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Absolutely Flat, Tight Show Quilts

Absolutely Flat, Tight Show Quilts

Old 06-29-2020, 06:52 AM
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Default Absolutely Flat, Tight Show Quilts

I'm relatively new to quilting and amazed at how the quilts that make it to a show all lay perfectly flat- there are no waves in the fabric at all! I have basted a quilt with 505 spray, very carefully I might add, and it has slight waves on top before I have even done any quilting at all!

I love the way the no waves/no puckers/tight quilt tops show off the actual quilt stitches so well. While I don't yet aspire to this level of quilting, I ..like to improve my quilts by "heading in the right direction".

I have starched the quilt top before even spray basting, and ironed again right after basting to set the adhesive spray. I also add pins to the basted top. And, of course, stretched and ironed the top after quilting was finished. I realize that heavily quilted quilts will show fewer waves, but I have seen many pictures of quilts that are not heavily quilted that seem to have no waves, either.

Any tips on removing/eliminating "waves" would be greatly appreciated!

Last edited by QuiltnNan; 06-29-2020 at 10:15 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps
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Old 06-29-2020, 06:59 AM
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One way some national prize winners have super flat quilts is to fuse a feather light interfacing to the back of the quilt top and backing before quilting. I have chatted with many top prize winners at quilt shows and all of them have their own 'make it work' fudge factors that will never be taught in a class.

Last edited by Onebyone; 06-29-2020 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 06-29-2020, 07:03 AM
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Sometimes I wonder if too much handling can cause stretching of the fabric.

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Old 06-29-2020, 07:12 AM
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It's the nature of fabric to stretch, and it stretches most around the edges. To prevent it, you can interface the backing as Onebyone suggested, and run a row of stitching around the edges to ease the fabric back into shape. Some art quilters add a layer of felt to keep their quilts hanging straight. I cut my outer border wider than necessary because I longarm, but also because then I can cut off the stretchiest part.
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Old 06-29-2020, 07:17 AM
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Most show quilts are “blocked” for that flat look.
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:58 AM
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A flat squared quilt starts in the beginning. I starch the fabric before cutting. I know where my 1/4" is. When I'm finished with a top, if it is 76" across the top, it is 76" across the middle, 76" across the bottom.
But blocking the quilt when finished is a good way to flatten them.

I've seen some very wavy borders in big shows too though, quilting is a learning process and I've honed my skills starting with admiring what others have done. Just finishing a quilt is progress! and I love seeing all levels of skill in shows. And honest, the only quilt police that exist are in our own head, don't measure yourself against others.

There are specific guidelines/point system quilt judges follow, here are a few.
some of the “measurable” criteria judges use to evaluate quilts in competition:

Are blocks square? Is the quilt square?
Are points in the piecing chopped off? Do the intersections line up?
Are borders straight?
Does the quilt edge wave or ripple?
Are piecing threads showing?
Do seams shadow through light fabric?
Are quilting lines straight?
If gridwork is used, is it parallel and straight?
Are curved stitching lines (or applique edges) smooth?
Can you see any starts and stops?
Can you feel any knots on the quilt back?
Is the tension generally balanced?
Is the stitch length consistent?
Is the quilting density balanced through the entire quilt design?
Is back-tracking done well?
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:32 AM
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After looking at all those questions KalamaQuilts, I now know for sure that none of my quilts will ever be quilt show eligible! lol Good thing I do this crazy thing called quilting for fun.
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:32 AM
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i never cut my borders across the width of the fabric.
i always cut up the warp - even if it means i have to piece the border strips.

if you cut on the warp, your strips won't [warp.]
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Old 06-29-2020, 03:53 PM
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Too many details for me. I never plan to enter any of my quilts in a show.

I make my quilts to be used. Most of them I donate, give away or keep for my own use.

I do the best I can do and get them done.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:05 PM
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For a "simple" quilt - I would think it would take about as long for an experienced quilter to "do it well" as to "do it so-so."

And about the same amount of fabric and other supplies to "do it well" or "do it so-so."

Note: I said experienced.

But - your quilts, your standards.
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