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Thread: Seam on quilt backs

  1. #1
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    Seam on quilt backs

    Hello to all,

    I've only heard recently that "you shouldn't be putting your seam vertically on the quilt back!!" (Almost like it was a crime or something) I use a long arm to quilt my quilts, and have never heard of such a "rule" - what reasoning is there behind this?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by peacefulquilting; 08-24-2013 at 03:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Super Member quilts4charity's Avatar
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    I don't know...I put mine wherever I need to...whoops, guess I'll get a ticket...

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    I buy wide backs now, but when I seamed my backs, I always made the seams vertical. I did my backs in 3 pieces so I wouldn't have a center seam.

    I think I've read that longarm quilters don't like vertical seams, but I'm not sure about that.

  4. #4
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    There's two schools of thought for placing seams on a longarm. If they're vertical (perpendicular to the rollers) some longarmers feel that they make a lump in that area as they are rolled, keeping the quilt from rolling evenly. I recently watched a video by another professional longarmer who said that this is not the case and that the seams should be kept perpendicular to the rollers, though I don't remember what the reasoning was, or who the longarmer was. I think it had to do with keeping the quilt perfectly square. At any rate, as far as I know it is just a longarmer's preference, and since the longarmer can usually place the quilt in either direction on the frame it really shouldn't matter.

  5. #5
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    if your quilt is large- and your backing is seamed vertically - when it is rolled up on the take up rollers it builds in the center-layer upon layer upon layer-building bulk 4-layers at a time-where there is only one layer on the rest of the backing- causing (baggy-saggy) outside edges- when the backing is pieced horizontally - when you load it & roll it- the seam lays nice & flat-straight along the bar- no bulky build up in the center of the backing- it does not make a huge difference when the quilts are fairly small- but the larger it is the more build up bulk since with each turn of the bar is another 4 layers of fabric in the center....... that is the reasoning ....... now days there are so many wonderful wide backs available--- often much less expensive than buying yardage to piece- that the whole situation is easy to avoid. over the years I have quilted lots of quilts with vertical seamed backs- they just take more time, care, and work- a nice horizontal seam is so much nicer to work with....some people do a diagonal seam on their backs- I have not (so far) had anyone bring me one that way - most of my customers have started buying wide backings.
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  6. #6
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Ckcowl, thanks for a good explanation.

  7. #7
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    Thank you ckcowl! I appreciate you taking the time to give such a great explanation!

  8. #8
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    I put the seam wherever I can use less fabric, usually horizontal. I'm a longarmer and really don't have a preference although the wider backings are nice.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    if your quilt is large- and your backing is seamed vertically - when it is rolled up on the take up rollers it builds in the center-layer upon layer upon layer-building bulk 4-layers at a time-where there is only one layer on the rest of the backing- causing (baggy-saggy) outside edges- when the backing is pieced horizontally - when you load it & roll it- the seam lays nice & flat-straight along the bar- no bulky build up in the center of the backing- it does not make a huge difference when the quilts are fairly small- but the larger it is the more build up bulk since with each turn of the bar is another 4 layers of fabric in the center....... that is the reasoning ....... now days there are so many wonderful wide backs available--- often much less expensive than buying yardage to piece- that the whole situation is easy to avoid. over the years I have quilted lots of quilts with vertical seamed backs- they just take more time, care, and work- a nice horizontal seam is so much nicer to work with....some people do a diagonal seam on their backs- I have not (so far) had anyone bring me one that way - most of my customers have started buying wide backings.
    Can you add an illustration? I am just not visualizing what you are saying.

  10. #10
    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    Since most of my quilts do not have an up or down, my seams, when I have them, can go in any direction. I have not heard of this "rule" before either. I'd ignore it.
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  11. #11
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I put my seams were ever, I longarm and have not found it to be a problem.

  12. #12
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    I have a long arm & haven't experienced the problem of bunching, but it's probably because I have only done laps on it. I prefer one piece backs, just because they are simplest, but....What I do like, is to use 3 or 4 of the fabrics from the front of the quilt & make horizontal strips with the fabric for the backing. This gives you a reversible quilt with little effort. It truly is easier to keep the horizontal seams straight as opposed to the vertical ones.
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  13. #13
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    I have vertical and horizontal seams on my back because I do a little or more piecing. Usually to finish off the extra ones I made.
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  14. #14
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    I have seams vertically or horizontally....it depends on how I get the best use of the backing fabric. I have had no problems with eithere way the seams are.

