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Thread: help with slightly wavy borders

  1. #1
    Senior Member rush88888's Avatar
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    help with slightly wavy borders

    when i added the border to this quilt, it was super ruffly. i unsewed and let it and me stew for awhile. finally, i added the border again. this time it is ever so slightly ruffled. it will stay this way. i plan on having it quilted professionally with a long-arm machine. my question is this: how will the slight ruffles affect the outcome of the quilting process? can the ruffling be eased in? i know that the quilter will have to keep an eye on it, and it will probably cost a little bit more for this added bit of attention. ok, you long-armers, give me the low-down. thank you in advance.

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    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    I never have wavy borders. I'm not the best quilter by far, but for some reason (knock on wood) my borders always lay flat. I don't know what I do 'right' to make them lay flat. I know I don't measure my quilt in the middle. Never have. I don't measure it anywhere. I just make sure I have enough border (always a few inches extra) to go from one end to the other and sew it. And I never have wavy borders. My LAer told my LQS owner that she is very impressed with my sewing. I was shocked because I don't do the things that everyone else does - like measure the middle of the quilt and make your borders that size. But it works for me and I'm not changing.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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    You must be my quilting twin!

  4. #4
    Senior Member rush88888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcrow View Post
    I never have wavy borders. I'm not the best quilter by far, but for some reason (knock on wood) my borders always lay flat. I don't know what I do 'right' to make them lay flat. I know I don't measure my quilt in the middle. Never have. I don't measure it anywhere. I just make sure I have enough border (always a few inches extra) to go from one end to the other and sew it. And I never have wavy borders. My LAer told my LQS owner that she is very impressed with my sewing. I was shocked because I don't do the things that everyone else does - like measure the middle of the quilt and make your borders that size. But it works for me and I'm not changing.
    i measured the first time...albeit incorrectly. so, i said forget about measuring it, and this is the result. i wonder if it is the nature of the beast (batik).

  5. #5
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Measuring is a good thing. However I've never been really comfortable with the direction to measure in the center, top, bottom, and average. All three should measure the same (or very, very close to the same). If they don't, there's another problem going on. It seems to me that the first priority should be to fix that problem.

    As far as what to expect with a longarmer, that really depends on how bad the ruffling is (it doesn't look that bad in your picture) and how experienced the longarmer is. It could be that the finished quilt won't lie flat, or that it won't be completely square, but while it's in use that won't really matter. The problem is more likely to show up when you lay the quilt out to be photographed, or when it's hung in a show. If you block the quilt (possibly necessary every time it's washed) you may be able to force it to be flat and square.

    Your quilt is very, very pretty. I would encourage you to take the borders off again, measure carefully, trim to size, and sew them on again without ruffles. I think the quilt deserves that. And you shouldn't give up on yourself by accepting something that you know can be fixed. You might try using a walking foot when sewing on the borders, definitely pin in lots of places, and (if necessary) place the fabric that needs to be eased against the feed dogs. But if you really don't want to take the borders off yet again (and I can understand your frustration) then just ask the longarmer whether she thinks the ruffles can be quilted out, and whether she has experience in doing that. And ask yourself if it's okay with you if the quilt's edges don't lie flat. (Probably no one will ever notice, unless you show them.)

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    The first time I attempted borders, I had to take them off 7 times! because of waves. I was ready to give up until a friend as me if I was pinning them to the top before sewing them on (which I was not). I pinned them on every 3-4
    inches and finally they came out perfect. I don't measure through the center either and always cut an inch or so extra but the pinning seems to work for me.

  7. #7
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    these are suggestions for future quilts since you have already decided to not change this one.

    you didn't mention whether or not you used a walking foot.
    if you didn't, i highly recommend you use one for future borders.
    they are also very helpful when attaching binding.

    i never cut my border strips across the width of the fabric. (weft/woof)
    i cut up the length of the fabric. (warp)

    this will sometimes mean additional piecing to get borders the length i need, but it's well worth the effort.

    the woof/weft stretches.
    the warp does not.

    little saying to help me remember:
    the fabric's warp will not [warp].

