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Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend posted: 4/18/2003
by Patricia Littlefield Printable Page
Category: Tips Method: All
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Diamond-shaped patches used to scare me. I was always afraid to make anything that required them because when I sewed more than two of them together, they would never lie flat. There was always a pucker or a D cup at that crucial, dreaded Y seam juncture where three seams met.

However, I was intrigued by the possibilities of making quilts of visual illusion, those which fool the eye into seeing cubes and blocks from more than one perspective, such as Tumbling Blocks. Alas, most of those kinds of quilts involve diamond shapes and the anxiety-raising Y seam. So, trying hard not to be intimidated, I set forth determined to conquer my fear of the awesome existence of the fearsome Y seam on my way to my goal.

Through much frustration and trial and error, I finally discovered the secret to assuring that diamond shapes joined together in a Y seam would forever lie flat. It is " masking tape. That's all. Put a piece about 2" long on the surface next to your sewing machine, and you will be protected henceforth from future puckers and D cups when working with diamond shapes. Trust me.

Here's how it works: put two pieces of fabric cut into diamond shapes, right sides together and line them up so that the dog ears protrude from each side.

Now, measure those dog ears against your piece of tape. There should be exactly " of each dog ear showing on either side. Pin the two shapes together and sew them from one side to the other in a " seam, beginning " in from one dog ear and ending " in from the other dog ear, using your trusty " piece of masking tape to measure.

Finger press the seam to one side and open the diamonds out.

Next, take a third diamond shape and insert a pin perpendicularly from the wrong side into one of the wide corners, " from either side, checking its placement with the " piece of masking tape. Align that corner, right sides together with the two diamonds you just sewed. Slide that same pin into the seam which joins them at " from their edges.

Pivoting on the pin, line up the two sides of the diamonds and pin them together, " from the outside edge. Carefully, insert the aligned two sides under your sewing machine needle, dropping it EXACTLY into the spot where the pivotal pin is. Sew " seam from that point to " from the outside edge where you placed the other pin; backstitch a couple of stitches, and cut the thread. Check it out with the masking tape strip to be sure it's the correct measurement.

Take the two remaining sides and insert a pin perpendicularly from the wrong side into the corner where now two seams come together, " from the outside edges. Align the two sides while pivoting on the pin, pinning at the outside edge, and put your sewing machine needle into the spot where the pivotal pin is. Again sew a " seam from that point to the " from the outside edge, backstitch a couple of stitches to end the seam.

And there you have it: three diamonds sewn together that lie as flat as it's possible to be, and a piece of " masking tape is the secret!

When joining the completed blocks together, align one side Block #1 and Block #2 below. Use your piece of " masking tape as your guide to begin stitching the seam " in and stopping " from the end. Then add Block #3 first to one block then the other, following the same procedure that you used when putting the parts on the individual blocks together.

I find it easier to sew a clump of three blocks together and then join them to another clump, rather than try to sew them together in rows. It's a matter of personal preference: try it both ways to see what works best for you.

2003 Patricia Littlefield

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