  15. #15
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    Vertical seams on the back of a big quilt that is quilted on a long arm can result in a raised area on the take up pole as you quilt. The more you quilt, the greater the distortion of the quilt.

    Having said that, I have done vertical seams on backings, but the quilts I've done that way are lap size, and I only do end to end quilting. I imagine if I did more 'special' quilting - or bigger quilts - the vertical line might be a problem.

  16. #16
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    Good to know. Where is the best place to order the wider backing?
    Fabric is like money, no matter how much you have it's never enough.

  17. #17
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    Can you add an illustration? I am just not visualizing what you are saying.
    I would add an illustration for you but it's kind of hard to take a picture of the problem.

    For longarming, when you load a quilt backing on the rollers, if the seam is perpendicular to the rollers, meaning it runs east and west along with the rollers, that's not a problem. However, if the seam is vertical, or running north and south, or makes a "t" with the rails, that seam will get thicker and thicker on the roller as you advance the quilt. That center seam will be thicker than the rest of the quilt, and you end up with loose edges that you have to manage.

  18. #18
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    I have used both wide and pieced backings. With the pieced backings, seams have been vertical, horizontal or every which way if I use leftover blocks as part of the backing. Sometimes I piece large leftover squares, rectangles and even scraps into fun backings. Thus far, there have been no problems.

  19. #19
    Senior Member teddysmom's Avatar
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    I'm a hand quilter so the seam placement on the back isn't an issue.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    some people do a diagonal seam on their backs- I have not (so far) had anyone bring me one that way - most of my customers have started buying wide backings.
    I quilted 6 "Pure Comfort Wraps" last year with the diagonal backing on my frame. As they were for charity, I was trying to use my stash. With some pieces, that was the only way that we could get a back out of them. It quilts nicely, much better than vertically. I prefer horizontally.
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  21. #21
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    There are NO hard and fast rules in quilting. Do what you want and find your own preferences. There are no quilt police and there is no quilter's jail.

  22. #22
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Here is instructions for the diagonal pieced backing. This looks scary but it really works.

    http://www.flynnquilt.com/media/uplo...onalpb1103.pdf
    Got fabric?

  23. #23
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    [QUOTE=ckcowl;6253398]if your quilt is large- and your backing is seamed vertically - when it is rolled up on the take up rollers it builds in the center-layer upon layer upon layer-building bulk 4-layers at a time-where there is only one layer on the rest of the backing- causing (baggy-saggy) outside edges- when the backing is pieced horizontally - when you load it & roll it- the seam lays nice & flat-straight along the bar- no bulky build up in the center of the backing- it does not make a huge difference when the quilts are fairly small- but the larger it is the more build up bulk since with each turn of the bar is another 4 layers of fabric in the center.....QUOTE]

    I don't understand the 4 layers of fabric. If you press the seams to one side, that gives you 2 extra layers of fabric. And if you press the seam open, you would have only one extra layer. If your fabric is quilting cotton, I would think this little bit would disappear into the batting. And as long-armers have said on this thread, they have not really had a problem. I wouldn't worry about it.
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  24. #24
    Super Member margecam52's Avatar
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    The idea is that a seam running vertically will cause a bump down the center when rolled onto a frame, and that causes the backing to sag on either side. I haven't had an issue with the "sagging"...it's there, but hasn't caused an issue.

    That said, about two years ago, I started trying to have my seams run horizontally...no sagging at all & the selvage edge is what gets pinned to the leaders...and those selvages make it easy to be sure the backing is straight on the frame.

    Remember, there are as many ways to do something as there are people doing them....this is definately true in quilting...you just do what works for you...don't worry about what others say.



    Quote Originally Posted by peacefulquilting View Post
    Hello to all,

    I've only heard recently that "you shouldn't be putting your seam vertically on the quilt back!!" (Almost like it was a crime or something) I use a long arm to quilt my quilts, and have never heard of such a "rule" - what reasoning is there behind this?

    Thanks in advance.
    Marge Campbell
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  25. #25
    Senior Member teddysmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BETTY62 View Post
    Good to know. Where is the best place to order the wider backing?
    Connecting Threads has the wider backing. Have used them before and have had no problem.

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