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Thread: How Do You Keep Layers From Puckering?

  1. #1
    Super Member KimS's Avatar
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    How Do You Keep Layers From Puckering?

    I fight, fight and fight some more with this!! I lay the backing layer down and smooth out as best I can. It just doesn't lay absolutely flat no matter how hard I try. The batting I can keep flat and the top is flat. It's that backing that makes me cuss up a storm!! I smooth out one wrinkle only to make 3 more!! Then, of course, when I start quilting I have little puckers in a few places. I'm not fortunate enough to have wall space to hang the pieces while basting so have to use the floor. Does anyone have tips or tricks they'd like to share for this problem?
    Kim

    Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog. ~Franklin P. Jones

  2. #2
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    I'd like to know this as well. I'm getting better, but still find little puckers!

  3. #3
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I tape the backing down taut (but not over stretched) with blue painter's tape. Then I smooth the batting on top and smooth the (well-pressed) top down. I usually work in quarter sections to make the smothering easier.

    I also plan my quilting design before placing the pins. Pins are generally hand-width apart using warm and natural batting. The tape can come of once I start pinning the sandwich.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  4. #4
    Super Member KimS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter View Post
    I tape the backing down taut (but not over stretched) with blue painter's tape. Then I smooth the batting on top and smooth the (well-pressed) top down. I usually work in quarter sections to make the smothering easier.

    I also plan my quilting design before placing the pins. Pins are generally hand-width apart using warm and natural batting. The tape can come of once I start pinning the sandwich.
    I don't think the tape will stick to carpet but that's a great idea. The livingroom is the only place where I have enough floor space. Oh to have a HUGE room for just quilting.
    Kim

    Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog. ~Franklin P. Jones

  5. #5
    Member Margo in Maine's Avatar
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    If I am working on the floor I tape with masking or painters tape....be careful it is not too tight because when you take it up it will scrunch up...I start from center and work out....
    His love is deeper still, Margo in Maine

  6. #6
    Super Member athomenow's Avatar
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    I have problems with this also. I've pinned to the carpet and it looked fine until I picked it up to machine quilt. Then the puckers really started. I will try taping to the tile floor in the kitchen next time but I'm seriously considering envelope style and tying next time.
    Debra

  7. #7
    Super Member LivelyLady's Avatar
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    Google Sharon Schamber's tutorial on basting a quilt. All you need is 2 boards and you can sit down to baste. It's the greatest technique and the only one I use to baste. (I do pin baste instead of thread basting).
    When you sleep under a quilt, you sleep under a blanket of love.

  8. #8
    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    I use the Sharon Schamber method of hand basting. I haven't had any problems since I started using this method. Plus, I don't have to get down on the floor and crawl around taping or pinning.
    You may find this method easier since you can do this at table level. Here is a link to her tutorial:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhwNylePFAA

  9. #9
    Super Member Beachbound's Avatar
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    This is why I hand quilt! I have had to use the carpeted family room floor & never could get a nice smooth backing. We just tiled our master bathroom & it may be large enough to try with my next quilt. I have evn thought of buying a ping pong table just for this purpose.
    .* .*)) -::-
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  10. #10
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Carpet just isn't the best place to sandwich a quilt, the nature of the beast means that you won't get it to lay perfectly flat and STAY perfectly flat.

    My last quilt (which was admittedly only a lap size) I did using the Sharon Schamber method of using two boards to wrap the bottom and top in. It was PERFECT and easy. This method is shown in her video for basting a quilt (which is my preferred method of sandwiching, and I use water soluble thread to baste), but you could probably use the same method for spray basting or pinning. I would still however recommend a flat smooth surface to do it on.

    Using her method though, you don't need space for the whole quilt - just the width of the quilt and a little extra. A long kitchen counter top, dining table, or even tile/wood floor would work.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  11. #11
    Super Member butterflies5518's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivelyLady View Post
    Google Sharon Schamber's tutorial on basting a quilt. All you need is 2 boards and you can sit down to baste. It's the greatest technique and the only one I use to baste. (I do pin baste instead of thread basting).
    I have done both pins and thread basting using Sharon's tutorial and my knees and back thank her immensely!
    Quilting makes me happy!..

