Older Quilting Hints


Everyone has a favorite hint or little secret that makes quilting easier. Here's a place to share yours.

Please use our form to add your special advice to the immediately list.

Date: 12/26/3
From: Janice

I frequently try to change the color patterns of quilts that I find. When there are many colors, I tend to confuse the colors that I'm interchanging, and I can't get a good sense of what my finished product will look like. So I've taken to making BLACK AND WHITE photo copies of the quilt layout, then using colored pencils to shade in my new color pattens. It works SO well, and it's much easier to keep track of my new color patterns!

Date: 11/11/3
From: [email protected]

As a quilt instructor my grand daughters are always welcome in my studio. In fact it is set up special just for their visits and over nights. They have a special box that is for their use. I have fat quarters and cut squares and triangles of fabric in the box. From this box they create design quilts and blankets for the baby dolls and now that the eldest is five she gets to do some sewing on the machine when it is just her and I. With all the toys in the world they still prefer to play with the fabric box. I take large news print paper and draw a nine patch square on it. Then we fit the squares and triangles into it until the grand daughter is satisfied with it. Then we safety pin them together so that we can sew them later or un pin them for the next visit. It is a great way to raise a quilter and be sure they are not excluded from the important things in life. When Nicole completes her first quilt top I am hoping to teach her to tie it and we will decide if she should keep it or donate it.


Date: 10/16/3

I have a wonderful tip for template users.
You can go to any Xray Dept. at any clinic and ask for their blank sheets they run through their machines all day long before they do an actual Xray. I gathered up a whole trash sack full in one day from a nearby Radiology office at a medical building I go to. Just tell them you are only interested in the BLANK ones. They usually throw them away at the end of the day, so you're really recycling them!

Date: 10/14/3
From: Michelle

When using x-ray films - in order to get rid of the dark ink, soak the x-rays in a mixture of bleach and water until the black can be easily rubbed off.

Date: 10/1/3
From: krystofyr -Powell River, BC

I got this idea of making a baby quilt for a friend of mine that just found out she is pregnant. sending a patch to all of her friends with a waterprof maker to write a message for the baby on it and then I would make a quilt from them. then I will run the dowling through the back to hang it and I am going to cap the doling ends with ABC blocks.

I have a question though. WHat type of fabric and marker do you thing would be be best for this project to send out and write on? please e-mail me at [email protected]

Date: 8/22/3
From: Mary Lou

I have small grandchildren and try tokeep them out of my sewing room.
I worry about them turning on the iron or my sewing machine so to prevent any accidents I bought a surge protector and plugged both the iron and the sewing machine into that. The surge protected is placed near the back of my sewing table so now, although I have one extra switch to turn on when I want to sew or iron, I know my grandchildren are protected against accidently (or deliberatly) turning on these items.

Date: 8/7/3
From: [email protected]

When I begin a sewing project I fill my bobbin with the colors I'm working with and put them in an empty 35 mm film container, colors together. I take the end of the thread from the last bobin and make a loop before I snap the lid on. Keeps the treat clean. I put them in a basket on my sewing table. It is easy to grap the tread loop and pull out a whole container with the same color. These containers make good travel cases for 'sewing-on-the-go'.

Date: 7/16/3
From: Jean Farris - Powell River, B.C.

Are your tables too low. Cut 4 lengths of PVC pipe the length of the leg on your table plus whatever you want to add to the height and just slip the pipe over the leg. Thanks for all your hints.

Date: 7/11/3
From: Roz

When changing blades on the rotary cutter, I use a tweezers. For a safe disposal, I put the used blade inside an empty margarine tub or cottage cheese tub and snap on the lid.

Date: 7/1/3
From: Judy

When I have to rip a block or seam apart I found a fast way to do it instead of using a seam ripper. I grab my husband's mustache trimmer. Open the fabic at the seam line and "trim" away. The trimmer will buzz right through the seam, not harming the fabric. Use a lint roller to pick up the threads.
To organize spools of thread, bobbins, pins, measuring tapes, and other small notions I bought a nuts and bolts organizer in the hardware department at Walmart. It has lots of little drawers made of clear plastic. The contents can be seen at a glance.