  8. #8
    BMP
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    As a LA'er point of view, I would take them off and do the measuring and resew them. It makes it very hard to do quilts that have boarders that are wavy, and it will be out of square for sure. You might have to trim alot of the boarder after the quilting to get it square therefore they will not be the same width on all sides. I have never gotten wavy boarders when I measure in the center and then carefully pin at each end and middle then pin very closely inbetween those points. When we get a quilt in thats like that we always attach a sheet of instructions on how to properly do boarders for the customer to use later !!! Sometimes there have been some that are so bad that tucks have been done to ease in the boarder.....Its worth the time to re-do them and get used to doing them properly in the future you will be happier with the final product....

  9. #9
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I use a method that Bonnie Hunter suggests on Quiltville:

    http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/...der-hints.html

    Instead of measuring the quilt then measuring the borders, you lay the quilt out, lay the border fabric out on top of it (middle), smooth the fabric out and cut it. Measuring tapes can stretch as well as fabric stetching. When I am doing borders longer than the bed or table I am working on, I smooth out as much as I can and pin, then move the quilt and do the rest. I mark both the quilt and border into 1/4s and line them up at those points. I use lots of pins, every few inches at least. I never have wavy borders using her method. I don't usually use the walking foot to attach, but it could be helpful. Whenever I can, I cut my borders by length of fabric (don't care for them pieced).

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    BMP
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    Quote Originally Posted by katier825 View Post
    I use a method that Bonnie Hunter suggests on Quiltville:

    http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/...der-hints.html

    Instead of measuring the quilt then measuring the borders, you lay the quilt out, lay the border fabric out on top of it (middle), smooth the fabric out and cut it. Measuring tapes can stretch as well as fabric stetching. When I am doing borders longer than the bed or table I am working on, I smooth out as much as I can and pin, then move the quilt and do the rest. I mark both the quilt and border into 1/4s and line them up at those points. I use lots of pins, every few inches at least. I never have wavy borders using her method. I don't usually use the walking foot to attach, but it could be helpful. Whenever I can, I cut my borders by length of fabric (don't care for them pieced).
    Thats the exact method I use and never a wavy boarder !!! I do however piece mine if needed but never end to end I miter my joints

  11. #11
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    I always cut my borders to fit, pin, pin, pin, use a walking foot to sew them on, and I never have a problem.

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    When I was renting time on a LA, the lady that trained me told me that when she gets an unsquared quilt she can do an all over pattern (with the computer) and simply adjust the pattern for the uneven portion when she gets to the bottom. To a judge's eye I'm sure it wouldn't be acceptable, but to the average person I'm sure they don't even notice if the pattern is a bit wider or longer at the bottom. I don't know if this would work for waves, but if it's pulled a little tighter as it's being quilted, maybe?

    I don't measure in the center or on the ends. I use a piece of border that's longer than the top and cut it off to square when it's sewn on. If I'm doing a patterned border I'll pin it so it's just right. I have a Pfaff though, so maybe the IDT helps? I've been told by my trainer (who does lots of people's quilts) that my quilts are unusually squared and perfect. Ha! what a silly lady!

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    BMP
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    The problem is that the boarder is stretched while seing them on if you arent careful, I still feel the best foolproof method is to measure and pin carefully, its much easier to take a few extra minutes and steps and only have to do once ...

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    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    I would remove the borders, and start over. What I do (if I do not have a surface big enough, can't use the floor anymore), but I now do it for all my borders is:
    fold your quilt in half, finger pinch a fold in the exact middle. Do the same with the border. Match the two tiny folds and pin from center to end. Then sew from center to end. Do the same with the other center. Use a walking foot also. It helps feed the fabric evenly. Also try starching the border to make it stretch less before you start.
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  15. #15
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    As long as I sew with the border on top and the quilt on the underside, everything is ok.

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    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I cheat. I smooth the border until flat and where the excess is I pleat it and sew it down with an angle seam. No one has ever noticed and after quilting it's not even noticeable. Another tip is to use adding machine tape instead of a tape measure if you do measure across the middle and ends. The paper won't stretch. Cut it the length and width you need.
    Got fabric?