  12. #12
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    I starch my backing. I use a banquet table or two for my quilt sandwich. They say you can
    use a card table if that's all you have available. I use bull dog clips all around and thread baste.
    I am not a pinner or sprayer. Always start in the middle and work my way out. If the quilt is
    bigger, after I've basted the center I move the sandwich to one corner, put the clips back making sure everything is taut and then baste away.

  13. #13
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    Thank you for the tutorial. I'm going to have to go get some long boards!

  14. #14
    Senior Member quiltstodo's Avatar
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    would the spray basting work? I use it to keep things together long enough to thread baste.
    Tx born CA raised

  15. #15
    Super Member katiebear1's Avatar
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    The back of my quilts never look as good as the top. Always seem to have a few puckers and eyelashes and little knots. I just don't worry about them. I make my quilts for myself or family members . It's not like I am going to show them or sell them.

  16. #16
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    I starch heavily, then I put it on my cutting table, stretch it taut(not too much though), then tape it down with painter's tape, then I do the rest of the sandwich. Although I struggle mightily with the actual quilting, I've never had a pucker.

  17. #17
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    This is one of the biggest reasons I use my LA...and yes, I realize that everyone doesn't have one...BUT, if I didn't, I'd be right in here with you.
    If you feel like you're special...it's 'cause you are!
    Momto5

  18. #18
    Super Member KimS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivelyLady View Post
    Google Sharon Schamber's tutorial on basting a quilt. All you need is 2 boards and you can sit down to baste. It's the greatest technique and the only one I use to baste. (I do pin baste instead of thread basting).
    WOW! That's awesome! Thank you so much for sharing this and will definitely get the supplies ready for the next project.
    Kim

    Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog. ~Franklin P. Jones

  19. #19
    Super Member KimS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by butterflies5518 View Post
    I have done both pins and thread basting using Sharon's tutorial and my knees and back thank her immensely!
    I can definitely see why!
    Kim

    Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog. ~Franklin P. Jones

  20. #20
    Senior Member mmdquilts's Avatar
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    I have used large safety pins to hold the backing taut when I've had to layer it on carpet. It doesn't hold quite as well as a tile floor and tape but I didn't have any puckers. When I pin basted the layers, I slid cardboard under so it wouldn't be pinned to the carpet!

  21. #21
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I heavily starch the backing before sandwiching. (Actually, I heavily starch the yardage before even creating the backing, but you can do it to the backing also.) My method is fast and easy. I mix a 1:1 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water, "paint" this solution onto the yardage until it is saturated, toss in dryer, then iron with steam.

    What this heavy starching does is stabilize the backing fabric so it doesn't stretch or distort while you are machine quilting. In my experience, it pretty much eliminates puckering. For the same reason, I starch the top before sandwiching although in that case I use layers of spray starch.

    For a quilt that is already sandwiched, spray starching both top and backing several times will add some stability and often will stop puckers if you are already having that problem.

    Spray basting also helps prevent puckering because it holds all surfaces together at all points. Pins, for example, hold the sandwich together only every 4 inches or so where the pin intersects the sandwich.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Kehoeta's Avatar
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    I used the Sharon Schamber way of basting my quilts using the two boards.... No more puckers for me..

    PS.. In one of her videos, she mentions (in passing) that she starches her backs... ABSOLUTELY works.
    I got fabric.... Now I need time .
    Theresa

  23. #23
    Senior Member YC Quilter's Avatar
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    I use Harriet Hargraves method on my kitchen island counter. I have a DR table I could use but afraid of scratching it with the pins.

  24. #24
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    a dear friend gave me some different weights that were small and square,I covered them with material and had material where I could pin them around the edges of the quilt and I put the quilt on 2 large tables at church.Works great.

  25. #25
    Super Member KimS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by momto5 View Post
    This is one of the biggest reasons I use my LA...and yes, I realize that everyone doesn't have one...BUT, if I didn't, I'd be right in here with you.
    Maybe I'll win the lottery one day and have the machine of my dreams. :-)
    Kim

    Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog. ~Franklin P. Jones

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