Date: 5/22/3
From: [email protected]

Pulling thread through when hand quilting: I use fingercots. You buy them at the medical supply store in small, med. and large. If you are not familiar with them; they are like a rubber glove, only for the finger. You can get a 4" box full for about $5.00 and they will last you about 2 years. I have used them for about 5 years now and cannot quilt without them.

Date: 4/14/3
From: katy in mission c anada

This is probably as old as quilting it's self. If you get blood on your quilt while hand quilting, place a little siliva on your finger and rub it in. The natural enzymes break down the blood to keep it from staining the quilt.

Date: 4/12/3
From: barbara at islandoaks@hotmail.com

I have 2 hints...maybe old ones, but ones I use daily....first...plug everything you can in your sewing space in one power bar..sewing machine,iron, light etc, then with only one flick of a switch everything is on!!! The other is using a full lenght mirror to view your quilt tops...great way to see a total effect...Happy Quilting.Barbara

Date: 4/7/3
From: Karen in Fort Worth

If you are like me and like to carry your quilting or any needlework with you when you travel, I found using the plastic tubs that the cheaper ice cream come in is perfect. It has a lid to keep little Grandchildren out and keeps you from loosing your scissors, needles, thread, etc. Also, it has a handle to make it easy to carry. I do a lot of applique and this will also hold your fabric in an embroidery hoop. Try it, it is perfect.

Date: 3/4/3
From: iamblest

To duplicate paper-piecing patterns, use dressmaker tracing paper (yellow works for me) made for tracing darts, a tracing wheel and a good ruler. With regular copy paper I was able to get four good copies each time.

Date: 2/19/3
From: iamblest

A friend with WRIST PAIN takes beauty salon treatments that include application of hot wax and massage. She has been pain-free for a very long time.

Date: 2/19/3
From: Lisa

If you make miniature quilts and small wallhangings I have found that using Scotch brand Poster tape to hang them is great. No more holes in the walls hanging with dowels. If is safe to use on paint and wallpaper. Peels off walls with ease and will not leave a residue on the quilt.

Date: 2/18/3
From: christina

I read here recently a hint about using hanging sweater shelves for fabric. I agreed whole heartedly as I have two of them. However, now I only have one because I crammed them so full that one of them collapsed, broken at many points. So, they are wonderful, but remember, a pile of fabric is much heavier than a sweater. I need to go do something about the other one now.

Date: 2/12/3
From: Quiltmaker

I use used dryer sheets to clean my irons. Just rub your hot iron over the dryer sheets. Cleans better than the stuf your purchase in the stores. Smells good too!

Date: 2/11/3
From: sunflower

I reuse my dryer sheets in making my quilts. I use them for the backing of my applique.I trace the heart onto the sheet-place it on the topside of ANY color fabric-sew 20 stitches per inch around traced heart-carefully clip into the sheet and turn the heart rightside out-clean edges for applique. It also cleans my iron and also makes a good smell.

Date: 2/2/3
From: Samina Jamil (Pakistan)

I am new at quilting. I have experimented on a new way of basting a quilt that is worth sharing; instead of basting in horizontally and vertically, I start in the centre and baste in a spiral, expanding outwards.

Date: 1/30/3
From: [email protected]

I whole heartedly agree with Aussie.I'm a preschool teacher and I do many crafts, painting, bookmaking, and now quilting. I have often got useful and oh-so-honest advice from children. They have no preconceived notion of what should be. Also, they're not concerned with hurting your feelings, so they are your most honest critic. I painted a mural once and a 4 yr boy walked by and said, "needs something blue". I put in blue flowers and it was the perfect touch.

Date: 1/26/3
From: ptquilts

The best place to look for out of print quilt books (or used books of any kind) is a site called
It gathers info from dozens of online booksellers and you can sort them by price.

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