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How to get the flattest quilt with no crinkling?

How to get the flattest quilt with no crinkling?

Old 09-05-2021, 04:14 AM
  #1  
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Default How to get the flattest quilt with no crinkling?

Hello everyone
I'm making very big picture quilts using Essex Linen and I need them to be as crinkle free as possible for photographing. Those of you that like a smooth, flat look, could you help by sharing your method? These are the questions that I'm trying to answer but there are so many variables!

Do you prewash your fabric?
Do you starch or size or nothing before cutting out?
Do you prewash your batting? (I use Heirloom wool and it says not to prewash - although it acknowledges s a 3-5% shrink rate and I think that would likely be enough to create a crinkle. I washed a small piece as an experiment and it went out of true, which makes me think that there would be at least some pulling across the width of a queen size quilt )
Does starching or sizing make any difference at the quilting stage?
Do you use cotton thread for piecing and if so do you think it shrinks and creates wrinkling?
Which kind of thread do you using for quilting, and does it seem to shrink?
Do you wash after the quilt is finished?
If you don't post-wash, how do you get rid of markings? How do you keep the quilt perfectly clean during making?!
Do you starch or size or nothing when doing a final press?
Any other tips to avoid crinkling?!


Thanks so much - I've been doing this a while but have finally decided I need to resolve this problem!
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Old 09-05-2021, 05:00 AM
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Can respond to a few of your questions. For a totally flat look; photo top before quilting, then again after quilting.
Wool batting gives the highest loft and quilting definition. For a flatter look, use a thin (1/8 inch) cotton batt and no washing before photos.
I do prewash fabric.
When finished, I soak in warm water in the bathtub, squeeze out water into towels, then lay flat, smoothing into shape, on the carpet to dry. In this super dry summer of Sierra Nevada's of California, drying on the carpet is no problem
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Old 09-05-2021, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by petthefabric View Post
Wool batting gives the highest loft and quilting definition. For a flatter look, use a thin (1/8 inch) cotton batt and no washing before photos.
Ah thanks Petthefabric! I like the loft of the wool as it gives a plumper, smoother, unwrinkled look if you see what i mean. I do need to show the quilting too as it is very much part of the art (perspective lines etc). I guess I should have said smooth rather than flat, sorry folks!

I think there are two approaches, both with downsides:
No washing at all, being VERY careful not to have any dust or dirt anywhere near the quilt at any point, impeccably clean hands/gloves etc. Then starch and press.
My problem with this is: 1. what if it gets dirty and I have to post wash without having prewashed- these are huge art quilts and clients expect perfection. 2.I mark a LOT so would need a marker that can easily be erased, but not by heat (pressing the top after piecing) or water (bcs won't be post-washing. Not sure that exists anywhere!)

OR
prewash everything including batting, sew using the least 'shrinky' thread, followed by postwash, careful drying, and starch/press. This is safer in terms of dirt, but so.. much.. slower.
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Old 09-05-2021, 06:39 AM
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Back the quilt top and backing with lightweight stabilizer before quilting. Pre shrink the batting by spraying with water and put in hot dryer. For wall hangings and place mats I use deco bond for batting. It is flat as a picture. If you want your fabric stiff as paper use Terial Magic. It washes out.
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Old 09-05-2021, 10:03 AM
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I will definitely try shrinking the batting like that - great idea @Onebyone . I think deco bond would be too flat though - see above post, I mispoke when I said flat - should've said smooth/non-crinkly!
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Old 09-05-2021, 10:54 AM
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You might consider googling topics like:

Preparing a quilt for exhibition
Perfectly flat quilts with blocking

You are operating in a realm I am totally unfamiliar with.

For "flat" - not crinkly - quilts in the "okay for kids to use on a couch" category - I soak fabric in very hot water for a couple of hours, then wash and dry gently - it is my opinion that agitation is what makes washed fabric look "worn/used".

I use Warm and Natural batting - and also soak that in the washing machine for a couple of hours, then when the water has cooled, I add a bit of detergent and wash and dry gently.

I also am of the opinion that fabric should have "adequate" body without starch/sizing - but if a person wants to use it for stability - that would make sense to me. Another opinion of mine - using starch/sizing to "plump up" fabric is a very temporary fix for fabric with little body. Next time it is washed, it goes limp again.

I use fabrics/fibers that can tolerate a fairly warm iron.

The quilting design(s) will also affect the flat/smooth look. Dense quilting in some areas and sparse quilting in others will make for "unevenness" . If a quilt has very dense quilting in the center and little or no quilting on the edges/borders - it will lay "funny" - because the edges will be wavy as compared to the center.

Maybe make a small sample to test your theories about how the components will behave when used together?


Last edited by bearisgray; 09-05-2021 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 09-05-2021, 02:33 PM
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Iron-on interfacing seems a good idea, or the light backing (that won't wash away) used in machine embroidery - also iron-on.
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Old 09-05-2021, 02:46 PM
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That is very interesting about the agitation @bearisgray and makes complete sense. I will try soaking rather than washing (not sure if my machine has a soak function so it may have to be the bath..)

Since the quilts are primarily intended as wall art rather than use, I think I'm ok with starching although I do know what you mean about it not substituting for fabric quality.

I'm actually still not sure I've been clear yet - so sorry, this must be frustrating for everyone. I don't mean wobbly outer edge or rippling across the body of the quilt, which can usually be fixed by blocking. What I mean is the tiny gathering around the quilting lines that creates a crumpled, crinkled look within the quilt lines rather than a smooth gently padded, rounded look in between the qullt lines. Two examples grabbed from the internet below - first is smooth, second is crinkly!





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Old 09-05-2021, 07:10 PM
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If you want to soak you can put the batting in the washer, fill with water & turn off for a certain amount of time then drain & spin.
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Old 09-06-2021, 12:57 AM
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@ctrysass2012 Ah yes I hadn't thought of that!
@Gay Yes, I will test interfacing as @Onebyone suggests. It may be a bit crispy :-D But there's only one way to find out eh?
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