Saturday 7 April 2012

Quickie Tip: Matching Tick Marks

One of the things that really helps me when I am paper piecing is matching the tick marks.  I use these on foundation piecing to join the sections together and in freezer paper template piecing on every piece.  I don't think I could join diagonal lines accurately without them in freezer piecing!  On the Sew-Ichigo patterns you will find these red tick lines on the lines where sections join.  You can see a cropped image of two pattern pieces below and their corresponding red ticks.
This is how I join foundation paper sections together.  I place the seams together and push the pin straight through the end of the tick mark so it goes straight through the front...
and the point comes out in the matching place on the flip side.
I then pin at right angles to this to hold the seam.  If it is a short seam I leave the vertical pins and just hold it tight all the way to the sewing machine foot.
This is the same pinning from a different angle.
You may prefer to sew those section seams without the paper- it does add bulk.  You just trim the paper back to the edge of the pattern piece, the tick line is still there, a pin as before.
With freezer paper piecing, the technique is just the same; push through the tick line so that is comes out the other side...
On the corresponding tick mark.
I recently read a post at The Sewing Directory by Lynne of Lily's Quilts where she describes exactly the same process for quilt blocks, she uses the points in the block instead of ticks .  It all leads to beautiful blocks, and that is what we are all aiming for!  
I have added a print gadget to the bottom of all posts so you can choose a range of options to print  out our tips and tutorials, handy!  If you want the same gadget, you can find it here.


  1. I wondered what those lines were for lol. I use the corner bits with pins for mine :o)

  2. I use the corners too but diagonal really get me and ticks help for those and also for the places where if the points are off the design looks a bit wonky!

  3. I read about how to use your tick marks in one of your earlier tutorials, Kerry, and it was so helpful! Also, I've started using your freezer paper techniques sometimes, even if I'm foundation paper piecing, so I can get my fussy cutting right. Add a light table to the freezer paper, and fussy cutting isn't such a frustrating task.

    Thanks for sharing your skills with us!

    1. I bet a light table is a great help! I have a really bright light stand where I work, very useful

  4. This is incredibly amazing feature your patterns will have! Now I'll have to do this ever time I paper-piece anything !

  5. Thank you SO much for the gadget that lets me save your tips so easily. I made a PDF of this blog in no time at all. Usually I have to copy and paste this kind of info into a doc, and that just takes so many clicks and minutes.

    btw.....thx for the good tip too.

    1. It is such a handy gadget, I think it was Ayumi who mentioned it on her blog and that is where I saw it

  6. Dear Kerry! You teached me two precious and wonderful clue that I never have seen: This tick marks and the pinning! I used to pin in the corners line of the 2 sections but I used the same pin to hold the two pieces and then I always lost the accuracy of the corners!! It will help me to achieved the perfection that I loooooove to do! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Hugs from Brazil and Happy Easter!!

    1. Thankyou Sil! I always like to pass on anything which helps with paper piecing

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