  17. #17
    Senior Member MamaHen's Avatar
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    I agree with dunster & BMP- I have had quilts come in that look good until I get down to the borders, have taken them off myself and fixed because I did not want them thinking that I did a lousy job quilting. Gave them instructions on how to keep that from happening again. Measure and measure again, pin, pin, pin. In the end you'll be glad you did.

  18. #18
    Super Member Justquilting's Avatar
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    What I do is measure the center of the quilt. I use a measuring tape that doesn't stretch. I cut the border to this size I then find the center of the quilt & the border & pin. Then pin the ends then work in the center of each end. Do the other side with the same measurement. This should make each side the same.
    Do what you want...Love what you do!!

  19. #19
    Super Member eparys's Avatar
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    I am afraid I too would take the border off and redo it.

    I have always done the three measures and then averaged them for the borders. Recently a friend who LAs for her business told me she ONLY measures the middle. Most of my quilts are pretty close but occasionally I get one side that off a bit. Here is what I do

    Determine how long (and like PatriceJ, I prefer length of fabric to width because of the stretchyness -not even sure that is a word - lol - of the woof threads) and cut two identical pieces.

    Pin both ends, then the middle, then the middle of that (you get the drift - lol) ... If there is extra fabric anywhere - ease it in carefully (I use lots of pins for that). If you have one edge where a lot that needs to be eased in, you can use the old seamstress trick - run one line of stitching just inside the seam allowance with a loose tension - then like you were going to gather, gently ease in the fabric you need . Then sew.

    Good Luck
    Betty

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    Quote Originally Posted by BMP View Post
    The problem is that the boarder is stretched while seing them on if you arent careful, I still feel the best foolproof method is to measure and pin carefully, its much easier to take a few extra minutes and steps and only have to do once ...
    I agree; if you do it this way you can ease it in if needed. I start pinning the border onto the quilt in the center and work my way out to each end. It is so easy to stretch fabric, even if it isn't on the bias if it's not pinned and you are just guiding it along. Also, cutting on the bias isn't needed unless you are doing curves. I normally never cut on the bias. The boarder and binding take a lot of abuse so if you can cut it on the straight of grain it will be more stable thru out the life of the quilt. I'm much rather take a few minutes to measure and pin than trying to fix a wavy border or even to deal with it.
    Judy

  21. #21
    Super Member CorgiNole's Avatar
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    I'll add another viewpoint... if you don't need the extra length and width that the border provides, I would leave it off altogether. The quilt is striking, and I think it would be stunning as a borderless quilt, perhaps with a pieced binding from the various fabrics showcased it in.

    Otherwise, I agree, take them off an remeasure.

    Cheers, K

  22. #22
    Super Member Justquilting's Avatar
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    You can also put the side that has more stretch on the bottom...that wy the feed dogs eases it in
    Do what you want...Love what you do!!

  23. #23
    Super Member QultingaddictUK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daylesewblessed View Post
    As long as I sew with the border on top and the quilt on the underside, everything is ok.
    A really good tip, BTW I don't measure either

    I used to get a wave in my borders until I got this tip.

    Pin your border to your quilt which is on the bottom, pin every 3 - 4 inches and start to sew from the top, when you have stitched an inch or two, remover the 1st pin you come to and hold the border material and give it a very, very slight pull, stitch, continue to next pin which you remove and carry on all the way down, giving that very slight pull on your border fabric until you get to the bottom inch or so relax and finish the stitching, you will never ever get a wavy border again.

    PS I agree with the other ladies for such a pretty quilt I really would suggest you remove the border and try again, a pain I know but it will be worth it for such a pretty quilt.

  24. #24
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I know it is such a pain to remove stitching, but, I agree I would remove it and redo!!!! Beautiful quilt!

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    Wavey borders

    Hi,

    I would take the borders off and re measure them. When putting them on do you hold it like when you are putting your binding, with a bit of tension there?

    I have just finished my first paying customer quilt and it was a baptisam of fire. All the borders were out of true, I had to square it up but I refused to take the borders off and re do them. Client just told me to quilt it the best I can.

    Spray starch has been my lifesaver with this quilt.

    Jenny

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