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Thread: Question from a beginnner quilter

  1. #1
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    Question from a beginnner quilter

    Okay, please forgive me if this is a silly question, but I am very new to quilting, and this has been bugging me so I have to ask....

    I have done a reasonable amount of sewing, but until recently this has been dressmaking. I am used to a larger seam allowance, and having to always finish all the raw edges edges of my fabric in order to stop it all fraying and compromising the seams.

    So, I am currently embroidering the panels for the centre piece of my first 'proper' quilt, and will soon be ready to start on the patchwork element of it. I know I need to use a 1/4" seam allowance. So, is my lovely quilt likely to fray? None of the instruction books that I have say anything about finishing the edges, and it would be very difficult anyway with such a small seam allowance anyway, wouldn't it? Or does the actual quilting part of it take care of the possibility of fraying? I know that it won't be subject to the same wear and tear that a garment would, but having spent time and money making the quilt I really would like it to be durable.

    Any words of wisdom please?

  2. #2
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    First, don't press the way you do with garments--opening the seams. Instead, press both allowances to the same side, typically toward the dark fabric. When you are piecing blocks together, it is nice to have the seams pressed so that they snuggle and don't have too large a lump. So, one seam to the right and one to the left. By the time the quilt is pieced, quilted and bound, all your seams are enclosed. You have to be careful to keep the fabric edges exactly together; there is little "fudge" room. In 20+ years of sewing quilt tops, I have not had one fray. But, I sure understand your question as I had sewed garments for about 30 years before quilting. Now, the shoe is on the other foot--I have a hard time sewing that 5/8" seam required on garments!
    Laurie in NYC

  3. #3
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    No, your seams will not fray, because the quilting holds everything together. Just shorten your stitch length a little and you'll never have a problem. Good luck on your quilt and post pics, Mawluv

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    That's great, I understand now! Thank you both.

  5. #5
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    Most quilt patterns call for 1/4" seams and will not fit together with larger seams. With small pieces, larger seams would cause excess bulk. However, when doing 6" squares for charity quilts, I always use a 1/2" seam. With that size seam, I have more to work with if you need to fudge and feel that I make a more durable quilt for active use.

    I have mended several quilts that were donated to Project Linus over the years because the seams were popping open (before or after washing). This can be due to narrow seam allowances, long stitch length, bad tension, or loosely woven fabric.

    Since you are making the transition from garments sewing to quilting, I would recommend getting a 1/4" foot to make life easier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daylesewblessed View Post
    Since you are making the transition from garments sewing to quilting, I would recommend getting a 1/4" foot to make life easier.
    I have a walking foot, and the metal part of that is just under 1/4" wide; do you think that would be okay? My other plan was to stick some tape on my machine to use as a guide.

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    Welcome to the board!!! I have very good friends in Swansea Wales......just proves that it really is a small world! The 1/4 inch seam will be fine, shorten your stitch length and enjoy the process!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jodimarie View Post
    Welcome to the board!!! I have very good friends in Swansea Wales......just proves that it really is a small world! The 1/4 inch seam will be fine, shorten your stitch length and enjoy the process!!
    Oh that's only about an hour from here; we went shopping in Swansea on Friday! Small world indeed.

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    Hello, I think you got the advice you needed already so I just wanted to welcome you to the Quilting Board! I look forward to seeing some of your work. Welcome aboard again!

  10. #10
    Member AChristina's Avatar
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    There are 2 different opinions on which way you press your seams, to the side or open. I do usually press to the dark side only because I was taught that way. But, I do find it easier to match up my seams if they are pressed open, especially if there are a lot of seams meeting at one certain point. After it's quilted, it shouldn't fray. I just have a hard time remembering to press open.

  11. #11
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    Tina,

    Try a seam with your walking foot and then measure it to see if it is a 1/4".

    I am not sure that I would use a walking foot for all my piecing -- it runs a lot slower than I would like, and since it has moving parts, it will wear. However, it will help with matching seams, especially on long runs. You may find that it is the perfect solution.

    Dayle

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    Okay, taking on board your advice, I thought I would treat myself to a 1/4" foot for my machine, especially as the walking foot was very expensive and I don't want to wear it out. Now the only problem seems to be that they don't make one for my machine , it's an Elna 2300.

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    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    The Walking Foot was originally known as the Matching Foot. It matched seams of plaid and directional fabric. I use it for piecing all the time. My seams match without any problem and I sew slower. I always keep an eye out for used feet that fit my machine. I have several of the ones I use a lot.
    Got fabric?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo View Post
    The Walking Foot was originally known as the Matching Foot. It matched seams of plaid and directional fabric. I use it for piecing all the time. My seams match without any problem and I sew slower. I always keep an eye out for used feet that fit my machine. I have several of the ones I use a lot.
    I have never seen a second hand Walking Foot for sale,. but DH bought me a new for for Christmas last year, it was 45!!!

