How many times have we heard the phrase ‘Measure Twice – Cut Once’. This proverb is a reminder that we should check our measurements. For quilters (we are lovers of our fabrics) this makes perfect sense! We want to do it right the first time so that we have leftover fabric so that we can one day make an amazing SCRAP QUILT. Right!
Typically, I follow this advice to the tee. But not long ago, I got tripped up and had to redo a whole set of sashing strips. My error was related to the Measure Twice – Cut Once rule, but was more of VISUAL error than a technical one. I learned a good lesson from this mistake.
I was making a T-Shirt quilt for a customer who really liked SASHING STARS. Sashing stars are created when you use a setting square in the corner of the layout blocks and in the sashing places you sew triangles. When the sashing strips, corner squares, and layout blocks are placed together they form a STAR, visually.
On this particular quilt the blocks were to be 14” square (and the sashing strips were that long too). The width of the cut strips were 4.5”. I wanted to use long triangles so the stars would stand out. When I pieced them (the first time), the background fabric was dark and the star points were the light fabric. I cut and sewed all of the sashing sets before laying them out .
When I finished sewing them, I laid them out between the blocks and took a step back to admire the result. What? I didn’t see stars. Not one! The only thing that popped out at me were big dark diamond shapes. It was not the visual look I was going for when I planned, measured, and cut all of those rectangles and triangles for the sashing.
I decided to sleep on it; I thought maybe I was just tired. But when I went down to check it out the next day, nothing had changed. I still saw big diamonds – and they made me think of Argyle Socks.
I had no choice but to break the golden rule ‘Measure Twice – Cut Once’. I went back to the quilt shop, bought more fabric, and went back to the drawing board. I drafted out a new pattern, this time I kept the same size rectangle (14” x 4.5”) but I cut smaller triangles for the corners. I also flipped the colors, keeping the background light, and the points dark (following the rules to create negative space in design). It took a few hours to cut and sew new sashing blocks but when I was done, I was much happier with the way it looked. By the way – another lesson I learned was to lay them out and stand back BEFORE they were all cut.
Never one to be put out by my mistakes, I’m saving the first set of sashing strips in a box for another someday quilt. There isn’t anything wrong with them; technically – they are nicely pieced with quality fabrics. I’m sure that they will make some other quilt very happy eventually.
This is a picture of the quilt when I took it off of the Innova Longarm machine. Very happy with the finished project. And I will always follow the golden rule in the future.
Measure Twice – Cut Once!
Accentuating the Positive!
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