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Thread: frustration

  1. #1
    Senior Member krysti's Avatar
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    frustration

    Hi! I am VERY new to quilting. I started off purchasing 2 small charm packs so I could practice piecing them together. The ones I purchased had pinked (is that right?) edges. I noticed that they all didn't match up that well, some were really uneven when I pieced them together. My seams were straight, but.....were they not all the same size?! I THINK I am ready to start my first real quilt top. I am starting small, with a small lap quilt for my little boy. I purchased fat quarters and cut the squares using my Go Baby (DH got it for me for Valentine's Day). As I began piecing them together, I was really pleased because they were going together and matching up so much better! However, I am now having trouble as the ends seem to be fraying more, and the material is getting caught up in the feed dogs. I am trying to be gentle when I remove the material; but it frayes even more. Is it something I am doing wrong, or a problem with machine, or ??? So far, my best friend has been the seam ripper

  2. #2
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    Welcome to the group! Unfortunately Mr. Ripper is a best friend to most of us!
    If the edge of the fabric is getting caught in the feed dogs, you may be making your seams too "scant 1/4"...something I did as a beginning hand piecer/quilter.
    Try making them just an oooch (is that how you spell that???) wider and this may take care of your problem.
    You do need to be sure your pieces are cut straight to the grain of the fabric for best results...straight edge of cut lining up with a thread of the fabric.
    You can always use Fray Check, but that could get kind of pricey pretty quick if you used it on all your pieces.
    legendarycandles.com
    Just discovered I qualify for FABLE (Fabric Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy)

  3. #3
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    did you starch?

  4. #4
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    Sometimes when using a zigzag foot and throat plate with a wide hole, too much fabric wants to catch or go down with the needle. A foot with a smaller opening for the needle than the zigzag foot and a throat plate with a small hole might help. Also, if your fabric isn't very thick, maybe a smaller/finer sewing machine needle would help.

    Congratulations on your accurate cutting and sewing!

    Dayle

  5. #5
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    Another thing that helps is to use a small piece of folded-up fabric to start the sewing, then feed your pieces after that. In a pinch I've even used an empty package of SweetNLow to start the stitching. Good luck - you'll get the hang of it in no time.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  6. #6
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    Use the folded piece of fabric like ArtsyOne said above. That works the best. You can also check you machine to see if you have the pressure on the foot at the highest. I find that if it is in the middle, it feeds better because cotton mostly is not a thick fabric. On mine #1 is for thin fabric like sheers, #2 is for cottons, thinner polys, etc. #3 is for denim, upholstery, thick polys, etc. Also, hold the ends of the thread from bobbin and top threads while stitching the first few stitches so that the machine will not pull the fabric in the hole. The fabric I am using now seems to like being eaten. Sometimes it is just the fabric and not what you are doing wrong. You just have to figure out how to outwit it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member krysti's Avatar
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    Thank you all so much for your tips! I am using straight 1/4 foot, so no zigzag. I did not starch (should I?) I will look at my manual to see about the pressure on my foot (because I have no clue lol). I will also try the folded piece of material to start. You're all so helpful and I thank you so much! I haven't been piecing much lately, because I found this forum and all I do is read read read but I've learned alot. Now let's just hope I can put what I've read into action and make a beautiful quilt someday! Thank you again!

    Krysti

  8. #8
    Power Poster joyce888's Avatar
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    Krysti sounds like everyone has given you some good advice. Sometimes even the best fabric will fray and starching will help that. Also if it's really bad you could pink the seams after sewing. Good luck!
    Joyce

    Four things you can't recover: The stone.....after the throw. The word......after its said. The occasion.....after its missed. The time......after its gone

  9. #9
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    And also, FYI...some charm packs are NOT cut all the same size! I have several packs of 5" charms by Moda...and they range from 45/8" to 51/4"...so even the good manufacturers are off sometimes. Be careful and good luck!
    If you feel like you're special...it's 'cause you are!
    Momto5

  10. #10
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    Yes the folded piece of fabric is the way to go.

