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Thread: Crooked seams Help!!

  1. #1
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    I am attempting to make a Trip Around the World quilt using the method where you cut 45" strips and sew them together and then cut that into 4 1/2" blocks. When I went to cut the sections into the 4 1/2" block strips it is so crooked it comes out on the bias. I was very careful cutting it out. Used 1/4" seams. What did I do wrong? More importanst how can I fix it? I have no more fabric as I bought this in a kit several years ago. I remember now why I don't like to piece tops. This is supposed to be a wedding gift for my grandson. Thanks in advance for any advice.

  2. #2
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    When you sew your strips together, it is helpful to alternate the ends. If you always start on the same end, the strips will tend to bow.
    Check your pressing too. If you iron instead of pressing,that will bow your strips.
    Double check your seam lines, are they all straight?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    When you sew your strips together, it is helpful to alternate the ends. If you always start on the same end, the strips will tend to bow.
    Check your pressing too. If you iron instead of pressing,that will bow your strips.
    Double check your seam lines, are they all straight?
    I was wondering why my strips would bow a little. I never alternated the ends and I have a tendency to iron and not press.

    I can and have always compensated for the bow by squaring after every third cut.

    Billy

  4. #4
    Senior Member Andii's Avatar
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    Amma,
    Silly question-what is the difference between pressing and ironing? I would think pressing would just be holding the iron on the fabric and then lifting it up-is that right?

    Is there ever a time to iron instead of press in quilting?

    Thanks.
    Andii

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    Oh my Gosh!!! I took Amma suggestion and took all the strips apart. After I made sure I had cut them straight (I had) I pressed them without steam, but did use starch. Then I Sewed them back together sewing from alternate ends. It turned out perfect!! Amma is my hero. You can bet I'll always remeber this trick!! Thatnk you so much!!!!

  6. #6
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andii
    Amma,
    Silly question-what is the difference between pressing and ironing? I would think pressing would just be holding the iron on the fabric and then lifting it up-is that right?

    Is there ever a time to iron instead of press in quilting?

    Thanks.
    Andii
    Yes, that is pressing :D And there is no such thing as a silly question :wink:

    I do admit to ironing some blocks into submission once in a while using steam, streams of water, more starch, or whatever it takes :roll: :lol: But less is more in most cases. :wink:

    When I press seams open, I put the iron down on the seam to set the stitches, and then open up the block, and slide the edge of the iron across the seam, letting the edge gently open up the seam. You want the seam fully open, but if you get aggressive with a back and forth motion, (especially with steam) you can distort the piece. My goal is once across, and then you can press up and down as much as you like to get the seam to lay flat. :D:D:D

  7. #7
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    No hero here lol, I am just passing along tips that have been taught to me by other board members :D:D:D I am so glad that they worked for you!!!

  8. #8
    Super Member beachlady's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reminder about the seams.

  9. #9
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    It also helps to not sew too many strips together at the same time. Say if you have 24 strips in the set - sew them in groups of3 or 4 and then sew those together. It is almost like rotary cutting in that you need to straighten up every few cuts. It seems when the bow starts it just multiplies.

    Pressing vs ironing. Ironing - that is like you would a shirt or blue jeans tends to stretch the fabric. Pressing is just that......gently putting the iron down and moving it over. This doesn't stretch the fabric.

  10. #10
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    Hey Amma- does that ironong into submission work in other areas of our life? :lol:

    Ironing-place hot iron on fabric and move back and forth wherever it needs it.

    Pressing-place hot iron on fabric, hold, lift, move to next area, place, hold, lift, etc. Hmmm, sounds like an exercise for...

    Sorry, guess it's still too early. lol: :lol:

  11. #11
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andii
    Amma,
    Silly question-what is the difference between pressing and ironing? I would think pressing would just be holding the iron on the fabric and then lifting it up-is that right?

    Is there ever a time to iron instead of press in quilting?

    Thanks.
    Andii
    The only time I "iron" is when pressing a large backing or yardage...on blocks I set the iron down and pickit up

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    Okay let me get this right here cause I am learning something. You do not use steam when pressing blocks or ironing the material for the first time before you cut the fabric?

    I use TONS of starch and my 4" blocks can stand on edge (seriously) and I use steam when I iron the fabric the first time before cutting.

    Billy

  13. #13
    Super Member Joan's Avatar
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    Thanks, Amma, for all of your tips---these "little" suggestions are always helpful--

  14. #14
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wvdek
    Hey Amma- does that ironong into submission work in other areas of our life? :lol:
    Can't answer for amma, but you should see the look on DH's face when I just show him the iron. A few hot tacks on the butt and talk about submission. muuuuhahaha (just kidding)

    I use steam when I iron my fabric. No steam for the block and block construction. However, when I need to "block" a block, I use starch, steam, baseball bats - whatever it takes to muscle that beastie into submission!

  15. #15
    Power Poster ann clare's Avatar
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    Thank you for the tips. Still learning.

  16. #16
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    [quote=MadQuilter]
    Quote Originally Posted by wvdek
    Hey Amma- does that ironong into submission work in other areas of our life? :lol:
    Can't answer for amma, but you should see the look on DH's face when I just show him the iron. A few hot tacks on the butt and talk about submission. muuuuhahaha (just kidding)

    quote]

    Hit 'em over the head when it's cold, brand 'em when it's hot :wink:

  17. #17
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holice
    It also helps to not sew too many strips together at the same time. Say if you have 24 strips in the set - sew them in groups of3 or 4 and then sew those together. It is almost like rotary cutting in that you need to straighten up every few cuts. It seems when the bow starts it just multiplies.

    Pressing vs ironing. Ironing - that is like you would a shirt or blue jeans tends to stretch the fabric. Pressing is just that......gently putting the iron down and moving it over. This doesn't stretch the fabric.
    That is another GREAT tip, to sew them into groups first!!! Thank you for adding this!!! :D:D:D

  18. #18
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Good tips on the sewing of strips.

    Martina you are such a mean talking Lady... I know you are just kidding.

  19. #19
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lostn51
    Okay let me get this right here cause I am learning something. You do not use steam when pressing blocks or ironing the material for the first time before you cut the fabric?

    I use TONS of starch and my 4" blocks can stand on edge (seriously) and I use steam when I iron the fabric the first time before cutting.

    Billy
    I starch, always. If it has even one bias cut, it is starched board stiff like you say. :D Initially, I iron the fabric with steam, all of the wrinkles need to come out before cutting.. Once the fabric is cut, off goes the steam.
    Rarely do I use steam when constructing the blocks, as it can distort the blocks/seams. It can accentuate a bow, for example. If no steam doesn't work for some reason, then I do use it, but carefully.

  20. #20
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingleberry
    Good tips on the sewing of strips.

    Martina you are such a mean talking Lady... I know you are just kidding.
    haha - I like to keep 'em guessing. :mrgreen:

  21. #21
    Senior Member Andii's Avatar
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    Ok, Ladies, my second not silly question :D
    What do I do with the starch? Do you starch stiff as a board after it's cut or as you're constructing the blocks?
    Andii

  22. #22
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    Starch the living stew out of it BEFORE cutting.

    Billy

  23. #23
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    This is a great thread - I press and don't iron blocks but have not been using starch. Guess I'd better start.

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