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Thread: shrinkage - grrrrrrr

  1. #1
    Senior Member Missi's Avatar
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    So I bought fat quarters for a quilt a year ago I am finally getting around to cutting the quilt out and some of my fats are only 18 x 21. I am supposed to cut three strips from each fat two 8.5" and one 3.5" and I can't get all three strips out of the fat. I am so annoyed. I hope I can find the fabrics that I need. Thank Goodness for the Internet.

    Has anyone else had this problem before? What is the solution - always get half a yard instead of just a fat?

  2. #2
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    Someone gave me a matched set of fat quarters as a gift, and this exact thing happened to me. When I pre-washed my fabric, I had not just a little less, but a LOT less of some pieces. My solution was to use the fabric in a scrappy quilt, where the actual fabric didn't matter quite so much because it all matched anyway. My advice? Don't depend on a fat quarter to give you exactly what you need!

  3. #3
    Super Member Pzazz's Avatar
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    I had the same problem.....they didn't like it much, but the next several times I shopped at that store, I opened every FQ before purchasing it. :(

  4. #4
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    I quit buying FQs. I purchased a set and liked them so much the table runner I was making turned into a wall-hanging. But--I didn't have enough fabric so I ordered another set and the color was slightly different. I finished it anyways and use it folded in half on the back of the couch. Lesson learned: I don't buy FQ sets, would get the half-yard sets if I really liked the colors but usually just buy yardage and make my own color combos. Can you go to a fabric store and try to co-ordinate some other fabrics with your FQs? Good luck-I know how frustrating this can be.

  5. #5
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    FQs just don't do it for me, either. I can generally get a half yard for just a dollar more. The only time I get them is for swaps.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Dingle's Avatar
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    Couple weeks ago Sis and I went to town and went to Walmart, Joanns, and a LQS. All 3 carried fat quarters and all the packaging said they were 18x21. I have some fat quarters from years ago and all are marked 18x22. Guess we lost an inch somewhere down the road. Price sure didn't go down tho.

  7. #7
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    That is so frustrating. I think we have all had that happen. I have a lot of fat quarters, but still prefer to buy by the yard.

  8. #8
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Some of the yardage itself has shrunk from 44" to 42" and then if you get the fat quarter with the selvedge you lose another 1/2" + too.....

  9. #9
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    I run across that ALL THE TIME and it is so frustrating! Can't the shops MEASURE before cutting??

    I wish they would measure with out including the selvages in the measurement too!!

    And this is BEFORE it is washed!

  10. #10
    Senior Member diannemc's Avatar
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    They are just stingy....I watch the lady cutting my fabric yesterday...I was just getting 1/8 of a yard (had to get 12 colors for owl wings so didn't need much) but still she wasn't going an inch over..if anything by the time she got to the top of material it got smaller....when I had my shop years ago I always allowed 2 or 3 in case It wasn't cut straight...it can make a difference in quilting every 1/4 inch matters sometimes!

  11. #11
    Super Member beachlady's Avatar
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    I have pointed out once or twice to the people doing the cutting that it is not the correct measurement and boy do they get mad. But I am the one paying for the yardage and that one or two inches sure makes a difference!!! The surplus store we have here in Maine always goes over 3 or 4 inches if not more - love shopping there!

  12. #12
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    I never depend on FQ's being the correct size...especially after you wash them!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Missi's Avatar
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    They are 18" it is the 22" that is the problem so that blame goes on the manufacturer making the fabric less wide. I should have measured them before I washed them so I would know how much they shrunk cause they did shrink. Dealing with the shrink can take us into a whole different conversation about pre-washing :P

    I am only using five to seven different fabrics so I am gonna have to get more of the exact fabrics that ran short. If I was using a huge FQ bundle I could probably just get one or two of the fabrics. Oh well I think I found them all last night. I am just sooooooo mad cause I really wanted to piece the quilt this weekend at retreat :(

    No more FQ quilts for me! And now I am really worrying about a FQ kit I bought and a kit I just bought this weekend in Denver.

  14. #14
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Can you adjust the measurement so you can still use the pattern but make it a little smaller?

  15. #15
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    I love fat quarters! That said, I too have encountered a problem with buying a fat quarter and not getting all the fabric I should. One year on a Shop Hop I bought all these amazing fat quarters from a store, something like 20 of them. I got them home and they were mainly 17x19. :shock: Now I refuse to buy fat quarters from them and I made sure to let ALL my friends know what happened. Let's just say that store wasn't happy because I even complained to the people who ran the Shop Hop. The store blamed the manufacturer & basically I was given an apology followed by them saying it wasn't their fault. Hm. Sure. Never is. :roll: If in doubt, I find it is easier just to open them up and measure them right there at the store. I don't always do it, because some stores never give me any problems and I trust them, but there are stores I make sure to do this at.

    I have never purchased a kit so I don't know much about them. I would say it might be best to pull the fat quarters out and measure them. If they aren't correct, you can contact the manufacturer on the label and they should be able to make it right for you.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Nita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiffany
    I love fat quarters! That said, I too have encountered a problem with buying a fat quarter and not getting all the fabric I should. One year on a Shop Hop I bought all these amazing fat quarters from a store, something like 20 of them. I got them home and they were mainly 17x19. :shock: Now I refuse to buy fat quarters from them and I made sure to let ALL my friends know what happened. Let's just say that store wasn't happy because I even complained to the people who ran the Shop Hop. The store blamed the manufacturer & basically I was given an apology followed by them saying it wasn't their fault. Hm. Sure. Never is. :roll: If in doubt, I find it is easier just to open them up and measure them right there at the store. I don't always do it, because some stores never give me any problems and I trust them, but there are stores I make sure to do this at.

