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Thread: keeping a straight seam over multiple layers?

  1. #1
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    keeping a straight seam over multiple layers?

    I'm working on a pattern that involves two flying geese units sewn together point to point (so like this >< ) and I'm having the worst time keeping my seam straight as I sew over the spot where those points come together and it goes from two layers of fabric to four. No matter how slowly and carefully I sew, it always seems to shift a little and that part of the seam turns out a little off. I've developed a close, personal relationship with my seam ripper and a rich vocabulary of swear words because of this. Any suggestions on how to make it turn out right?

  2. #2
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    I usually sew points like those by hand, so I'm interested in advice as well.

  3. #3
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    With something like this I stand at the ironing board and use a straight pin pushed down exactly at the sewing line for the match (in other words, push the pin down at the 1/4" mark, making sure the pin is going through the correct point on each piece). Once I do this, I carefully lift up the seam allowance and add a tiny dot of Elmer's washable school glue to the intersection, then press with an iron to make the glue adhere. This is "glue basting" instead of pin basting. It takes a little more time to do this, but it causes less distortion than a pin does and it's less likely to shift while you sew. You could even put a dot on the non-seam allowance side of the two pieces, as after you sew it's easy to peel the pieces apart.

    The only alternative I have found is to machine baste just a couple of stitches over each intersection (can do many pieces without cutting thread until after you are done), then open and check each piece before sewing the seam (which needs to go right on top of the basting thread). I find the glue basting to be easier and faster for me.

    Edit: Another thing that I would try in this situation is to press the seams open. Makes the points easier to match. I also like the idea of hand sewing the points. You could hand sew just the points, then machine sew over that to sew the entire seam.

  4. #4
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I agree I would try with seams pressed open and either glue baste or hand baste first.

  5. #5
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    I do pin the points, although I've never thought of glue basting them; mostly they stay matched. The big problem is that the whole patch shifts when I get to that bump, so when I'm finished, there's a clear detour in the seam - not much, but enough to mess up the finished patch. I've tried using the needle down button, stopping, and then verrrry slowly sewing over the bump, but even then it wants to shift. It may be that I'll have to suck it up and hand-stitch the points. I'm slow at handwork, but slow is better than losing my temper. I had thought of pressing seams open, which is sort of what I prefer, but I was following the pressing directions in the pattern. (I'm still new enough to quilting that I don't feel confident straying from the directions.)

  6. #6
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    Put needle down in the center and sew forward and then turn the piece and sew the other end of the piece.

  7. #7
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Check your pressure on your foot .. it may be more than what you need. Too much pressure will sometimes cause fabrics to shift to accomidate the change in thickness. Experiment with a bit less pressure. What is the current setting you are using?

  8. #8
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    Some machines stitch over "bumps" alot better than others. Don't get discouraged, keep trying different things, maybe a topstitch needle might work a little better for you?

  9. #9
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    I like this suggestion! Thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Holice View Post
    Put needle down in the center and sew forward and then turn the piece and sew the other end of the piece.
    Aronel aka Lee

  10. #10
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    here is another thought. Three pins....first straight down thru both points and while keeping that pin perfectly straight, take a small bite from another pin on either side of that one, then remove center one.....go very slowly to first pin, remove it, and sew to point, but not right on that X, just a thread over into the seam allowance, then slowly move away to the other pin, remove and finish sewing. The reason you sew just a thread away from the junction is when you turn to right side the actual point is finished.......Takes time, but its worth it......and after awhile it becomes second nature.....

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