Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Tips & Tricks for Stitching Tiny Pieces

I've been working on a project with lots of little bitty, teeny tiny pieces this week and I thought this would be a great time to share some my favorite tips and tricks for stitching tiny pieces. 

These little stars finish at 2" x 2" so most of the pieces are cut at 1" x 1".  

Yes, that's a lot smaller piece than I normally work with - so in order to achieve success I made a few adjustments in my sewing process.  

1. Reduce stitch length.  I normally piece patchwork quilts using a 2.5 mm stitch length.  For these smaller pieces, I decreased the length to 2.0 mm. 

2. Use a thin thread.  I'm stitching with a 50 weight thread, specifically Superior Threads So Fine, that I typically use as bobbin thread on the longarm.  A thinner thread takes up less space in the seam and allows you to press flatter.  Don't be afraid to use a 60 weight either.  Just because the thread is thinner, doesn't mean it isn't strong. 

3. Use a stilleto to hold the fabric when stitching.  Yes, I'm one of those people who have been known to get their finger nail a little too close to the presser foot but in this case there simply isn't enough space to hold the fabric in place with a finger. 

4. Use a stilleto to hold the fabric when ironing.  I don't know which is worse - a stitched finger or burnt finger but the stilleto is the answer to both!  If you don't have a stilleto, then the eraser end of a pencil or a chopstick will hold the fabric in place and, most importantly, keep your skin away from the iron. 

5. Speaking of ironing... I always use a pressing spray on small pieces.  Starch, starch altnernative, pressing spray - the choice is yours - but using it helps hold the pieces flat. 

6. Press seams open to reduce the bulk on the backside of the unit. 

7. Make a couple extra units.  When sewing small, I always cut and stitch a few extra units. Inevitably one of them will be wonky beyond repair and it's no fun ripping out 2.0 mm stitches.  Since they are small, they can easily fall off your work surface and the dog can grab them. Once you have wrestled a 1" x 1-1/2" flying geese unit out of your dogs mouth there is no recovery option for it!  True story! 

8. Use a small tray, plate or plastic container to keep all the pieces together.  I like the small plastic take-out food containers with lids.  I put all my cut pieces into it as I cut, then transport to my sewing table.  The pieces go back into it when I go to the ironing board.  If I'm leaving a project for a few days, I can pop the lid on it to make sure everything stays together.  I use these same containers for my applique pieces too. 

So the next time you work on a project with small pieces, I hope these tips and tricks will be useful to you! 

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1 comment:

  1. I've been trying to download your pattern for the Winterberry Pillow. The link is not working for me. Can you help please?