    I have never purchased a kit so I don't know much about them. I would say it might be best to pull the fat quarters out and measure them. If they aren't correct, you can contact the manufacturer on the label and they should be able to make it right for you.
    I'm with Tiffany in that I, too, LOVE FQs. When I see a sale on FQs, I know I'm in trouble ...... just can't resist. The only time I ran into trouble was when I prewashed and some of the FQs shrunk too much . Yes, it was very frustrating and I'm feeling your pain. At the time I was a brand new quilter and thought I had to prewash everything. Guess what? Lesson learmned for me, since now I never pre wash. With the availablility of Dye Grabber and Synthropol, who needs to worry about fabrics bleeding? And, for me, the crispness of unwashed fabric seems to result in more accurate cutting. Just some food for thought.

  17. #17
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    Nita, if your fabric shrinks that much when you wash it, don't you worry about how much it will shrink and pull at the seams once it is in a complete quilt and being washed for the first time? I know I have some friends who do this, but they are purposely trying to get that "antique" look. I always prewash so I was wondering how much trouble you had with this.

    I'm mainly a scrap quilter so if the fabric isn't big enough, it usually isn't too much of a problem, except for shorting me on money. I simply add in several other fabrics of the same value and hue. Either that or it forces me to change what I'm doing, which is sometimes a happy surprise. This usually works, though not always.

    Here is a trick I learned AFTER I had ripped out yards and yards of sewing. I made this gorgeous delectable mountains boarder around a double sized quilt. I ran out of fabric with only 4 inches to spare. Let me tell you, I searched for that fabric everywhere! It was about 15 years old at the time and there was no chance of my finding a little extra. What did I do? I ripped out the entire border, bought all new fabric and remade the entire border from scratch. Now that I am older and wiser I could just kick myself. What a waste of time, money, and effort!!!! :cry: If any of you ever find yourself in this situation, please don't do what I did. Here's a tip that will save you a ton of effort. Take the fabric you are short on, scan it into the computer, and print it out on a fabric sheet. There are some great fabric sheets that are being sold for printers now and this is a handy tool when you run out of fabric and only need a little bit more. I wouldn't do this if I needed substantial yardage, but it certainly would have worked well for the 4-inch strip I needed. :roll: Hopefully this tip will help someone else.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Nita's Avatar
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    Tiffany ~ Thanks for sharing those tips :wink:

    No, I don't worry about shrinkage after the quilt is completed ...... have not had a problem so far, but I'm one of those who you referred to who likes that "antique" type of look. In fact, I love scrappy quilts and I personally think the "antique look" enhances the beauty of a scrap quilt. So works for me not to prewash.

    Either way ... Happy Quilting!

  19. #19
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    Fabric widths vary - so I don't get too up-tight when the width is less than 22 inches.

    When it's cut shorter than 18 inches though, GRRR

    I think very unkind thoughts about the seller.

  20. #20
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    Tiff, thats a great tip for a "shortage" emergency! Thanks so much for sharing.

    BTW...its great to see you back on the board. :lol:

  21. #21
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandpat
    Tiff, thats a great tip for a "shortage" emergency! Thanks so much for sharing.

    BTW...its great to see you back on the board. :lol:
    It's great to be back! I sure missed everyone!

  22. #22
    Super Member SaraSewing's Avatar
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    When I was at JoAnns earlier this week, all the FQ were on sale for 99 cents because some had been found to be a little short on inches. So they are selling all the FQ out on sale, so that all the new ones will be quality assurance of size. I usually buy a FQ only for a small bit of a certain color, but never depend on it for an exact size.

  23. #23
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaraSewing
    When I was at JoAnns earlier this week, all the FQ were on sale for 99 cents because some had been found to be a little short on inches. So they are selling all the FQ out on sale, so that all the new ones will be quality assurance of size. I usually buy a FQ only for a small bit of a certain color, but never depend on it for an exact size.
    That's an excellent idea. If I'm buying a fat quarter (or any other size) to make a particular pattern, I usually buy at least a quarter yard extra. It covers me in case I make a mistake. Sometimes I'm a goob and just don't measure right, but I also have problems with my wrist and sometimes it will spasm. This usually happens right as I'm cutting my fabric and I end up having to recut and straighten everything back out. :roll: I've just learned it's better for me to buy a little extra. Better safe than sorry. :wink:


  24. #24
    Super Member Pzazz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiffany
    Quote Originally Posted by SaraSewing
    When I was at JoAnns earlier this week, all the FQ were on sale for 99 cents because some had been found to be a little short on inches. So they are selling all the FQ out on sale, so that all the new ones will be quality assurance of size. I usually buy a FQ only for a small bit of a certain color, but never depend on it for an exact size.
    That's an excellent idea. If I'm buying a fat quarter (or any other size) to make a particular pattern, I usually buy at least a quarter yard extra. It covers me in case I make a mistake. Sometimes I'm a goob and just don't measure right, but I also have problems with my wrist and sometimes it will spasm. This usually happens right as I'm cutting my fabric and I end up having to recut and straighten everything back out. :roll: I've just learned it's better for me to buy a little extra. Better safe than sorry. :wink:


    And what an easy way to build the scrap pile!!! :D

  25. #25
    Honey's Avatar
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    The only time I buy FQ's is when I am going to use them in scrap quilts for the very reasons that all of you have mentioned. That said, did you get your fq's at a lqs or at a discount place. I have found that the fabric that I get at my local lqs and at select on line stores rarely shrink while the ones from the discount places almost always do. Also remember that manufacturers make different grades of the same fabrics for different places, so all fabrics are not created equal.

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