Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 42

Thread: Preventing 1/4" seams from Unravelling

  1. #1
    Junior Member Sande's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Northwest
    Posts
    132

    Preventing 1/4" seams from Unravelling

    Does anyone ever worry about 1/4" seams on a quilt unravelling after a few washes? What do you do to avoid this? Does anyone serge their seams or finish seams with a zigzag stitch before putting your quilt layers together?

  2. #2
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Chula Vista CA
    Posts
    6,091
    Are you tying or quilting your quilt? I have not had the problem but then I do not use the "scant" 1/4 of an inch.

  3. #3
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Small town in Northeast Oregon close to Washington and Idaho
    Posts
    2,734
    Blog Entries
    5
    Never had it happen to me. And I've made plenty of quilts. And washed so many of them many times. You cross over the seams with other seams, so you should be fine. And then you either quilt it or have it quilted, so you shouldn't have a problem.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
    Strong people don't put others down...they build them up."
    "Remember that your instincts are more important than rules"

  4. #4
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Knot Merrill, Southern Indiana
    Posts
    5,748
    I've not had it happen, but I've only been quilting for 6 years so my quilts are all relatively young. But I will say that yes - I've seen some OLD quilts where the seams have raveled and split. OLD as in antique.

    So the question is ... how long do you EXPECT your quilt to remain pristine? It might then be worth it to you to consider using a wider seam allowance. Although I would think there are other factors too that should be considered if one would expect a quilt to last several generations ... guess I never gave it that much thought!!
    Last edited by DogHouseMom; 11-02-2012 at 08:04 AM.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    The Colony, TX
    Posts
    3,364
    Since your seams are enclosed in the quilt you should not have any issues with your fabric unraveling, I have used as small as 1/8" seam just making sure my stitches are a little closer together and have not had any issues. My quilts get washed a lot - the one on my bed at least everyother week and it has been 12 years. Keep saying I will make another one for me - but haven't gotten there yet.

    There are a lot of antique quillts still in good shape. Those that aren't we have to think about how they were made: hand stitched which is not nearly as small and stable as machine stitching. Fabric dyes back then were more caustic causing some deterioration of fabric (some colors more so than others). We also don't know how much those were used and under what circumstances. I know a lot of the more elaborate ones were saved for special occasions but a lot were used daily under much more severe circumstances than ours will ever be used.

    Personally I believe that if you use quality materials, have a good stitch length your quilts will last longer than you will

  6. #6
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Posts
    12,715
    I have to agree with quiltstringz. If the quilting is close enough, there shouldn't be any stress or movement on the seams, so I wouldn't expect any raveling, unless the fabric is a very loose weave.

  7. #7
    Super Member miss_ticky2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Posts
    2,054
    I'm doing 3 small quilts for a friend at the moment and they're quilted with stitch in the ditch so there's no overall quilting over all the seams. These quilts are gifts she's giving for Christmas so I decided to play safe and did a zigzag on all the seams as I was constructing the tops. It didn't take long, you wouldn't know from outside and I felt better
    Blessings from Janice

  8. #8
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Keene, New Hampshire
    Posts
    4,270
    I've occasionally have had to go with an 1/8th of an inch and even a tad less. I double stitch the seam.
    It's been machine quilted and no trouble.
    Should it fall apart someday, I and the recipient will be long gone.

  9. #9
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    20,376
    I only am concerned if it's a fabric that really wants to unravel or if it's a very loose weave.

    I have on occasion used a piece that was skimpy or had a clip in it - and I used fray-chek on those edges.

  10. #10
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    dayton OH
    Posts
    1,884
    i've never worried about it either. Cotton doesn't ravel that much, the seams are on the inside and not exposed to the washing machine, so how would they ravel? If there is a place that I'm concerned about, FrayCheck is my best friend!
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  11. #11
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    11,330
    Blog Entries
    1
    the first quilt i made in 1976 is still around- still used- and no seams have ever frayed...so, no i guess i don't worry about it- once a quilt is layered with batting & backing & quilted there would be no reason for the seams to ravel- unless it is a very loose weave fabric-but i've made quilts with home-spuns which are a bit looser weave & have not had the problem with them either...there is only risk of fraying when it is still an unfinished top...once it is finished the seams are (protected)
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  12. #12
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Monroe, IN
    Posts
    2,285
    When I think about what causes a fabric to ravel, I see seams that are unprotected and loose. A quilt has all the seams pressed flat, are inside the sandwich, and can be crossed over by quilting several times, thus giving the entire quilt more strength. So even tho washed many times, the seams should not ravel as there is no way for the fabric to move. Smaller seams than 1/4" will increase the risk, but like the other posters have said, we've all had to use the smaller seams to make that piece fit, taking extra care to secure that section. I am not afraid of my seams raveling at all.

