This tutorial is about how I use a square of paper to sew piece together long strips of fabric on the diagonal. This technique is useful in my Skyline quilt block, but it’s also great when piecing binding strips together when binding a quilt.

I used to get so frustrated when I would sew 2 strips together on the diagonal only to find out they don’t form a straight line. The strips would be offset a little. Or the diagonal line of stitching wasn’t a straight line. Or when I drew a diagonal line, it stretched the fabric, so even though I took the time to draw a straight line, it became a curve. And I really didn’t want to rip out the stitches and try again, because it would become a hot mess.

If you have a square of paper, you can solve all your problems. Just make sure your paper is square. Mine example is 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ which is what I had laying around. A smaller square might be too small, depending on the width of your strips and a larger square might be a little cumbersome, but give it a try with whatever you have. Fold the square in half on the diagonal.

Magic paper square

Magic paper square

 

Place 2 strips of fabric at right angles (perpendicular to each other), overlapping the ends at least 1/4″. Use the square corner of your triangle to make sure you have a 90-degree angle. I like to do this right next to my sewing machine, so once I have them aligned, I don’t need to pin, I just slide the strips under the pressure foot.

Overlap strips at right angle.

Overlap strips at right angle.

With the sewing machine needle in the down position, slide the 2 strips under the pressure foot so the needle is at the junction where the edge of the 2 strips cross. Place the long side of the triangle right next to the needle and line it up with the other edge where the strips cross (on the edge closest to you).

Triangle next to needle and aligned where the strips cross on each edge

Triangle placed next to needle and aligned where the strips cross on each edge

 

 

Make sure the long edge of the triangle is pointing straight at you. You can pivot the fabric a little bit if you need to. Lower the pressure foot and sew  right along the edge of the triangle. Voila, perfect every time!

Take a peek . . . yes, the seam goes straight from one edge to the other.

Take a peek . . . yes, the seam goes straight from one edge to the other.

 Trim the seam allowance, leaving 1/4″.

Trim seam allowance.

Trim seam allowance.

Use a seam roller before pressing this seam. I like to roll, then press my seams open. You can roll the seam allowance to one side if you prefer, but do not finger press this seam as it’s on the bias and will stretch out of shape in a jiffy. I’ve learned this from years and years of stretching it with my fingers. It’s okay to press the seam with an iron after you roll it.

Roll the seam.

Roll the seam.

Yay, you did it!

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