Monday, March 16, 2009

Lesson Learned – Advice Needed

Actually, there are two major lessons to be learned here. The first one is that you just can’t suppress a quilters desire to create – at least for this quilter! We had more snow and bad weather this weekend, so I was pretty sure no one would want to view the house. I thought I could whip out the piano borders for my Halloween Journey wall hanging. After all, it was just a matter of sewing together strips of fabrics, slicing them up and attaching the borders. It wouldn’t mess up my studio much and I could get it done fairly fast.

Here is as far as I got:

I began sewing together the strips, pressing the seams to one side and thought I was doing really well. After several rows I thought it looked as though it was getting a little wonky. Can you see how it curls on the bottom row? My seams are even; my strips are cut straight, each sewn strip measures exactly one inch from end to end – what could be wrong? I decided to alternate each strip a different way – selvedge on one side, raw edge on the other and see if it would straighten out. Nope. So I stopped. I think this is happening because I am sewing along the “stretchy” edge of the fabric. Do you agree? Lesson two learned – research something you haven’t done before you begin a project. Gee – I thought this would be so simple!

So before I rip everything out and begin again, do you have any suggestions? I plan to cut these strips into 4 vertical sections as borders. There are quite a few more strips to be sewn as well. I know many of you have made “strip quilts” from scraps. So has anyone else had this problem? Any comments you might have will be greatly appreciated!

I’m so glad you enjoyed the first chapter of my Minam River Wedding story. Soon I’ll post another chapter!


vivian said...

I was told to keep many rows from getting wonky you sew the first 2 strips from the top, the next 1 on from the bottom, and alternate each direction. I have done this and it really does work.
Jane in Ok.

Kay said...

I never put too many rows together at a time. They seem to get less wonky if you put them together after they're cut in short pieces. I think the problem comes as you press. Even a little pulling as you use the iron makes the curve. As it is, I'd try spraying them with water, pinning straight and then pressing, being sure to move the iron straight up and down. (A striped ironing board cover really helps.) You can probably straighten the curve.

Purple and Paisley said...

when i sew a lot of strips together? first i sew them in pairs of 2's...then i add one strip to each pair to make sets of 3's...and so on and so on until i have pretty big sets to sew to each other...i also sew one way and then the other...for example - say strip 1 and 2 were sewn together starting at one end? when i add strip 3 to them, i start at the other end...think of it as your starting tails of thread should alternate between ends...does that make sense?

Sherri said...

I alternate sewing each row from bottom to top and top to bottom. I also use "Best Press" spray starch pretty liberally when putting together a row of small strips like this!

The Quilted Pomegranate said...

A class I took with strips said to alternate sewing from one side to the next. That if you keep sewing from same end that it gets "wonky" as you say.

Hope it helps!

Ulla said...

I was going to say the same as the others here, alternate the sewing direction and don't stretch when sewing or ironing.
I like your stripes anyway.

Anne said...

Yep, I've been told the same thing as the rest said.. Sew each next strip from the opposite direction. I thought you were going to say that as soon as you got all your fabric out...someone called to come see the house. Darn!

Des said...

I've always done it the way Purple and Paisley does it and it seems to work best for me. Very frustrating when they wonk on you!

Cindy said...

I think the ladies have summed it up nicely. FYI - When I have alot of strips to sew together, I even starch them before I sew them together.

*karendianne. said...

Oh well I never sew more than 8 rows at a time.

Also, I was taught in a class to press on the Vertical and not the Horiztonal so your strips are draped over the board and not along the board. It works for me.

Sharon said...

Along with the sewing from each end, you can also keep things straight by pressing each row as you go, and one row have your work on the bottom and the next row have the strip you are adding on the bottom. Plus I'm crazy about pinning. Looks like a fun border!

Libby said...

Yep - I follow the same plan as the others by sewing up one side and down the other.

Carrie P. said...

Hey Candace,
Everyone is giving the same advice. It looks like we have all had the same problems. On my calendar quilt I am doing what everyone else says and I am having good results. They should work for you too.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your first comment received from Jane in Ok. Alternate the direction you are sewing them..should help things..
Please let us know..Louise

Kaaren said...

Thanks for asking the question Candace because this is all new to me. Hopefully I'll remember all this good advice when it come the time that I have to do this.

Drat! I thought you were going to tell us that your realtor called to say you had a showing and you had to tidy up all the mess.

sewtakeahike said...

I read on a tutorial I think at pink chalk studio that you should sew two strips together at a time and then sew them all together to avoid the "curve". Hope that helps!

Gran said...

I too was reading on through your challenge and looked at your photo, and yup they are wonky, and was waiting for, "and the door bell rang..."
I can not add anything to the great comments. I am curious about what size your thread is? Brand? 60 weight 3 ply is easier to piece with. I know it is not the cause but it might be just enough smaller to make it less wonky...

Karen said...

Wow! I guess you got your answer! I have not really had any problems with stuff not laying flat / being straight until last week. I finally sewed the circle center into a quilt I am working on and it is NOT flat. I think I am going to take it out and sew it in by quarter wedges instead of one big circle. Good luck with yours!!

Shell said...

the only other tidbit I can add that hasn't already been shared is to pin pin pin and then pin some more!! use more pins than you think you need and it really helps keep things on the straight and narrow.

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

Sometimes steam pressing can do this too. Good suggestions here though for any of us to read and apply - even for someone like me that has made hundreds of quilts. I learned from this post. Although I never EVER pin. Thanks Candace.

Julia said...

Starch, starch, starch! I starch mine and sew from alternating.

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