cutter, using sharp pins (throw away the bent ones), and having a good seam ripper with a small point at the end.
  3. Be comfortable where you work.  Get your chair and table at a good height to work at.  You don’t want your shoulders by your ears.
  4. Chain piece whenever possible.  This increases accuracy and doesn’t waste thread that you have to cut off.
  5. When using a rotary cutter, cut away from or across your body, never towards you or under the hand holding the ruler.  When starting a cut, start 1” in, rock back, and then make the cut away from you.  This will prevent those nicks in the blade.
  6. When sewing for long periods, set a timer for 20-30 minutes.  When it rings, do a walk around, get a drink of water, look in the distance, and then go at it again.  This will prevent eyestrain, neck, and back aches.
  7. When deciding on which side of the seam to sew on, choose the one with the most seams or matching points on it.  This will give you the most visual information.
  8. Press each step as you go and trim all the threads.
  9. Always measure and cut sashings and borders to size before adding to blocks or quilt tops.  Don’t just sew a long strip on and cut the end off.  Your quilt won’t lay flat in the end.
  10. Take time to baste well.  Pins should be a  hand width apart  for cotton battings and a fist width apart for polyester battings.  Rushing this part makes for puckers.  You don’t want to have to pick out quilting stitches.
  11. Enjoy!  Concentrate on each step as you go and don’t worry about the whole thing at once.  All quilts are made one stitch at a time.

If you would like me to expand on any of the tips I have talked about in this blog, comment below and I can answer your questions or I can even do another blog just about what you are interested in.

Happy Quilting,

Cathy M.




  1. Delores Wagg says:

    This was an excellent article. Would you mind if I reprinted it in our guild Newsletter?? Thanks,

    Delores Wagg

    Cowichan Valley Heritage Quilters President

    • Hi Delores,
      Go ahead and reprint the article for your guild newsletter. I figure the more info the better. i talked to Kathy S at Snip and Stitch just to make sure and she said she would like it if you mentioned where it came from and that people who wanted to know more could find and sign up for the blog at Looking forward to coming down your way soon,
      Happy sewing,
      Cathy Martino

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