  13. #13
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    West Texas
    Posts
    1,874
    I think that small stitches and balanced tension are the best ways to prevent a seam from opening.

    A friend of mine who was a Project Linus coordinator had a lot of problems with seams popping open on new quilts that she washed before donating to hospitals. So in my mind it is very important to make sure that the seams are secure on my piecing.

  14. #14
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Posts
    1,374
    It's sort of a physics thing isn't it? Like how people can lay on a bed of nails without being punctured? It completely has to do with distribution. It's very similar...you will notice weaker areas of your quilt will wear quicker...but just think of all those antique quilts that are still around - from way before sergers. You'll be fine. Lol* So will your quilts!
    Valerie Smith - pumpkinpatchquilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

  15. #15
    Senior Member sgardner's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    North Ogden, Utah
    Posts
    550
    The only 1/4 inch seams that I saw that popped open was on a friend's tied quilt that was washed in a washing machine. The person who tied it did it about every 8 or 9 inches apart, so that was quite a stress on all the seams, with no reinforcements. A good quilting job not only holds the quilt together and keeps the batting from shifting, it stabilizes all the seams so they don't pop or move when it's washed.
    HQ18 Avante

  16. #16
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,118
    There has never been a problem.

  17. #17
    Super Member Just Me...'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,954
    I don't wash until after it is quilted, so it is never a problem....
    http://www.appalachianquilts.blogspot.com
    http://www.quiltweb.net

  18. #18
    Senior Member mythreesuns's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Central Wisconsin
    Posts
    715
    As a new quilter here, I have to add this comment. I know very little about machines, and I had a brother. My first several tied quilts seams were always opening up. Very frustrating to a newbie (anyone actually). I did some searching and found out with trial and error. Tension was the entire issue. Since I have now bought a self adjusting machine, I no longer have the issue. I have two brother machines in my house and not being used because of it. Will they ever be used...I doubt it. As I could never figure out how to get the tension just right. The one is only 6 months old.
    Faye

  19. #19
    Vat
    Vat is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Central Alabama
    Posts
    884
    Try a shorter stitch lengh if you are worried.

  20. #20
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    2,062
    I have an old quilt that I made about 52 years ago. The seams are now coming apart, however it has been used hard and it has good reason to fall apart. In those days I used cheap thread and fabric and if it lasted that long, it has done all I could ask. I will not mend it, but it still is a dandy for kids to play on in the yard or on the floor or to make a "tent" out of, so I'll keep it for a while yet. How long should we expect our work to last?? If I make quilts now, I won't be here to see them if they fall apart so that's freedom from worry for me! Make them and love them and don't sweat the small stuff!

  21. #21
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    8,225
    Quote Originally Posted by mythreesuns View Post
    As a new quilter here, I have to add this comment. I know very little about machines, and I had a brother. My first several tied quilts seams were always opening up. Very frustrating to a newbie (anyone actually). I did some searching and found out with trial and error. Tension was the entire issue. Since I have now bought a self adjusting machine, I no longer have the issue. I have two brother machines in my house and not being used because of it. Will they ever be used...I doubt it. As I could never figure out how to get the tension just right. The one is only 6 months old.
    I think that if you were to look into how to adjust your tension you would find that you have three machines that work well......

  22. #22
    Super Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Orbiting
    Posts
    1,442
    When I make quilts for children, when I quilt, I use a stitch that looks like a double sided blanket stitch and stitch in the ditch on every seam. I know these quilts will be thrown in a regular washing machine often.

    My dear Step Mother made my oldest boy a small nap quilt when he was born. It got washed a lot and every time I had to repair the seams before letting him have it back. Thats why I do this style of quilting on kids quilts.

  23. #23
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    2,189
    I am always paranoid about seams...I have had quilts start showing openings where the seams have raveled. I don't quilt for sale or show, so I really double sew over the seams from the outside. Going against everything I have heard to do, but I don't want my work to come apart. I may be the only one who has the problem, but that's how I deal with it.

  24. #24
    Super Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Central Wisconsin
    Posts
    3,515
    The quilt I made with my granddaughter had lots of seams in which the thread broke. They were bias seams in a pinwheel pattern. We tied it. The quilt teachers should have warned us about that. We could have done a shorter stitch length; and a tied quilt is much more likely to have stress on these bias seams. The second one we made a few years later, I took back home and top-stitched every bias seam through the entire quilt. That put a nice patern on the back, too.
    Now, I usually FMQ, and love it.
    If my seam allowances are too short (sometimes the fabric just doesn't stretch that far, lol) I use fray check.

  25. #25
    Junior Member sewnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
    Posts
    176
    I too agree that there shouldn't be any problem with 1/4th inch seams, although I have used a serger to seama quilt that I know is going to get a lot of abuse when used, for example when I quilted for my cat and for one of my childrens dogs.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.