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Thread: Need advice on puckers

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Need advice on puckers

    Okay, so I finally have my quilt sandwiched together and am machine quilting it. The top stitching looks great, but the bottom fabric is all puckered where the stitches are. I use just the regular presser foot because I can't see where my needle's going with the walking foot. I know the bottom usually shrinks up a little after it's quilted, and I try to keep it as tight as I can while sewing.

    I thought maybe if I adjusted the tension on the bobbin it would help, but my new machine has no instructions for doing that. It only tells how to adjust the top tension, which isn't the problem. I don't even know if that would help.

    Anybody have any ideas on how to fix this?

  2. #2
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    how is your quilt sandwich basted? thread? spray? pins? sounds as if it is not held tight enough...and you should be able to see exactly where you are stitching with a walking foot...i've never seen one that blocks your view...what kind of machine do you have?
    i would think you need to baste it better-if you are not sure how to do that there are a number of tutorials/videos- just look for (basting your quilt sandwich) when everything is tight you should not get puckers....should ask though...what kind of batting are you using? if you are using a very lofty-polyester batting made for comforters- tying your quilt may be a better route to take...if you are using a regular quilt batt (like warm & natural, hobbs, dream batt, ect.) then it is probably not the problem- not having the backing tight- basted well is probably the problem-
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
    Super Member PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Adjusting the tension on your bobbin won't help. I think you are going to have to practice with your walking foot on some sample quilt sandwiches to become comfortable with your needle placement.
    Also, when you make your quilt sandwich, the backing should be taut, not stretched, but with some tension so there are no wrinkles.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  4. #4
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    I had exactly this problem before I started using basting spray. I used to pin closely and still got puckers. Then I moved to basting 3" apart all over and still got puckers. I also don't like using a walking foot because of the lack of visibility. When I used basting spray for the first time, the difference was like night and day and I haven't had a single pucker since.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  5. #5
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    Do you mean the bottom bobbin thread is too tight causing the bottom stitching to kind of gather?If that is the case, is there a tiny screw on your bobbin case? If there is a screw, it is tighty rightly and lefty loosey for the screw on MY bobbin case.Before touching the screw........note the position so you can put it back to the factory setting when done quilting. Make up a few sample sandwiches and turn the screw a litte for each sample sandwich until you get a nice stitch.
    If you are talking about puckers in the back as you quilt because the back fabric is moving, that is why I use Hobbs 80/20 fusible batt for my quilts. I don't get puckers with the fusible batt. I like the 505 basting spray also for the same reason, no puckers on the back.

  6. #6
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    If the fabric moves at all while quilting, you will end up with puckers/pleats. There are many different methods for basting the sandwich together and I think I've tried them all. I've recently tried using liquid washable glue (Elmer's School Glue) with wonderful results (better with cotton batting). I like it much better than spray adhesives because I know that the glue will wash out 100% with no staining. I can machine quilt through the glue, even the spots where it globbed coming out of the bottle. Once the glue is dry (ironed or airdry) the sandwich is secure and won't budge, regardless of how much handling it gets during the quilting process. The best part of glue basting....it is very cheap!

  7. #7
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Have you tried increasing the stitch length? I usually quilt at 3 or even 3.5 mm. If you smooth the sandwich with your hands on either side of the needle and sew slowly, that often helps too. If that doesn't help, your sandwich may not have been as taut as it needed to be.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Weezy Rider's Avatar
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    I'd agree with not being able to see with a walking foot. I have a Pfaff with IDT and I use an open toe foot for straight line and in the ditch quilting. I took one look at the walking foot with the Brother 1500S - spray basted the wall hanging, and used the zipper foot. I only had one slight pucker, and that was where I'd eased in a slightly larger piece of fabric.

  9. #9
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    Spray basting really helps because it connects all three layers at all points of the surfaces. Pins, in contrast, are connecting the layers only every 4" or so.

    Another thing that really helps to prevent puckers on the back is to heavily starch the backing fabric before layering. This stabilizes the backing fabric so it doesn't stretch and is less likely to fold over on itself. My method is to mix a 1:1 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water, "paint" this on the yardage with a large wall painting brush until the fabric is saturated, allow a minute or two for the starch to be absorbed, toss in the dryer, then iron with steam. The fabric comes out pretty stiff. It is much easier to sew a pucker into soft fabric than into stiff fabric.

  10. #10
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    I should add that spray starching the back even after sandwiching can help with puckers. You can lay the quilt out on a sheet, backing side up, and mist with spray starch. Use a fan to speed drying, then mist again. Several layers of spray starch will help stabilize the backing. Might not prevent all puckers, but should help.

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