It’s a good idea to have a sewing machine technician your family can trust to tune up your machine regularly and to fix it if anything goes wrong. This person can also help you understand how your machine works and the best way to use it. Ask your parents if it’s okay for you to get to know the technician, so you can ask him or her for help and advice.
Tip on turning out corners from Me and My Sewing Machine:
When you're turning the fabric right side out, do resist the temptation to use a knitting needle to push out the corner. It's all too easy to push the needle through the fabric or distort the corner beyond saving. Instead, use the end of a ruler, ideally a wooden or plastic one.
It can be difficult to identify the right and wrong sides of some fabrics, especially solids and batiks. In theory, you should choose one side and stick with it. In practice, it can be difficult to keep track of which side is which. Don’t spend too much time fretting about the difference between seemingly identical right and wrong sides. If you can’t tell the difference, it’s unlikely to harm your project.
Do you have a sewing friend who hates free-motion quilting? Chances are that they might like rulerwork (a lot of piecers do). One day they’ll decide to fill in part of those rulerwork triangles or diamonds with a little dense quilting to make other areas pop, and ... guess what ... they will be free-motion quilting!
Tip from The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design:
Remember your seam allowance! Cut the foundation fabric to the finished block size plus a generous seam allowance. The phrase “plus seam allowance” is worth highlighting, as you would be surprised how many people forget to include it!
Myth of Expertise: It can be tempting to think that there is a “correct” way to free-motion quilt, but that isn’t the case. There are many, many different ways. As I always say, “I am not an expert in machine quilting, I am only the expert of my own opinion.” In this book, I will share what works for me. Remember though, these are only suggestions. If something doesn’t work for you, try something different!
Avoid using a Teflon ironing board cover. The slippery surface makes it hard for the fabric pieces to get a grip and create resistance for the iron. Also, the fabric does not dry after you have steamed or starched it. Cotton is prefer-able because cotton sticks to cotton and absorbs moisture, and a cotton ironing board cover will keep the pieces from sliding when you are ironing seams. It also allows the pieces to dry quickly between steaming and starching.
Tip from Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting:
If you are worried about wasting thread or fabric, trace the pattern onto a sheet of paper. Unthread your machine and practice stitching on the paper. The lines you’re quilting on paper will appear as perforations that will allow you to see how your technique is improving.
Just because a print might not look the same when it is oriented upside down or sideways doesn’t necessarily mean that only one orientation is “correct” or usable. For example, a stripe could be oriented in four or more directions and look just fine, but it is still considered a two-way print.
If your quilt seems to be sticking to the extended base, wipe the base with a small amount of Pledge cleaner and the surface will become slicker. As you would after contact with any chemical, be sure to wash your quilt when completed to remove any residue.