Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday-conquering the Icky-Pooky Mess

There are so many new quilters out there! It ain't your grannies sport any more! Quilting has taken a new turn amongst the young at heart. Quilt patterns and fabric alike have leaned towards the Nouveau and are alot more like modern art. 

So I thought I would dedicate Tuesdays to tidbits! It might be something you already know, something you’re seeing for the first time, something you knew but forgot you knew, perhaps even something you think is too basic to mention.  Whatever it is, I hope what small morsel of insight I have to offer will benefit SOMEONE. (At least one? Pease--just one? ANY one?) Even if it doesn't, just tell me it does- make me feel all good about myself.

Do you hate that icky-pooky mess that you get when you start to sew your first piece of fabric in a sewing session?

(admittedly, I had to recreate this icky-pooky mess and a real one probably looks WORSE)

When you only have the exact amount needed for your pattern, this icky-pooky mess can sometimes create an icky-pooky catastrophe!

Worry not! I am going to teach you to overcome the icky-pooky mess dilemma.

Do you have some of this?  Oh come on, you know you do.  SCRAPS!  I mean- the kind you would normally throw away rather than save for your next appliqué project.  SAVE them, cherish them, love them, go get them out of the trash can.

Next, fold them and cut them up in little pieces. Often, these types of scraps are already folded because they are the remaining bits of something you have just cut. It's best to have a double layer though. They can be little or big- I usually go for .75-1 inch square.

Now- from here on out, take one of those little squares and sew it right in there after your last piece of fabric when you are ready to quit the sewing session.  Leave the little square in your sewing machine and walk away. Just make sure you have some stitches already into the square.   I typically sew almost to the end of the square.

Fast forward and hour, a day, a week, a month or a year....... there is that little square.  Perhaps covered in dust, but he's still there.  Start sewing your next piece right after him.  Since you aren't starting a new and the threads have already been "bound off".............

look Ma- no icky-pooky mess!  Stitches are nice and even, no holes or bunches or birds nests.   Perfect-a-mundo!

Have a tidbit to share?  Let us know!  Have an issue you need to solve?  Let us know and we'll research it!

Hope this helps some one, happy quilting!


  1. I know that mess!!! This tidbit is awesome and I will cut up some scraps immediately. I am so glad you posted this ... you rock!

  2. This is very helpful! I'm definitely going to start using this trick.

  3. I always do this and love the result. No messes! I'm always sad when I have to change the bobbin or the thread color since I don't have a little scrap in there keeping things clean.

  4. Those can be little disasters. You can also buy a single hole plate for your machine. It is the larger hole meant for zig zag sewing that causes it. If I am just sewing straight line sewing I always use my single hole plate.

    Another great idea is for leaders and enders which gives you an end product with all those little bits. You can check it out at Quiltville.com (I think) If not just google it.

  5. I like to use those scraps to check my thread tension before I start sewing — no need to rip seams!
    Another way to avoid that icky-pooky mess is just to pull the thread up from the bobbin and hold it with one hand while you put the first couple stitches in.

    I love this idea for Tuesdays. It has given me the strength to confess that I have no idea how to "properly" pin fabrics or when is the right time to take them out as I'm sewing. I think that's one of those things most people find too basic to mention.