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Thread: Seams coming apart in quilt

  1. #1
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    Post Seams coming apart in quilt

    I help with my local chapter of Project Linus, and a few times we've received quilts that, after washing, have seams that come apart. I always tell the coordinator that she should tell the quilter, that the quilter would want to know.

    Well...

    Now it's happened to me. Ouch! A quilt I made for the coordinator's friend came apart when washed. I'm getting it back to day so I can figure out what went wrong and try to fix it.

    She told me that it looks like there's not enough fabric where the seams meet for the seam allowance, which I could understand if I had been working on the fly and not paying attention, but I worked pretty hard on this one and I'm pretty sure all of my seam allowances were a quarter inch or darn close. I thought maybe it was during a time when my tension was off and maybe the stitches had fallen out, but no. I am wondering now if perhaps some of the fabric shrunk and some didn't? I did wash it before I gave it away, so I don't know.

    Not looking forward to fixing this, but of course I will...

  2. #2
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    When you get it, check the thread to see if it was the thread that broke? If there is fabric to be sewn(not all frayed) you should be able to hand sew the pieces back together with an invisible ladder stitch.

  3. #3
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    Personally, I think you hit the nail on the head. Yes, different fabrics will shrink/ravel at different rates. This is one reason why I always pre wash my fabrics. I prewash my fabrics as I expect the end product to be washed. I have found that some fabrics may shrink as much as 5% and some not at all.
    I used to work in a fabric mill. Actually fabric does not shrink but is returning to it's actual size when washed. During fabrication, threads are stretched, then the fabric is stretched over large drums when being printed, then stretched again when steamed and pressed, and stretched when being rolled onto tubes and bolts.
    Good luck with the repair!
    Crashnquilt


    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!

  4. #4
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    Your seams on the side you were sewing may have been a 1/4" but how about the underside? I have had the piece underneath sometimes move. It looks like I have a good seam but then when I look at the other side it barely caught and would have come out in the wash

  5. #5
    Senior Member omaluvs2quilt's Avatar
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    I had one of my quilts SITD by a longarmer and when I got it back (not washed or anything), a couple of the seams were separating. I pressed all seams to the side, so didn't understand this either. I'm guessing that the needle was larger and maybe broke some of my threads? I just blanket stitched them and they were fine. The quilt has now been washed numerous times and no issues.

  6. #6
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    Well, I got it back and looked at it. Interestingly enough, it's pretty much the same fabric that's shredded and come loose, but it's one color out of a bunch of fat quarters I used of the same type. I had about five purple fat quarters in different shades, and it's only the one shade. So why only one would fall apart, I don't know. I am not going to fix it because it's quite likely it will just fall apart in other spots since that fabric is faulty.

    Also, the batting (a polyester) has completely shredded inside. I only tied this quilt, and yes, I didn't tie it every five inches or whatever the instructions said, I confess I slack on that, but still...the batting is a complete mess inside. I only made this last year. I've been using Warm and Natural cotton batting since, and I think I will stick with that in the future.

    It's all very discouraging...

  7. #7
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    When I finish a quilt I wash it in hot water on heavy duty cycle and dry it in a hot dryer. I have found many trouble spots on the quilt before giving away by doing this. I tell the owner to wash the quilt only when dirty, in warm water on gentle cycle. I have yet to determine why some seams seem to shred and other not.
    Got fabric?

  8. #8
    Super Member PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    The different dies used for different colors effect the fabric. Some make the fabric stiffer/sturdier, some don't add much. If it seems like only one fabric had a problem, could be the die or that particular fabric was a looser weave than the others. In addition to looking at your seam allowance, take a look at your stitch length. I piece using a short stitch length to really secure the seams. As far as the batting issue, you really do need to pay attention to what it says on the package. You want to make sure that you stitch or tie within the recommended guidelines. If it says 5" (or whatever) it's 5" in all directions.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  9. #9
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    maybe you could add skinny folded strips on the seams and stitch down on both sides. it would change the look but it would be sturdier. good luck.

  10. #10
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    5" is way too far apart to tie a quilt. It could have been bad fabric or bad thread (some polys will melt when ironed, some cotton thread can be far too old to hold up), but a big distance apart on a tied quilt allows far too much stress on seams, ties, and batt.

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