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Measurement woes

Strangeness is occurring in the Moroccan Tiles quilt.  I finished all the sashed four patch blocks yesterday, and then got my new 5 1/2″ square ruler out to see if they needed much trimming.  Only they weren’t 5 1/2″ blocks, it turns out.  They are a bit small, which I would assume is a function of my seam allowance, except that they aren’t symmetrically off.  Each block is 5 1/4″ x 5 3/8″.

I can’t figure it out.  I checked the fabric widths and everything was cut to the right size – 2 1/2″ print strips and 1 1/2″ silver sash strips.  Which points back to the seam allowances.  But they are so evenly off.  Every one is 1/8″ in height and 1/4″ off in width. The only thing that explains it is I must have changed where I was lining up the edges between sewing the first print and sashing strips together and when I sewed the two patches into four patches.  But why, after all this time, would I suddenly change seam allowance guides in mid quilt top?

The mysteriously uneven blocks - a fraction wider than they are tall.

The mysteriously uneven blocks – a fraction wider than they are tall.

I could have trimmed them all, but that was going to be a pain.  Instead, I cut the silver squares to be 5 1/4″ on each side to match the narrower measurement, and as I sew the print blocks to the solid silver blocks, I’m adjusting them slightly so that the silver seam allowance is a little narrower than the print.  Since I’m doing that for assembling strips, but making the edges more even when sewing the  strips together, the blocks are all ending up square and equal in size again.  Still a little small, since they won’t finish to 5″ as intended, but adding an inch to a border width will get me back to the needed quilt size.

The slightly adjusted alignment

The slightly adjusted alignment

That problem solved, I have about half the strips created and have been sewing the strips together in pairs, and now I’m hitting problem number two – my design wall is not big enough for this quilt!  I’m going to have to move back to the floor for some of this.

A's quilt in progress - assembling rows

I ran out of wall before I ran out of quilt

I ran out of wall before I ran out of quilt

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2 thoughts on “Measurement woes

  1. One reason your dimensions may have been different is how you pressed them. If you pressed the first assembly to the side and the second open, for example, you’d probably have some difference. Still, an 1/8″ is more than that would normally be. (I do this all the time when assembling blocks, and yes there is a little difference in dimension.) Another source of trouble can come from how the fabric stretches. If the short lengths were across grain (WOF) and the long were with grain (along the selvage,) for example, you could have issues, too.

    The main thing I’ve found to help me is that I TRY to remember to measure my blocks when I have only a couple done. Then I can see how to adjust the seams for the rest of them. I’ll admit I don’t always check, but when I don’t, sometimes I regret it.

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  2. That makes sense about the pressing, since with the two patch pieces I pressed towards the dark, and with the four patches I pressed the seams inward. So they are pulling the edges in different directions. The overall too small part is a change in where I lined the fabric up with the pressed foot. Don’t know why I did that unconsciously – I’m going to pay more attention on the next top to going back to my old ways where things were the right size!

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