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Thread: Bargello quilts...help!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Bargello quilts...help!!

    I am making a bargello quilt using the "tube" method. I have sewn my strips together but when I connect the last two strips together it is all out of whack. Just wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to keep my seams from being "stretched" so the last two will meet up correctly. Thanks for any input!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Lebanon, Missouri
    I starch my fabrics. If I'm working on a quilt that has tiny pieces I heavily starch the fabrics. I don't use BEST PRESS, canned starches, or sizing. I purchase STA-FLO in a large bottle and mix it myself and put it into a spray bottle. I use a 50/50 mixture. Yes, I do get "flakes" but those brush off easily. You must iron the fabric dry. I do not use steam in my iron when I use starch. I get a much better starch set this way. Here is what I would do in your situation:
    Starch fabric before cutting
    Make strips, starch, iron in the tube
    CAREFULLY remove stitches between selected pieces to prevent stretching
    If the strip is narrow I would starch again
    When working with small pieces, instead of ironing the length of strip I would iron side to side and move strip

    I find that by starching my fabrics and piecing as I go along I get more accurate seams and the fabric is easier to work.

    Wouldn't you like to live with my mind just for a moment? I wish you would, I think I need to get OUT OF IT!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Long Island
    Spray starch and changing the direction in which you join the strips works for me. The last two seemed always to be a challenge untill I decided to piece them in smaller amounts. Join all strips in pairs, than join pairs, than join sets of four and so On. Clear as mud? I hope it helps!

  4. #4
    Junior Member HilaryK8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    I didn't starch mine but you have to match up every single seam. I made the mistake of mixing batiks with LQS printed fabric and el-cheapo fabric. Some fabrics were looser or stretchier than others. So you have to butt up your seams as you're sewing. Sometimes periodically pinning helps. But once you're off on one seam all the others are off unless you compensate. And I agree with Tashana, join 1/2 then 3/4 then 5/6 etc. I labeled EVERYTHING with painters tape. The tape didn't come off until the whole top was finished.

  5. #5
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Grundy Co Illinois
    Yes to starch ... especially if you are working with narrow strips (many strips in my avatar finish at 1/4").

    Yes to sewing each strip in the opposite order. To make sure I know which order I sewed the previous strip - I leave the leading thread tail on the strip. I always know where I started (those ends are going to be lopped off anyway!).

    Some of the problem could also be uneven feed while your sewing (the feed dogs pull the bottom fabric faster than the top fabric feeds - resulting in a slight shift of the top fabric forward). Pinning helps. I use a dual feed walking foot to piece which helps immensely.

    Make sure your seams are UNIFORM. Whether uniform 1/4" or uniform scant 1/4" ... as long as it's uniform throughout the whole strip. Eyeball it before you press it. If you see a place where it is off ... rip it and fix it. If you are sewing narrow strips as much as 1/16" will throw the balance off.

    Ironing the strips is of key importance!! You have to make sure the seam remains straight when you iron the seams. For me, I can iron a long strip straighter if I iron the seams open as opposed to ironing to one side. I will lay the strip down and fingernail press the seam open first, then press it open first on the inside then again on the outside.

    After you sew EVERY STRIP re-measure the piece to make sure that the width of the combined strips is even and straight. If not, rip it and fix it as it will give you grief if you don't. Check for bowing or slanting to one side.

    Good luck!
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.


  6. #6
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Yes starch really really helps( I do this prior to cutting) ... and I do press my seams open rather than to one side.. When you get to the final tube seam... do not use the raw edges of the first and last strip to line up for that last seam. Lay the strip set down( prior to the last seam) and line up the seams at the ends disregard where you started to sew the seams as your guide or the ends where you will make your colum cuts ( at this point) ... its highly unlikely they will line up. Once you have the seams lined up and everything is laying flat.... then pin and sew. Trim off the wonky part of the beginning of the strip set.
    I use 1/2 width cuts of the fabric for my bargellos... so much easier to work with escpecially when it comes to getting that last seam .. and trying to line it all up and lay flat. Full lenght strip sets always will get some bit twist ( for me at least).

  7. #7
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Thanks for the interesting and helpful thread. I'm getting ready to start a bargello (my first) so I appreciate all the suggestions.

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