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Thread: Question about cutting squares on the bias

  1. #1
    Super Member Teacup's Avatar
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    I am going to do an on-point setting for a project. Due to the directional pattern of the fabric, I am going to have to cut the block on the bias rather than straight of grain, so that the pattern is correctly positioned in the "diamond" when it is on point. Does that description make sense?

    Anyway, is there something I should do to stablize the fabric so it does not stretch? Should I put a lightweight iron-on stabilizer on the back before cutting? If so, what kind? Would simply starching it very well prevent bias stretch? Should I just leave it alone and cut and handle it carefully and hope for the best?

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. #2
    Super Member Minda's Avatar
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    I use a walking foot for piecing, and I never get any stretching when I sew bias seams. I use my walking foot for almost everything.

    I also think starching is a good idea.

  3. #3
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I would just cut it very carefully so it doen't stretch. Then use a walking foot to sew it.

  4. #4
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    Using the walking foot sounds good. :lol:

  5. #5
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    A walking foot and give it a couple of good doses of spray starch :wink: :wink: :wink:

  6. #6
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    I would starch the fabric heavily before cutting.

    What I do is mix Sta-Flo liquid starch 1:1 with water, "paint" this on the fabric with a wall painting brush (my kitchen island is the right height), throw the starch-saturated fabric in the dryer, and then iron it with steam. The fabric ends up being similar in stiffness to lightweight card stock, and any bias-cut edges don't stretch.

    I would not use even a lightweight fusible because it makes the fabric permanently stiffer. The starch will wash out completely and leave the fabric with its original softness and drape.

    Incidentally, starching also helps prevent any stretching when machine quilting. I use the same starching technique on my quilt backing fabrics before layering, as then I am sure there will be no tucks or puckers. I also use this technique before cutting bias binding strips.

  7. #7
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    I would starch the fabric heavily before cutting.

    What I do is mix Sta-Flo liquid starch 1:1 with water, "paint" this on the fabric with a wall painting brush (my kitchen island is the right height), throw the starch-saturated fabric in the dryer, and then iron it with steam. The fabric ends up being similar in stiffness to lightweight card stock, and any bias-cut edges don't stretch.

    I would not use even a lightweight fusible because it makes the fabric permanently stiffer. The starch will wash out completely and leave the fabric with its original softness and drape.

    Incidentally, starching also helps prevent any stretching when machine quilting. I use the same starching technique on my quilt backing fabrics before layering, as then I am sure there will be no tucks or puckers. I also use this technique before cutting bias binding strips.
    Prism99 ~ when you starch the back stiff like that, how do you handle it when quilting to get the extra out of your way? Do you roll it? Isn't that akward to handle?

  8. #8
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katier825
    Prism99 ~ when you starch the back stiff like that, how do you handle it when quilting to get the extra out of your way? Do you roll it? Isn't that akward to handle?
    I loosely accordion pleat; found it works much better for me than rolling. The starched backing fabric doesn't make the quilt any more difficult to manipulate.

    Once fabric is starched the way I described and cut into blocks, the blocks have that level of stiffness I described (enough even to not tunnel when doing satin stitching). However, on backing fabrics the stiffness is not that apparent -- maybe because the piece is so much bigger? I can hold a square of starched fabric and it looks like a piece of paper (doesn't droop), but a starched backing piece won't do that. Plus, I think the starch basically gets broken down as the fabric is handled.

    For a really large quilt (I make mostly smaller quilts) a solution of 1:2 Sta-Flo:water might be better than 1:1 for the backing. It would still have enough stiffness to prevent puckers and tucks on the back. I'm just an "over-kill" kind of person, I guess. I found that I really like max stiffness in the fabric as long as it washes out later. The stiffness seems to prevent a lot of errors that used to dismay me (especially finding tucks in the underside of the quilt after machine quilting!).

  9. #9
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply Prism99! I think accordian pleats is easier than rolling too. I will have to add this to my list of techniques to try. :)

  10. #10
    Super Member Teacup's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for your assistance. Looks like heavy starch and the walking foot are the way to go. I've never used the walking foot for piecing...I'll give it a try. Thanks also for the suggestion of starching the backing. I'll keep that in mind.


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