Before I left for vacation, I discovered a construction issue with a few of the Diamond blocks I've been making from a UFO box pulled off the shelf a few months back. You can read more about my trimming/construction 'concerns' in this post to get a refresher on the details.
To summarize, in total, 50 or so of these diamond blocks will eventually be sewn together end to end to make vertical rows. Turns out, it kinda matters that, once the blocks are trimmed, the severe points on the shorter ends of the each block should be centered. I've made about 30 blocks so far, and most are well-trimmed. About a half-dozen needed a bit more attention, and in the process, I discovered a much better way to make everything come together more successfully involving changing some of the seam pressing direction.
Here's my fix:
As I made the blocks, after adding the setting triangles, opposite sides first, then the remaining two sides, all the setting triangles were pressed outward. This made for very lumpy seam intersections when sewing the blocks into vertical rows. To correct this, I decided that some reverse sewing was in order on the 30-some blocks that *were* completed so far.
Not one to resort to press seams open, (I feel that creates more problems than it solves) I experimented with pressing the first two seams toward the diamond piecing and leaving the remaining two seams pressed outward. And my idea worked!
SoOoOOO, first some reverse sewing. I pulled out only enough of the seam - about an inch or so on all four 'corners' - to allow me to reverse the pressing direction on the first two setting triangle seams.
Once the first two seams were free, I needed to 'unpress' them, then repress them toward the pieced diamond.
This was easy enough, but to help reset the seam, I had some help. Both these pens the Acorn Easy Press Pen and the Clover Fabric Folding Pen work a little like one of those laundry soap pens you carry in your purse for those inevitable restaurant food-blob emergencies. A little squish of liquid magic, add a hot iron, and ta-da!
Once the seam is unpressed, I repress it toward the pieced diamonds (above). If I plan ahead, there is still a bit of the liquid pressing stuff left on the fabric to complete the job.
* I made sure to test the pen before applying it to the fabric to ensure everything is colorfast.
Next, it's time to re-sew the stitches I removed earlier. I either pin or use the Acorn Seam Align Glue to secure the partial seam. I've talked about this product before. It's fairly new to me, and I really like using it. It's a good alternative to pins, especially with shorter seams where accuracy is key.
The Seam Align Glue isn't activated without heat, so I used my mini iron on the partial seam before sewing. I especially like that none of these products leaves a residue on the fabric that will interact poorly with the sewing machine mechanics.
Then I repressed that partial seam outward.
Now, the seams rotate in a counter clockwise direction (from the back).
I make the same correction to all the existing blocks, then as an experiment to make sure I'm back on track, I decided to sew two blocks together as a test. Two blocks, both with pressing direction corrected, are placed right-sides together. Now the seams align and nest and oppose beautifully, leaving me with a better chance to align the points.
Similar to twirling or popping the seams on a four-patch, the seams can now be popped and twirled at the center intersection, reducing bulk.
This seems like a very tedious correction. I had about 30 out 50 blocks done before I discovered the row construction issues. And if I was going to go ahead with this adjustment, it was all or nothing. Every block needed to be revised.
But the prospect of fudging all those blocks as they were sewn into vertical rows wasn't pleasing at all. It helped to step away and clear my brain (note to self, trips out of the country can be soul-cleansing!). Once I got back to it, the steps for the fix were easy and satisfying, and it didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would.
No one likes to take a step backward when the goal is to keep moving forward, but there are lessons in every part of the process, I think.
I think so.
What say you?