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Thread: What to do when your seams don't line up?

  1. #1
    diogirl's Avatar
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    I am working on a trip around the world quilt and the middle vertical seam is the only one that needs to line up... I am really nervous about trying to get the seams lined up perfectly... what do you do if you come across a seam that doesn't line up? do you stretch the fabric like mad to get it to line up or pinch the fabric causing a kink to get it to line up? What's the best way? :?:

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    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    How much is it off?

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    diogirl's Avatar
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    I haven't tried to put the two sides together yet.... I'm really hesitant to see if they don't match up.. If they don't then I will need to know what to do to make it look the best it can.. I have had that problem in the past and just had it uneven, but the two halves on this quilt need to line up perfectally or the un-evenness will be very noticable.

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    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I would start pinning from the center out and pin on both sides of EVERY matching seam. I know it's a lot of pinning - but hey, we will go the extra step for perfection. I can't imagine that you will have a lot of "play" between the individual squares.

    Do you press the seams row by row in alternating directions? I find that can help when you put the rows together as the seams "nestle" into each other.

    That said, when I have one of the pieces a little wonky, I mark both pieces in the middle and if necessary in quarters and pin on those marks. That way, the bulk of the "overage" is evenly distributed and matched to an equal amount of stretch on the "short" piece.

    Then again.....it may be perfect to start with.

  5. #5
    k3n
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    I'd pin the seams, diagonally thru each allowance works best for me, and try and ease the two layers flat. I wouldn't pinch because that shows. If there's too much to ease, I'd rip it out and redo UNLESS I could live with it. But that's happening less and less these days - I've become much more of a perfectionist, especially since posting pics of my work on here. :lol:

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    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by k3n
    I've become much more of a perfectionist, especially since posting pics of my work on here. :lol:
    Isn't it funny how a little (self-imposed) competition brings out our personal inner quilt police?

  7. #7
    diogirl's Avatar
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    I have a 1/4" foot on my machine that i use.. but when I cut out my fabric strips, I marked my fabric and cut with sissors.. My rotary cutter didn't work.. it was dull, so when I hand cut, I don't get as even as I could with the rotary cutter because of hand shaking and fabric shifting..

  8. #8
    Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diogirl
    I am working on a trip around the world quilt and the middle vertical seam is the only one that needs to line up... I am really nervous about trying to get the seams lined up perfectly... what do you do if you come across a seam that doesn't line up? do you stretch the fabric like mad to get it to line up or pinch the fabric causing a kink to get it to line up? What's the best way? :?:
    It does depend on how much the seam is off. If it is off more than a few threads, I would pick out one of the seams and resew it until it matches what I need.

    That said, the thing to do is find out why your seams are off. This is probably one problem everyone experiences from time to time. The first thing is to check your quarter inch seam. Is it a quarter inch or are you off a bit? In a quilt that uses all the same sized units, being off a bit isn't a big deal, but ONLY if all the seams are off by the same amount. If some of your seams are a perfect quarter inch and others are off, it will throw the seams off when putting them together into the quilt top.

    Another problem that is common with a lot of people is that when they are sewing and the piece is coming toward the end, they will reach down for the next piece instead of looking at the piece that is taking the last few stitches in the machine. It's a very common practice and would seem to help save a lot of time, but what happens is that the pieces can curve away at the end, so that the corner does not have a perfect quarter inch seam. It is better to guide the entire piece in and once the needle has taken the last bite of fabric and moved past the piece, stop your machine and then pick up the next pieces you want to sew together. This is most vital when working with half square triangles, because it is important to get the seams just right at the end or the points either float or are cut off when the block goes together. Just about everyone can remember a star block where the points simply would not come together right. Usually the problem is as simple as making sure the quarter inch seam remains true at both corners when sewing the initial units together.

    Geez, I hope that makes sense. Another reason for the quarter inch being off is not that your foot on your machine is off. It could actually be a result of the thread. I know, sounds crazy huh! I was amazed when I was shown how much thread can make a difference with the size of a seam. If you are using a thicker thread, you will want to move your needle over a click or two, or make adjustments with the fabric that make allowances for this. If your thread is thin, it may give you a larger seam allowance. This is one reason why it is recommended not to change thread types on the same quilt project; something I used to do a lot during my first decade of quilting. Basically, these tips are something I learned from my teachers/mentors because I was making them.

    Without seeing your quilt, it's hard to know what to suggest. I hope the above helps in some way and I can't wait to see the finished quilt. :D

    Edit: Well, when I started this post there was only 1 other post. I need to type faster. :lol:

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    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    When you were sewing your squares together, did you notice a huge variance in size between the squares? If they were pretty much the same size, then you should not have any problems, particularly since you sewed an even seam.

  10. #10
    Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diogirl
    I have a 1/4" foot on my machine that i use.. but when I cut out my fabric strips, I marked my fabric and cut with sissors.. My rotary cutter didn't work.. it was dull, so when I hand cut, I don't get as even as I could with the rotary cutter because of hand shaking and fabric shifting..
    Since you haven't sewn them together, I would measure each square to make sure it is exactly the same size. If not, you can trim a little with the scissors and it should be good. Try sewing a few and once you've ironed them, remeasure and see if they are all the same size. If they are, you are good to go! :thumbup:

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