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Thread: Bias Problems

  1. #1
    Senior Member leggz48's Avatar
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    I'm working on a new pattern I purchased last weekend. It consists of three 1 1/2 " strips sewn together and then cut on a 45 degree angle to make eight 3 1/2" long strips....ultimately making a star. It isn't difficult, but time-consuming. I finished out 3 full blocks today and each one is bulky in the center....almost bowing out in the center. The background fabric is cut on a diagonal, but I've been careful to NOT tug on it. What am I doing wrong????

  2. #2
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    When doing a star, I usually sew one side together, then the other side, and then do one seam down the middle to join the two. You won't get a bowl or a hill doing it this way.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jljack
    When doing a star, I usually sew one side together, then the other side, and then do one seam down the middle to join the two. You won't get a bowl or a hill doing it this way.
    That's the way I do it also - seems to help

  4. #4
    Super Member gramajo's Avatar
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    I also press the seams open. I use Best Press at the center where the points meet. It doesn't seem as bulky that way.

  5. #5
    Power Poster alikat110's Avatar
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    Also, pressing seams open can help.

  6. #6
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    here is a good tutorial showing how to press to eliminate bulk when making stars



    http://video.answers.com/how-to-sew-...lock-109408356

  7. #7
    Senior Member leggz48's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gramajo
    I also press the seams open. I use Best Press at the center where the points meet. It doesn't seem as bulky that way.
    What is Best Press?

  8. #8
    Senior Member leggz48's Avatar
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    The directions take me through piecing four blocks; then sew two blocks and two blocks, then join those two sections to complete the block. I've been so diligent to cut precise, and sew the same scant 1/4" allowance.....I've pressed every section to keep the seams down AND I've pressed the last 4 seams down the center rather than to the side. Still! I plan to work on more blocks late tomorrow; will post photos if no improvement. Thanks for all your help.

  9. #9
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    best press is just a brand of starch- any starch will help= also starting at the inner point and stitching to the outside helps-
    when working with bias edges pinning (alot) helps, a good sharp needle- stitching slowly- start at inner point and stitch out toward the outter points- and starching the fabrics all help.

  10. #10
    Super Member eparys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gramajo
    I also press the seams open. I use Best Press at the center where the points meet. It doesn't seem as bulky that way.
    I do this as well including the Best Press ... BUT ...

    This is going to sound weird - but I sometimes use a small hammer on the back of the intersection while it is still hot if it is uncooperative - it sometimes coerces the seam flat!!

  11. #11
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    I waas going to mention the hammer trick, but Betty beat me to it. It really works, especially when you press the seams open and kinda make the middle a spiral. Sometimes you just have to be firm with the fabric and MAKE it do what you want. LOL
    Sue

  12. #12
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leggz48
    I'm working on a new pattern I purchased last weekend. It consists of three 1 1/2 " strips sewn together and then cut on a 45 degree angle to make eight 3 1/2" long strips....ultimately making a star. It isn't difficult, but time-consuming. I finished out 3 full blocks today and each one is bulky in the center....almost bowing out in the center. The background fabric is cut on a diagonal, but I've been careful to NOT tug on it. What am I doing wrong????
    If you haven't cut all of your fabric, I would recommend heavily starching the fabric before cutting the strips. The way I do this is to mix a 1:1 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water, "paint" the solution on the yardage with a large wall painting brush until the fabric is saturated, toss in the dryer, then iron with steam. It comes out with about the stiffness of cardboard. This will help prevent your bias edges from stretching.

    It sounds as if the "poof" you are getting in the middle of your stars may be caused by stretched fabric. In this case, spraying with spray starch and pressing up and down with an iron may help shrink the stretched areas back into position.

    Also, when sewing stars, are you aware of "fanning" the center seams? This helps reduce bulk at the very center. I think the Eleanor Burns website has some diagrams that show how to do this; there must be other tutorials online too. It's a simple technique, but it helps a lot with the center bulk in stars.

  13. #13
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I would starch heavily.
    You also mention you "then sew two blocks and two blocks, then join those two sections to complete the block"

    Before you join the two sections, make sure that the 2 seams you are about to sew are perfectly straight. If they are not straight at this point, your block will not be flat. You can try blocking the 2 halves to get the seams straight.

  14. #14
    Senior Member leggz48's Avatar
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    Update: I appreciate all the tips. Unfortunately, I have cut all the pieces so some tips are obsolete at this point. However, today I took a deep breath and worked on #4 block.....I carefully pinned all the pieces AFTER I mareked the end point with a 1/4" on each seem to converge at the middle point. I then carefully matched up all the side seams to make sure they all lined up. I then sewed CAREFULLY and pressed CAREFULLY. On the final seam between the two halves, I started at the center and sewed out to the end and then began again at the center and went the other direction. I pressed the final seam open and (happy dance).....it lays FLATTER; notice I said flatter as there is still some play in the fabric, but I am now convinced that this situation is one of those we have to live with! Thanks to all who offered help. This is the greatest site ever!!!

  15. #15
    Super Member TonnieLoree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eparys
    Quote Originally Posted by gramajo
    I also press the seams open. I use Best Press at the center where the points meet. It doesn't seem as bulky that way.
    I do this as well including the Best Press ... BUT ...

    This is going to sound weird - but I sometimes use a small hammer on the back of the intersection while it is still hot if it is uncooperative - it sometimes coerces the seam flat!!
    (I use a 16 oz Vaughan framers hammer to beat it into submission) :lol: Fabric is protected of course.

  16. #16
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    It doesn't take much to stretch the bias sides. I starch my fabric pretty good before cutting, and it keeps them nice and straight :D:D:D

  17. #17
    Super Member Glassquilt's Avatar
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    When I'm making 8-point stars, I sew two together, press and make sure they're square. If necessary I trim with my rotary. When I sew two of these sections together I press and make sure there is a straight line. Again I will trim if needed.

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