    I have tried e:mailing Elna to see if they know of a 1/4" foot that will fit, to save wear and tear on the walking foot.

  15. #15
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    When sewing clothing, the seams are subjected to a lot of pulling and tugging.....so the seam allowance needed to be wider and sometimes finished. But in a finished quilt, the seams don't get the pulling and are all secured by the actual quilting, so a smaller seam allowance works fine. If you already have a walking foot, then you can mark your machine bed (there are many ways) for 1/4" seam. The walking foot will be your best friend, specially for those long seams. I don't sew without it if I can.

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    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    Over this side of the pond some quilters have a geraric foot which it states fit any machine. The foot fits where the normal foot holder fits . Now the other arm in a geraric foot is a straight bar which goes above the screw for the needle. If I remember correctly berninas will not fit this foot. Try an amazon search will be back.

    Looked on Amazon you have a selection although brother is popular. For 10$ try it.
    Last edited by DOTTYMO; 01-14-2013 at 08:36 AM. Reason: Went searching
    Finished is better than a UFO

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    Quote Originally Posted by DOTTYMO View Post
    Over this side of the pond some quilters have a geraric foot which it states fit any machine. The foot fits where the normal foot holder fits . Now the other arm in a geraric foot is a straight bar which goes above the screw for the needle. If I remember correctly berninas will not fit this foot. Try an amazon search will be back.

    Looked on Amazon you have a selection although brother is popular. For 10$ try it.
    If that's the 'Distinctive' one, they won't ship to the UK. Thanks for looking though!

  18. #18
    Super Member Sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinaRibena View Post
    Okay, taking on board your advice, I thought I would treat myself to a 1/4" foot for my machine, especially as the walking foot was very expensive and I don't want to wear it out. Now the only problem seems to be that they don't make one for my machine , it's an Elna 2300.
    There are a million quilters in this world who do not worry about exact 1/4" seams. It is important that you use the same measurement (same foot) for all your seams in a single quilt, especially if you are using a pattern. If your pattern has a zillion little pieces then a 1/4" foot could be very important. If you pieces are bigger it doesn't matter. So, your 5x7 foot quilt comes out 4'11"x6'10". Who cares? Many do, many don't. Many of us use a foot that is close and many of us don't even do that. Have you ever noticed that the deliberately "wonky" quits are often very exciting and beautiful? Everything doesn't have to be "exactly" anything. Just enjoy what you are doing and don't sweat the little stuff. Now, how do I post this anonomously so I don't get shot down by the would-be quilt police. Actually, I love you all, I just think a little relaxation wouldn't hurt.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sierra View Post
    There are a million quilters in this world who do not worry about exact 1/4" seams. It is important that you use the same measurement (same foot) for all your seams in a single quilt, especially if you are using a pattern. If your pattern has a zillion little pieces then a 1/4" foot could be very important. If you pieces are bigger it doesn't matter. So, your 5x7 foot quilt comes out 4'11"x6'10". Who cares? Many do, many don't. Many of us use a foot that is close and many of us don't even do that. Have you ever noticed that the deliberately "wonky" quits are often very exciting and beautiful? Everything doesn't have to be "exactly" anything. Just enjoy what you are doing and don't sweat the little stuff. Now, how do I post this anonomously so I don't get shot down by the would-be quilt police. Actually, I love you all, I just think a little relaxation wouldn't hurt.
    Completely LOVE the idea of being relaxed (dare I even say slapdash) about quilting! Mind you, I think that will come with time. Being so very new I have discovered that in order to follow a pattern (for instance nine patch, which is what I have tried, and a friendship star) it does need to be accurate both in terms of cutting and sewing. My background is in dressmaking, where 'ease' and pulling the fabric about a bit can overcome most things . A nine patch that 'works' to me is a thing of beauty, and the ones that are wonky kind of jump out at me (for now).

  20. #20
    Super Member CorgiNole's Avatar
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    You can easily set up a seam guide with a stack of tape that ends before the foot starts to set your quarter inch seam (or scant quarter inch - 1 to 2 threads smaller than 1/4 inch). Hopefully the picture attached correctly. I use that especially when using my walking foot as it is definitely wider than 1/4 inch.

    One thing that I haven't seen mentioned regarding your original question about fraying of the seams - just don't be tempted to throw the top into the wash before you've layered and quilted it. Otherwise you will end up with a mess on the back.

    Cheers, K
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Sally Collins has a video called PRECISION PIECING, I just purchased. It has so many good hints and now I have more confidence in the quality of my piecing. I'd rather do it right as I go than regret it at the end.
    Cheryl Robinson
    http://www.silverneedlestitching.com
    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

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