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Thread: Advice needed please!- strips not matching up

  1. #1
    Senior Member Millstream Mom's Avatar
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    I bought a quilt kit to make a "ShadowBox Quilt". The colors are beautiful, and the blocks went together like a dream. The blocks were then sewn into 7 long strips.

    The sashing was cut from the kit (as directed) into 2" strips from selvage to selvage. I trimmed the tightly-woven edges from the selvages, and sewed the strips together.

    The next step was to sew the 2" strips of sashing between the long pieced strips. I just grabbed the 1st strip - sewed the strip - trimmed the bottom to the same length - then sewed the next long strip on.... and its about 1 1/2" shorter than the sashing strip? AAARRRGH! :x So I ripped out the seam - could someone please advise me on the proper procedure?

    Do I measure all my strips (which appear to be the same length) and take the average length? Do I cut my sashing to that that length before sewing? Do I pin top and bottom and ease in the unequal length by stretching/easing as I sew the centers?

    (and yes.... I admit it..... I am a lazy sewer and rarely pin anything! :roll: I'm thinking that might have been part of what lead to this little fiasco! )

  2. #2
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    Yes, you should pin...i will pin both ends and a pin or 2 in the middle depending on the length - just so it all comes out even. I don't pin short pieces where i can hold then ends together

  3. #3
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 117becca
    Yes, you should pin...i will pin both ends and a pin or 2 in the middle depending on the length - just so it all comes out even. I don't pin short pieces where i can hold then ends together
    also, remember "Baggy Bottoms" which means if you have one layer longer than the other and you are working them in, put the one that needs eased in on the bottom. The feed dogs will help to make it easier to work in than the foot. And sew each row/ strip in opposite directions. Example: if you are looking at your quilt and you started sewing one row on the right, then sew the next row starting on the left.

  4. #4
    Super Member TonnieLoree's Avatar
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    If your fabrics ARE cut to exactly the same lengths, but your seams are coming out uneven, it is a matter of how you are handling your fabric. No, you do not need to pin nor is a special foot required. Understand this concept though. Your feed dogs are grabbing the fabric towards your machine at the same time that your pressure foot is pushing it away......which causes it to feed in unevenly.

    Notice in my picture that my hand appears to be curled up towards me. This is providing the resistance to the feed dogs, and will not allow it to feed in.

    This is one of the tricks of the trade in industrial sewing. A technique that works, not only for straight stitching, but curves as well.

    I saw some posts where you were being advised how to feed in the bottom, but I really don't think that is the solution you were looking for. You were asking "why" this happens.

    How to hold your hand to give even feed.
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  5. #5
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    Very interesting!

  6. #6
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    I had this exact same problem the other day. I was sewing two lights with a dark inbetween. The lights were from the same fabric. 1 1/2" strips width of fabric. One of the lights was a half inch longer after it was sewed!

    Saturday morning I was watching Everybody Sews with Sue Houseman (sp?). They were making a quil as you go in strips using batting strips. Sue said she ironed her fabric to the batting and it stayed in place while quilting.

    I got to thinking that it might work with strips. And it did! I layed the strips together on the ironing board. Made sure everything lined up and then I pressed it with a hot iron. Don't move the iron back and forth, just pick ip up to move it and press it down again in another spot until the entire lenght is pressed. You don't want to stretch it.

    I was surprised by how well it stayed in place and all the strips were then the same length!

    Happy sewing!

  7. #7
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    I also press my strips together (not iron) and then sew the seam.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Millstream Mom's Avatar
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    Now THAT explains it! Thank you TonneLoree!

    I've reworked the pieces - with pins - and easing them together, with much better results!

    My MIL is always telling me to press my seams and use Fabric Finish spray (like a light starch) Would the dampness of the spray make the fabric stretch a bit? Should I dry-iron only?

  9. #9
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    When sewing strips I always hold the top strip up and away from the bottom strip until it feeds under the foot. A professional seamstress who use to sew for fashion designers showed me this trick. Neat!

  10. #10
    Super Member chairjogger's Avatar
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    watch out for the "smile" when cutting strips too. open the strips up and see a curve in the long strip.
    good luck !

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