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Thread: Strip piecing?

  1. #1
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    Question Strip piecing?

    Ever time I strip piece the stitching pulls up the fabric and the whole thing gets a bow in it. We cut the strips with lengthwise grain as suggested by Judy Martin. I have Bernina Artista 640, a Bernina White Pearl, a Viking Mega Quilter, a vintage Singer Feathweight, and it's big sister a vintage Singer 301. I try to feed the fabric loosely and guide gently and have a fairly short stitch length. Same problem with every machine so it has to be something I'm doing wrong. WHAT IS YOUR SECRET??? I'm taking a class Saturday on a strip pieced pattern. And expanding the pattern to make a huge King Size quilt for my own bed. (I'm tired of having king size blankets not be wide enough. We have 2 twin adjustable sleep number beds shoved together to compose a king so we need extra width.)
    Cheryl Robinson
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  2. #2
    Super Member Crqltr's Avatar
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    Sew your first two strips then on the next strip start at the other end of your pieces on every strip..it was the first thing I was taught in a strip piecing class I took.

  3. #3
    Super Member JJean's Avatar
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    I tried cutting my strips parallel to the selvage.
    Jean

  4. #4
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    Also is it your ironing/pressing? I was told when pressing strips to not put them horizontonally on the ironing board but vertically and press

  5. #5
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    I agree with Crqltr, alternate which end you start stitching from. That's how I was taught in a class too.

  6. #6
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I agree on the alternate sewing. It is not anything you are doing wrong. This is a very common problem (the bowing of strips) in strip peicing. By switching directions of sewing every other strip you even out the bow somewhat. Many bargello patterns include this step in the directions.

    Edited to add this link http://craftnectar.com/2011/06/30/ev...sewing-strips/

    See, it is NOT just you!
    Last edited by feline fanatic; 06-20-2012 at 09:35 AM.

  7. #7
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    I don't feed fabric loosely. I hold it taut for about 6 or 8 inches while it is going thru the needle. Don''t know if that helps or not.

  8. #8
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    I agree with the alternate sewing, too. Also check your tension and stitch length. Too tight tension can cause all sorts of problems. Very short stitch length will also especially if you're not holding the fabric taut. Want to know how I know?

  9. #9
    Super Member Christine-'s Avatar
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    I'm wondering if the presser foot pressure is too high? I have a Bernina 640 as well, I'm surprised you have this while using the 640. When you find a solution let us know what worked?

  10. #10
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    I've not had issues with bowing but I'd suggest following the other suggestions of alternating your sewing directions. You might also want to lengthen your stitch length a tad. I'd think too short a stitch length would add to the problem. Not sure I'd adjust tension if your stitches are performing correctly. Try making just one adjustment at a time to see where the problem might really be. If you change everything at once you'll have a harder time correcting any given issue because you won't know where to start!

  11. #11
    Super Member Raggiemom's Avatar
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    When you press the fabric, spray with Magic Sizing. That helps me some. I also alternate which end I'm sewing from. But I still get some bowing I just live with it.
    Heather

  12. #12
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    The suggestions will really help you. Also keep this in mind......

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  13. #13
    Super Member burchquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crqltr View Post
    Sew your first two strips then on the next strip start at the other end of your pieces on every strip..it was the first thing I was taught in a strip piecing class I took.
    Thats' what Iwas taught to... flip every other time.
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  14. #14
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    since I've learned to alternate the edge where I start, I've had absolutely no problem with the bowing. I don't starch anything ever except for binding strips. And, I often do strip piecing. Make certain to keep a consistent seam.

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    I will often sew with half the length of the strip--20 inches, instead of the whole width. I don't seem to get the bowing so much then. It does depend on the pattern and if I need the whole length.

  16. #16
    Member char7439's Avatar
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    I always use my walking foot to sew strips. Never have a problem.

  17. #17
    Power Poster joyce888's Avatar
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    I agree with everyone about alternating sewing directions and adding a bit more length to stitches. Also may I suggest checking the thread weight?
    Joyce

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  18. #18
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    When I was first starting out, I took on a Ricky Timms Harmonic Convergence pattern because I thought, "It's all straight lines, how hard can that be?"

    Well, I sewed one strip to another and ended up with a terrible bowing. You'd think I would have noticed that even though I was starting with the pieces lined up together, I wasn't ending with them together -- one piece was a little shorter each time. (Actually, I did notice, but I disregarded it, because as I said, I was just starting out and I was a little careless that way).

    Anyway, I ended up with a big piece of fabric with a gentle curve throughout. I was crushed. I ended up cutting it into a big fish shape, because that was the only shape I could fit into the weird shape I had. I thought I'd either make a big fish pillow or stitch it down onto a piece of fleece. In truth, I hid it away because it was such a disaster.

    I saw it not too long ago...maybe I'll try to fix it. Nah. But don't feel bad about your bowing, just sew in alternate directions, like the others have said!
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  19. #19
    Super Member lass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crqltr View Post
    Sew your first two strips then on the next strip start at the other end of your pieces on every strip..it was the first thing I was taught in a strip piecing class I took.
    Yes I agree. Also STARCH STARCH STARCH. You might want to use liquid starch - medium, the bottle will tell you the ratio of water to starch. Damp dry, iron cut material and then sitch one strip together starting one way and then stich the next strip to the original two by starting at the opposite ends of the strip ie. where you finished stitching. Keep doing that and your strips should be straight. I did a Ricky Timms convergence quilt and it required very exacting matches and that is what I did and it worked beautifully.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member quilticing's Avatar
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    If the stitches are too short, the extra thread in the seam might add to the problem.

  21. #21
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
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    Jan, thanks for the illustration and explanation. I didn't know that!! Love the way you share so everyone (even visual learners) can understand. Thanks.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member KathyJ's Avatar
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    When I strip piece, I use a foundation of muslin, overcut so I can trim to the desired block size when I'm finished. Has worked extremely well for me. Plus, when you have the blocks finished, they are already quilted & there is no need to use batting. I call these "sleeping porch quilts" because they are lighter in weight and great for summer, warmer climates, or just cat naps. They're especially great for donation quilts too. If I don't have muslin for the foundation, I have used that "ugly, what was I thinking" fabric for the foundation. Give it a try & let us know how it turns out. Have fun & enjoy the process!

  23. #23
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    I am also currently making a strip quilt...my 1st one. I thought it would be easy-peasy, just straight sewing lines, right? NO! The least bit of deviance shows up on those long rows, everything gets off kilter, etc. No bowing yet, thank goodness. Probably because I did alternate my starting points like everyone one here has suggested. I'm just going to let it go a little wonky and put a funky, old fashioned label on it, so it looks like all that weirdness was intentional.

  24. #24
    Super Member Rosyhf's Avatar
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    I have never had that problem and I strip piece a lot.....are you sure you are cutting the strips on the lenght of grain? Do a few strips now, test the fabric to make sure you are on the side that doesn't have a stretch. After you cut one strip, test it to see if it stretches, it is easy to get the grains confused. Press your steam gently. I press with a lift and touch on the wrong side first to head them in the direction that I want and then when I am on the right side, I don't have to press too hard...try the lift and tough and press gently.....

  25. #25
    Senior Member kellen46's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by char7439 View Post
    I always use my walking foot to sew strips. Never have a problem.

    This is the solution I use, but the sewing of strips from alternate ends works well also. Another trick I have found is to lift the two strips up off the sewing bed just a bit as you send them through to the needle. It is something factory sewers use to keep "the creep" away. I just pinch the strips together with my fingers, sew up to the foot and then re adjust.
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