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Thread: Preventing 1/4" seams from Unravelling

  1. #1
    Junior Member Sande's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Preventing 1/4" seams from Unravelling

    Does anyone ever worry about 1/4" seams on a quilt unravelling after a few washes? What do you do to avoid this? Does anyone serge their seams or finish seams with a zigzag stitch before putting your quilt layers together?

  2. #2
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Chula Vista CA
    Are you tying or quilting your quilt? I have not had the problem but then I do not use the "scant" 1/4 of an inch.

  3. #3
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Small town in Northeast Oregon close to Washington and Idaho
    Blog Entries
    Never had it happen to me. And I've made plenty of quilts. And washed so many of them many times. You cross over the seams with other seams, so you should be fine. And then you either quilt it or have it quilted, so you shouldn't have a problem.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
    Strong people don't put others down...they build them up."
    "Remember that your instincts are more important than rules"

  4. #4
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Knot Merrill, Southern Indiana
    I've not had it happen, but I've only been quilting for 6 years so my quilts are all relatively young. But I will say that yes - I've seen some OLD quilts where the seams have raveled and split. OLD as in antique.

    So the question is ... how long do you EXPECT your quilt to remain pristine? It might then be worth it to you to consider using a wider seam allowance. Although I would think there are other factors too that should be considered if one would expect a quilt to last several generations ... guess I never gave it that much thought!!
    Last edited by DogHouseMom; 11-02-2012 at 08:04 AM.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.


  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    The Colony, TX
    Since your seams are enclosed in the quilt you should not have any issues with your fabric unraveling, I have used as small as 1/8" seam just making sure my stitches are a little closer together and have not had any issues. My quilts get washed a lot - the one on my bed at least everyother week and it has been 12 years. Keep saying I will make another one for me - but haven't gotten there yet.

    There are a lot of antique quillts still in good shape. Those that aren't we have to think about how they were made: hand stitched which is not nearly as small and stable as machine stitching. Fabric dyes back then were more caustic causing some deterioration of fabric (some colors more so than others). We also don't know how much those were used and under what circumstances. I know a lot of the more elaborate ones were saved for special occasions but a lot were used daily under much more severe circumstances than ours will ever be used.

    Personally I believe that if you use quality materials, have a good stitch length your quilts will last longer than you will

  6. #6
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I have to agree with quiltstringz. If the quilting is close enough, there shouldn't be any stress or movement on the seams, so I wouldn't expect any raveling, unless the fabric is a very loose weave.

  7. #7
    Super Member miss_ticky2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Gold Coast, Australia
    I'm doing 3 small quilts for a friend at the moment and they're quilted with stitch in the ditch so there's no overall quilting over all the seams. These quilts are gifts she's giving for Christmas so I decided to play safe and did a zigzag on all the seams as I was constructing the tops. It didn't take long, you wouldn't know from outside and I felt better
    Blessings from Janice

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Keene, New Hampshire
    I've occasionally have had to go with an 1/8th of an inch and even a tad less. I double stitch the seam.
    It's been machine quilted and no trouble.
    Should it fall apart someday, I and the recipient will be long gone.

  9. #9
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    I only am concerned if it's a fabric that really wants to unravel or if it's a very loose weave.

    I have on occasion used a piece that was skimpy or had a clip in it - and I used fray-chek on those edges.

  10. #10
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    dayton OH
    i've never worried about it either. Cotton doesn't ravel that much, the seams are on the inside and not exposed to the washing machine, so how would they ravel? If there is a place that I'm concerned about, FrayCheck is my best friend!
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

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