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Thread: Next question for making 1st quilt (flannel for baby)

  1. #1
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    Question Next question for making 1st quilt (flannel for baby)

    Hi Everyone...I am making a flannel baby quilt for my friend's granddaughter. The front is a panel but the back I am using 5" square pieces (sort of scrappy).
    My questions are: 1. do I use 1/4" seam allowance or bigger?
    2. If I use my regular foot to piece...do I need to use a walking foot to quilt since there is no batting?
    3. If I need to use my walking foot...why? This is where it is not sinking into my brain.
    Since I am only quilting 2 pieces of fabric (just like piecing the 5" blocks)...why do I need the walking foot?
    4. Do I need to use less tension since this is flannel?
    5. Final Question..do I need to use different stitch length?

    You helped me so much with the needle question and I am looking forward for any help/suggestions on this project.

    Vi
    Vi

  2. #2
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    Hmm, you are in Illinois, but where is the baby? If up north you might want that batting.

    Since I haven't personally done this in years, my inclination would be to try it with scraps and see what happens. I know I don't have to change any tensions on my machine when I go from sewing to quilting. Though flannel usually has a bit more give than cotton, such that you might want to use your walking foot anyway and avoid any puckers on the back.

    Maybe someone else has more recent experience or advice.

    ali
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  3. #3
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    Can't answer all of your questions but I'll offer an opinion on a couple. Make sure your flannel is prewashed and dried in the warmest temperatures available to you. This will help tighten the weave. I used 1/4" seam when using flannel with no problems. Also used the default setting on machine which something like 2.0. If your flannel is a very loose weave, you may want to use a slightly larger seam allowance and/or shorter stitch length but good quality flannel defaults should be fine. I hand quilt so can't really offer much of an opinion on the walking foot questions but I've never used one. I have MQ's a couple of small quilts not using one and had no issues. I also do no use one for attaching binding and do not have issues. For that I do make my stitches a bit larger, though. I agree with your thinking that I don't think you would need to use one, however, for the project you are working on. Others with more experience may guide you better. Good luck.

  4. #4
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    I agree with AliKat. I never change the tension except for FMQ. I would definitely use the walking foot, though. I use my built-in even feed feet for everything I can, including piecing. It helps prevent puckering. You might also want to increase the seam allowance a little and decrease the stitch length a little since flannel frays a lot.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member shnnn's Avatar
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    I'd do the 1/4" seam after pre-washing and shrinking the flannel well, it sometimes shrinks very strangely. And I would use a walking foot to quilt it if you are doing straight lines. You could probably do it without, but it makes sure everything feeds at the same rate and since you are sewing in the middle of a large piece you don't really have any reference to see if something is off until you get to a cross seam or the end, where if you are sewing a seam on the edge of the fabric you can see a little better what's going on.
    I rarely change the tension on my machine - the only way to tell is if your stitches dont look right. And if it were really thick you might need to lengthen the stitch, but I dont think for this you will need to.
    My biggest question though is without any batting are the lumps from your seams going to show through and be rough?
    Last edited by shnnn; 02-21-2012 at 11:33 AM.

  6. #6
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    Hello Vi,
    I have been quilting for 17 years but I am not a know-it-all but through my experience I would like to share my thoughts. 1. I always use 1/4 " seam allowances, less bulk when quilting. 2. Definitely use your walking foot even if there is no batting. 3. Why? Because flannel is squirrely, and it will assure the top and bottom fabrics are being pulled through equally. This prevents puckering. 4. Your tension should be fine unless you see it is not stitching the same on the front and back. 5. Stitch length 2.0- 2.2 is what I use on flannel. Now I have a question? Why no batting? Curious. I agree with the other gals ...it would make the quilt smoother and less bumpy. Also, I hope you are using non-flammable flannel since it is for a wee one. Happy Quilting! Peg

  7. #7
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    You can try it without a walking foot, but since you have one, why not stack the odds for you instead of against you? Especially since this is a gift quilt, you probably want it to look as nice as possible.

