Monday 26 March 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 4 - Chain Block

Block 4 - Chain Block

This week is the turn of a traditional block – the Chain Block. 

The Chain Block is a great block for practising seam matching - a skill that relies on stitching an accurate ¼” seam allowance and can be influenced by the way in which you press the seams.  
Seams will match naturally if your seam allowance is accurate

I use a ¼” foot on my sewing machine to ensure my seam allowance is accurate. If you don't have a ¼” foot for your machine you can use a piece of tape on the plate of your machine (see this article on how to position the tape).
If you are new to patchwork, pin your sections together before stitching.
As you become more experienced you may prefer to butt the seams together without pins.

As for seam pressing there was a time when it was advocated that all patchwork seams be pressed to one side. This was especially important if you were hand stitching/quilting or intending to quilt ‘in-the-ditch’ (along the seam). However, with the advent of machine quilting this has changed over the years and now it is up to you whether you press the seams open or to one side (explore different methods of seam pressing).

You can even combine seam pressing within the same block.  This is something I do a lot.
Seams pressed to one side AND open within the same block

If a pattern states seam pressing directions you do not have to follow them - they are just a recommendation.  As you gain confidence you will find your own preference and ease.
All joining seams pressed towards the middle as per the block instructions

Sometimes you will find that seams naturally lie one way or another. Other times you will find it easier to match points if you press the seams open or in opposite directions - especially diagonal points as used in Block 14 - Friendship Block.
Block 14 - Friendship Block 

Within the Patchsmith's Sampler Blocks I sometimes give directions for seam pressing to help with matching seams but you can press your seams as you prefer.  Likewise, you may find it easier to pin the sections together before machine stitching or you may find it sufficient to butt the seams together without pins.  Try different methods to see what suits you best and do not worry if your seams are not perfect.  
If your seams do not match EXACTLY do not worry
- it will not show in the finished quilt

When it comes to the Chain Block you may prefer to press the longer joining seams open (I found it helped the block to lie flatter.)
Pressing sectional seams open may help a block lay flatter.

Next week’s block ‘Paths around the Square’ introduces us to fussy cutting. Until then I look forward to seeing your Chain Blocks over on Instagram (#block4chainblock) or in the Flickr Group

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