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 ¼" 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 ¼" of each dog ear showing on either side. Pin the two
shapes together and sew them from one side to the other in a ¼" seam, beginning
¼" in from one dog ear and ending ¼" in from the other dog ear, using your
trusty ¼" piece of masking tape to measure.
Finger press the seam to one side and open the diamonds
Next, take a third diamond shape and insert a pin
perpendicularly from the wrong side into one of the wide corners, ¼" from
either side, checking its placement with the ¼" 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 ¼" from their edges.
Pivoting on the pin, line up the two sides of the diamonds
and pin them together, ¼" 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 ¼" seam from that point to ¼" 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
Take the two remaining sides and insert a pin perpendicularly
from the wrong side into the corner where now two seams come together, ¼" 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 ¼" seam from that point to the ¼" 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 ¼" masking tape is the secret!
When joining the completed blocks together, align one side
Block #1 and Block #2 below. Use your piece of ¼" masking tape as your guide
to begin stitching the seam ¼" in and stopping ¼" 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