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Thread: This may be a really wacky question

  1. #1
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    This may be a really wacky question

    I was taught that when sewing, if one of the fabrics is just slightly longer, put it on the bottom and the feed dogs will ease it in. I've seen this work, so OK. But...if this is true, how can we sew together two fabrics that are exactly the same size and the top one doesm'e end up longer at the end of the seam? Either the feed dogs pull in more fabric or they don't. Thanks for any input...this is really bothering me.

  2. #2
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    that is how borders end up ripply. The prepared border needs to fit perfectly and be fed together or there will be fabric left over at the other end

    for seams, a yard-ish, I pin in the middle and be sure as I feed the 2 layers of fabric pinched gently between my fingers
    Shorter than that I made sure they are even lengths going in and pinch gently as they go through, checking to make sure they are together at the rear end as I go.

    even a 10" block seam can get off if not kept in check.
    Last edited by KalamaQuilts; 06-12-2018 at 01:27 PM.

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    I was instructed to hold the fabric up about 6-8 inches to allow the feed dogs to ease the longer bottom fabric. If laying flat it does not ease it.

  4. #4
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    When I sew long seams like borders, I pin, glue, press then sew.
    Works like a charm. I also starch all my fabric.

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    Thanks for asking. I have already learned from the responses.
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  6. #6
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I pin all borders in center at ends and half way between end and middle. I hold in between pins. Works perfect for me.
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    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I secure each end of the seam and the middle for anything over 8 inches.
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    Some machines have even feed feet that work better than others. Both of my Brother's will pull a little bit extra on the bottom if I don't hold them together snugly. And by a little bit, on a 4 inch seam, I will lose a 16th of an inch. Not much, but to me it makes a difference when I am trying to keep everything square. I watched Jordan of Jordan's fabrics sew on a commercial Consew and her machine pulls fabric through beautifully. Some of the Pfaff's have even feed feet. I haven't used one so don't know if they are really better or not. Oddly, when paper piecing, the seams will stay even without me holding them snugly. I have to believe it is because the paper by itself will never give any, whereas fabric will.

    For borders, I pin, pin, pin. I mark and pin the top and the bottom and then at the center point, at the 1/4 point on each side of the center and still hold my material snugly. I add pins if I have more than a foot between pins. I have had only 1 wiggly border when doing this and I believe it was because I cut my border on WOF which gives it more pull/stretchiness. I have learned to cut my border material first along the selvedge edge so that the borders don't have any stretchiness in them. If my blocks seem to be stretchy, I will staystitch the enter border edge before adding the final border.
    Last edited by Barb in Louisiana; 06-12-2018 at 04:59 PM.
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  9. #9
    Super Member petthefabric's Avatar
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    This problem is created as the feed dog pull the bottom fabric, while the top fabric has the drag of the pressure feet.
    The straight stitch Brother Nouvelle 1500S has made accomodation for the problem with the pen just behind the pressure foot, that coordinates with the feed dog. It will sew a long seam without the fabric shifting.

  10. #10
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    Perfectly reasonable question. If you pin, glue, baste 2 pieces together , they will (should) feed together exactly the same. But, if you have one that is slightly longer, the rule of putting it on the bottom (phrase 'bottoms are bigger' helps to remember) will allow the feed dogs to assist you in easing in the bit of difference.

  11. #11
    mac
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    I had also heard that if you had a longer piece that it should go on the bottom for the feed dogs to ease it in. But that was mainly for sewing garments. Something I rarely/never do today.
    In my early days of quilting (the 70's), I didn't know that it worked better with sewing two fabrics the same length and that you pinned them for better results. Instead I would always just cut strips and start sewing. Even though I would iron the heck out of it, I would sometimes come up with ruffled seams. Then a friend of mine, who was a home ec teacher, gave me the scoop that it was better to measure the lengths and cut them the same size, pin, and don't stretch while sewing. The results were nice looking flat seams.

  12. #12
    Suz
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    Regarding ruffled seams, I reduce my upper tension. And I usually do a practice run on scraps before starting my stitching for the day. Ruffled seams will always be ruffled seams. Regardless how much you press, the ruffles remain. They are particularly noticeable if the ruffles are on a plain fabricm i.e., white.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Pagzz's Avatar
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    if you want to ease in fullness in the bottom seam you hold the top up and pull on it a bit. holding level and together they should both sew the same. when concerned use the advice given to secure the fabric together.
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    Super Member quilting cat's Avatar
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    My top layer often DOES end up a wee bit longer! But it is also easier to slightly stretch the top layer over the under layer to help ease in a difference. Holding at the next pinned point with one hand and just behind the presser foot with the other, with just a bit of tension, is enough to keep the layers where I want them to line up.
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    Ditto...ditto exactly as Bard in Louisiana.