    Dayle

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    HI...thanks for all the responses. In answer to why no batting...I bought this quilt kit at a LQS and asked if I needed batting and their answer was not really needed since front and back are flannel. Also...as for the bulk..would it not be bulky if I press the seams open instead of to one side???? or should I keep to one row iron one way, then next row iron the opposite way.
    As for non-flammable...good question. I will look up the fabric website and see if it mentions anything about it.
    I will continue checking back as I "plan" (you know how well plans work out-lol) to start piecing either tomorrow or Friday.
    thanks again,
    Vi
    Vi

  9. #9
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    I'm an open-seam person; do it on all my piecing and it definitely reduces bulk. As long as your fabric is all 100% cotton you will be fine. It's not non-flammable but it will burn versus melt. Synthetics of any time melt and that is what you want to stay away from, especially for a baby quilt.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltMe View Post
    Hello Vi,
    I have been quilting for 17 years but I am not a know-it-all but through my experience I would like to share my thoughts. 1. I always use 1/4 " seam allowances, less bulk when quilting. 2. Definitely use your walking foot even if there is no batting. 3. Why? Because flannel is squirrely, and it will assure the top and bottom fabrics are being pulled through equally. This prevents puckering. 4. Your tension should be fine unless you see it is not stitching the same on the front and back. 5. Stitch length 2.0- 2.2 is what I use on flannel. Now I have a question? Why no batting? Curious. I agree with the other gals ...it would make the quilt smoother and less bumpy. Also, I hope you are using non-flammable flannel since it is for a wee one. Happy Quilting! Peg
    @ Quiltme - I have seen that you posted about non-flammable flannel a couple of times. I guess I am a little confused as to the importance of this. Is flannel more combustible than regular cotton? Does it burn easier? I don't know if I have ever seen non-flammable flannel. But then again, when making a 100% cotton baby quilt, I have never purchased non-flammable cotton or worried about non-flammable batting.
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  11. #11
    Member flannelqueen's Avatar
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    I do things a bit different than some of the previous ladies.
    I use a 1/2 inch seam when sewing with flannel.
    I don't worry about non-flammable. The warning says "not suitable for children's sleepwear", so it doesn't really apply to blankets.
    I don't use batting in the middle. I find that the 2 layers of flannel are nice and cozy without being too heavy.
    I also don't use a walking foot. Sounds like I need to try it out.
    Good luck!
    Sara at http://www.flannelqueen.com

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by flannelqueen View Post
    II don't worry about non-flammable. The warning says "not suitable for children's sleepwear", so it doesn't really apply to blankets.
    I'm sorry, but maybe I'm misunderstanding what you are saying??? Are you saying that when the warning says 'not suitable for children's sleepwear' that you don't use it for blankets/quilts or that you don't think the warning applies to blankets? Natural fibers (cotton/wool) burn. Synthetics melt. And can melt into a person's skin. I would think the warnings should be applicable to both.

  13. #13
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    ok---there is really no such thing as non-flammable flannel- it is cotton which will burn just like all of your other quilting fabrics----there are flannels on the market that have a non-flamable coating on them designed to be used for pajamas---the coating actually washes away in about 20 washes- the regular quilting flannels we buy say on them (not designed for childrens sleep ware) because the government says they have to say that- we all make flannel quilts including baby quilts with these flannels-
    as for the bulk- i generally press to one side & nest rows so they line up nicely
    batting in flannel quilts make wonderful, fluffy/cozy/snuggly quilts i (personally) do not like flat quilts- but that is my opinion- especially where there are many seams involved- the batting pads all those seams-
    but it is up to you whether or not you choose to use batting- if for a baby in a cold climate i recommend it though.
    if you do use batting a walking foot is helpful but can be done without if you lengthen your stitch length- the pressure of the foot and stitch slowly.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltMe View Post
    Hello Vi,
    I have been quilting for 17 years but I am not a know-it-all but through my experience I would like to share my thoughts. 1. I always use 1/4 " seam allowances, less bulk when quilting. 2. Definitely use your walking foot even if there is no batting. 3. Why? Because flannel is squirrely, and it will assure the top and bottom fabrics are being pulled through equally. This prevents puckering. 4. Your tension should be fine unless you see it is not stitching the same on the front and back. 5. Stitch length 2.0- 2.2 is what I use on flannel. Now I have a question? Why no batting? Curious. I agree with the other gals ...it would make the quilt smoother and less bumpy. Also, I hope you are using non-flammable flannel since it is for a wee one. Happy Quilting! Peg
    It has been my understanding that the chemical that fabric is soaked in to make it non-flammable will wash out in a few washings.

  15. #15
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    About the non flammable issue - they add chemicals to the fabric to make it fire retardant. UGH!!! A little baby breathing in those "toxic" fumes (IMO) - is awlful.
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