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Thread: An easy way to smooth my layers?

  1. #1
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    Hi everyone,

    I have made three quilts in the past year and am getting ready to assemble the three layers for my fourth. I swear I spend more time smoothing out the top, pinning it (or spraying it), just to flip it over and see puckers. So I remove all the pins and try it again, this time from the back. Smooth it over and over again, pin it, flip it, and now I have them on the top side! I dread having to go through this step because I waste so much time pinning and unpinning. I don't trust the spray!

    I have a nice flat working surface, I start in the middle, I keep flattening it out little by little, pinning as I go along, and I still cannot get the back to be as even as the top.

    Should I just live with the puckers and hope they won't be noticed once the quilting's done? What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks! Debbie

  2. #2
    Senior Member vjengels's Avatar
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    I used to tape my backing to the floor when I basted , then tape the batting, and the top seperately, becareful not to stretch it, just some masking tape in the corners, and in the middle of each side.
    Now I baste at the table using rails, from a video I saw from Sharon Chambers(?) anyway, search youtube for hand basting, you'll bump into it.

  3. #3
    susies1955's Avatar
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    I found this and it looks like it would work great: http://sewjournal.com/2010/09/18/bas...a-small-table/
    Susie

  4. #4
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    I use masking tape & tape the "backing" to the floor. Then add batting -smoothing out wrinkles with your hands. Then add top smoothing it out & lining it up with backing. Then start pinning from center & work your way out to edges.

  5. #5
    Senior Member DoxieMom's Avatar
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    I have the same problem. I just read another post on the board (don't remember where) that suggested heavily starching the backing fabric to prevent wrinkles when quilting. I'm going to try it on a small project to see if it works.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnajean
    I use masking tape & tape the "backing" to the floor. Then add batting -smoothing out wrinkles with your hands. Then add top smoothing it out & lining it up with backing. Then start pinning from center & work your way out to edges.

    that is exactly how i do it..except i layer the batting and then tape down the top too..then pin.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnajean
    I use masking tape & tape the "backing" to the floor. Then add batting -smoothing out wrinkles with your hands. Then add top smoothing it out & lining it up with backing. Then start pinning from center & work your way out to edges.
    I use basically the same procedure except when smoothing the batting and top, I use the edge of a yardstick - it's easy to swish across the surface and smooth out the wrinkles instead of using my hand - covers more surface and less tendancy to stretch the material.

  8. #8
    Super Member athenagwis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnajean
    I use masking tape & tape the "backing" to the floor. Then add batting -smoothing out wrinkles with your hands. Then add top smoothing it out & lining it up with backing. Then start pinning from center & work your way out to edges.
    This is exactly how I do it too. I actually do it on my rug and I have the curved pins. I stick the pin through to the rug, then lift enough to pull the three layers away from the rug and then push back through and close. I actually only end up having to fix one or two pins that are stuck in the carpet ..... hehehe ..... :)

    Rachel

  9. #9
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Heavily starch the backing fabric and spray starch the top before layering. This will help to prevent puckers so much you won't believe it!

  10. #10
    Super Member tjradj's Avatar
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    It depends on what kind of batting you're using. If you're using high loft, poly batting, it may be impossible to get no puckers when machine quilting just because of the puffiness. Use a flatter cotton batting like Warm & Natural. Definitely make sure you iron the top and backing FLAT. If it won't lay flat use starch - it can be a lifesaver if you let it sit a bit before ironing, it will take up slack areas by 20% or more. Then iron them flat taking care not to pull things out of place.
    Then tape your backing down - making sure it is tight. Apply the batting, which you have let hang for a bit out of the package to de-wrinkle, and tape it down too making sure it is taught. Now place your IRONED top overtop and start pinning in the center. Don't pin too close together because it can distort the layers. When you're sewing, make sure you take out the pins before you get too close to them. And check often that the backing is taught and pull it taught if you need to. And if it's a tiny tuck - just keep sewing because only you will notice it's there.

  11. #11
    Member mamasuze's Avatar
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    I starch my quilt backs and tops, too. Instead of taping my quilt, I use pins. I get down on the floor, lay the backing down on my rug, smooth it all out and stick straight pins all around the edges to hold it. Then I put the batting down, and carefully smooth out all the wrinkles. I add the top, smoothing it out and putting straight pins around the edges. Then I start in the middle and pin with safety pins. Once all the safety pins are in place, I pull out all the straight pins and I'm ready to quilt. I haven't had any problems with puckers.

  12. #12
    clarerowley's Avatar
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    I teach to use a fusible batting on the top - ironing it to the top first makes it much easier to line up with the back.

    I also don't teach to use safety pins - they can't remain at the needle and really increase the chances of puckers.

    I teach to also use the spray adhesive - but only 3M Spray mount. It is the one designed for photos and has all the safeguards for fabric as a result. I love it because it doesn't wash out.

    Why is it good for it not to wash away? Because once someone sits on the bed and the fabric stretches under them - the batting tears and can ball up in the middle of the front and the back.

    As for the quilting part - I use our Octi-Hoops and then we don't need to use a foot - there are -0- puckers so there is no need to start in the middle and work your puckers out - because there are no puckers.

    Hope this helps...

  13. #13
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    Is your backing starched? That's one of the first things I would do.

  14. #14
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    Is your backing starched? That's one of the first things I would do.

  15. #15
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    You can also stretch the backing too tight. then when you untape,etc. the fabric relaxes & you have a pucker. I use the black binder clips to clip the back to the table, layer batting on next.move clips to hold these 2 layers, then place top on, smooth carefully & move clips to hold 3 layers. then pin what is on top of the table. move layers over to get what hangs off the table. clip in same order. Church or Firehouse tables work great.
    Which reminds me of something that maybe you can take advantage in your area---our Guild gets to use the Fire station meeting room once a month for free because we are a non-profit. good lighting, AC, lots of tables, etc.

  16. #16
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Heavy starch the backing. Then slightly stretch it out on a surface... using tape, pins or whatever will work. You want it slightly taut, but don't get carried away,or it will pucker as it draws back in. :D:D:D

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