    I also stay stich all borders and quilt edges. Press and use lots of pins. Then sew them together.

    Example, sew a long piece along the edge. Look at the fabric edge. It has movement from running through the machine. Press the fabric edge down so it is smooth and then attach to quilt piece.

    Stay stitching takes less than 5 minutes usually. Well worth the extra effort in my quilting world.

    Another tip: I don't usually pre-wash fabric but did wash the backing for my last quilt. Plus it was stay-stitched all around before quilting. The quilt was barely out of square 1/4 inch or less when I received it back from quilter. I'm not sure if the pre-washing helped or not. Perhaps I was just lucky.

  16. #16
    Super Member givio's Avatar
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    It seems like a lot of newer machines don't have a pressure regulator, or if they do, their owners either don't use it or haven't learned how to use it. Shifting of fabric layers, and ruffling of seams can often be improved with adjustment of the pressure regulator. If you have too much pressure on the feed dogs, then they will grab the fabric they are touching (the bottom layer) more than they do if there is less pressure.

    Barb2018, I would suppose that when you are sewing two fabrics that are the same size you are paying attention and doing it carefully so that the end of the seam is even. Otherwise, if your feed dogs are truly moving the bottom layer faster (facilitating the easing in of extra length), it would mean that when you are sewing two fabrics the same size, the top layer will be too long at the end of the seam.

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    yes put the longer piece on bottom it will work in . but not 3 to 4 '' that a bit much.

  18. #18
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I have a Bernina that does pull the bottom more than I like. When I sew my 2.5” squares together, they never match. I have no answer for you, wish I did.

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    I too have watched Donna from Jordan fabrics and wondered what brand that machine was...could never quite see the name. So it's a Consew.....it does do beautiful stitches....and fabric stays even.......almost worth looking into for just a straight stitch machine....

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    I think its amazing any of us are still sewing! It seems to be so much more than placing 2 pieces of fabric together and then stitch! My quilts have mysteries in them because it should have lined up and didn't! Thank goodness my philosophy is "done is better than perfect". I didn't make that up but it fits the bill. There are some aspects of sewing that will mystify me until the end but I think I'll just keep sewing!

  21. #21
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    My question is why would you want to 'ease in' a longer piece? It will just create puckers in the seam, which are ugly. Make sure your pieces are the same size before you sew. Then pin and use your fingers to make sure they don't shift while they are being sewn.

    If it's garment sewing, sometimes you do get longer pattern pieces to "ease in", but the puckers (gathers) in garments are acceptable for certain bulgy places on the body. I would never leave the easing up to the mechanics of a machine where I have zero control of what happens. I pin center and either end and work my easing in with more pins and fingers, so I know what result I will get.
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  22. #22
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb2018 View Post
    I was taught that when sewing, if one of the fabrics is just slightly longer, put it on the bottom and the feed dogs will ease it in. I've seen this work, so OK. But...if this is true, how can we sew together two fabrics that are exactly the same size and the top one doesm'e end up longer at the end of the seam? Either the feed dogs pull in more fabric or they don't. Thanks for any input...this is really bothering me.
    It's not a wacky question!

    The feed dogs feed the bottom layer of fabric faster when they are allowed to pull the fabric through. If you apply some kind of pressure to that bottom layer, the feed dogs are prevented from pulling the fabric as much as they would without pressure. This is why, when sewing two pieces of fabric together, I place a finger on the fabric as I am sewing (or hold the two ends together in my hand). It keeps the two layers matched as they are pulled under the presser foot. That little bit of pressure controls how much the feed dogs can move that bottom layer.

    If I want the feed dogs to ease in that bottom layer, then I feed the two fabrics without any pressure. If there is excess fabric in the bottom fabric that I want to ease in, then the bottom layer is a little longer than the top layer. In that case, by holding the ends together I am holding back the top fabric slightly while the feed dogs work their little hearts out feeding that bottom fabric faster.

    Don't think I am doing a great job explaining this. If you start with 2 equal lengths of fabric and hold the ends together while sewing, you are holding back that bottom layer so it doesn't feed faster than the top layer. If you start with the bottom layer slightly longer and want it to ease it, holding the 2 ends together holds back the top layer while the bottom layer is looser, allowing the feed dogs to gather that fabric lightly as you sew.

  23. #23
    Power Poster ube quilting's Avatar
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    I have been Elmers Washable School Glue for long seams, seams with intricate piecing that need to match, sewing bias seams and attaching the binding. I love it.
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  24. #24
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    This was so helpful. Thanks for your detailed explanation!

  25. #25
    Super Member Irishrose2's Avatar
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    If I'm sewing anything longer that a foot, I pin it. No surprises wanted. Other than that, my piecing machine doesn't really shift fabric, but I don't have the pressure on the presser foot too strong, either.

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