  11. #11
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    You can use leaders to start your piecing and that prevents fabric being sucked into the throat plate. fraying depends on the fabric some fray more than others, you just might need higher quality fabric. cheaper fabric frays more.

  12. #12
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    Always hold your thread when you start if you don't use the 'leader fabrics'. And don't cut each section apart until you get them all sewn together.

  13. #13
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    This adds to the cost but is fool proof. Attach wash-away stabilizer to the back of your fabric that you are sewing. Let it extend beyond the fabric so that you start sewing it first then the fabric that you are joining together. The stabilizer only needs to be under the part that you are sewing and the part that is fraying - probably not more than 2 inches width of stabilizer no matter how wide your fabric pieces are. After your fabric is stitched, spray the stabilizer. It will dissolve away. It will have solved the problem of the fabric being eaten by the feed dogs and the fabric edges fraying, then it will dissolve away- all for a few pennies and a few minutes of preparation.
    Last edited by TanyaL; 02-21-2012 at 05:51 PM.

  14. #14
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    Did you pre-wash your fabric? I find that tends to reduce fraying because it shrinks the fabric and tightens the weave thus lessening the fraying. DON'T pre-wash your cut pieces! That's asking for trouble. You could cut your subsequent pieces a tad larger and use a 'true' 1/4 in. seam instead of a 'scant' 1/4 in. and that will give you a bit more 'wiggle room' with fraying. If you have a zig-zag hole plate on your machine, you might want to invest in a single hole plate to reduce the chance of fabric being eaten as well.

  15. #15
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    I also had problems with this when I first started quilting. At a beginners quilting class they suggested (as mentioned) purchasing a different throat plate with a small hole in it for straight stitching. I followed their advice and have had hardly any problems since. Although the purchase wasn't exactly cheap.
    Cheryl Robinson
    http://www.silverneedlestitching.com
    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

  16. #16
    Super Member patdesign's Avatar
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    Little tip, ALWAYS start your first piece with the needle down, and then try to chain piece if the pattern pieces lend themsleves to it. It will be more gentle overall on the fabrics, as noted by others make sure the fabric is cut on the straight grain. I always prewash, then iron with spray strarch, and have never had problems.
    pat design

  17. #17
    Member corkygal's Avatar
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    momto5 is correct. I can't tell you how many times I have bought charm packs and they are not a true 5 inches. Welcome to the world of quilting. You will go through many frustrations but will love the end result!!

  18. #18
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    I know a woman who calls it reverse sewing.

  19. #19
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    Never heard of starting with your needle down. I'll try that as I have a couple of students that always has first stitch problems unless the use a leader, which they forget.
    We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.

  20. #20
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    Good luck with your quilt! Everyone has given you such great advice! I plan to copy all of this wonderful information into my quilting tips! Best of luck and have fun!

  21. #21
    Super Member patdesign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olivia's Grammy View Post
    Never heard of starting with your needle down. I'll try that as I have a couple of students that always has first stitch problems unless the use a leader, which they forget.
    I teach sewing to adults, many machines which come to class have a fatal hesitation and then the machine jumpstarts, the student loses all control, starting with the needle down is easier on the motor, and gives better control since the needle is already down it does not punch the fabric down into the hole in the throat plate, however if the needle is dull and needs to be changed that can sometimes cause similar problems. I have been sewing since I was 11, which makes it 62 years now and somethings your just learn by chance.
    pat design

  22. #22
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    If you start with the needle down, is the needle down through the fabric or down next to the edge of the fabric?

  23. #23
    Super Member patdesign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TanyaL View Post
    If you start with the needle down, is the needle down through the fabric or down next to the edge of the fabric?
    It is down in the fabric where you want the first stitch to be. Usually if I am chaining, the first piece is started 1/4inch from edge, then reversed stitch to edge, then forward to insure it does not push the edge of the fabric down into the throat plate.
    pat design

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