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Thread: Trouble sewing on the bias

  1. #1
    Member SoSewSue's Avatar
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    Question Trouble sewing on the bias

    I am a brand new quilter working on my very first quilt and I need some advice. I've scoured the board (and internet) but I can't seem to find an answer, which makes me think I'm missing something really really basic. (Although I've learned loads from reading the posts on this board!).

    The part I am having trouble with is sewing two little squares on the diagonal into the corners of a large rectangle ( flying geese effect when done). When done the fabric doesn't lie flat - I can press out the puckering but there remains a very slight 'buckle' in the fabric of the large rectangle (like I have stretched the fabric). Am I missing a trick - or is this just the way it works ? I have used the same stitch length and tension that worked well for joining squares together for another part of the quilt.

    All suggestions gratefully welcome.

  2. #2
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    Are you sewing on the little squares and then trimming the square and rectangle underneath to get the effect of flying geese?

  3. #3
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    It's not because you're new that the bias edge is giving you trouble. The bias is tricky for experienced sewers too. When ever possible I sew the bias edge of triangles from two squares put together. This won't work for your situation because you are trying to sew them into an existing pattern. Just sewing them in has probably stretched them. You may need to start with new fabric. If you are doing flying geese, I use the pattern where you start with a rectangle and place a square at one end. You sew the diagonal and then trim the extra fabric at the 1/4 inch seam and repeat on the second side.

  4. #4
    Member SoSewSue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRANNYMO View Post
    Are you sewing on the little squares and then trimming the square and rectangle underneath to get the effect of flying geese?
    Yes. Although the pattern recommends only trimming the unneeded portion of the little square and keeping the whole rectangle underneath for stability. The trimming doesn't seem to help nor make worse the fabric buckle in the middle of the big triangle.

  5. #5
    Senior Member SittingPretty's Avatar
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    Starching the fabric can help some. It seems to keep the fabric more rigid and not as "stretchable." Also, sew more slowly. I notice when I rush, things really get all wonky and I have to start over.
    SittingPretty

  6. #6
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    that last two posts are helpful. Handle the fabric lightly, don't force or try to make things fit.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I agree that starching the fabric and going slowly help. Although spray starching already-cut pieces helps, what helps even more is heavily starching the fabric before you ever cut it into pieces. When I am concerned about bias, I use a 1:1 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water on the yardage, "painting" the solution on until the fabric is saturated, tossing in dryer, then ironing with steam. This makes the fabric very stable, even on the bias.

  8. #8
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I never use starch, but pinning prevents stretching, puckering, and shifting...especially when sewing on bias edges and curves.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  9. #9
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    a whole lotta starch. my pieces don't even bend. (much)

  10. #10
    Member SoSewSue's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions! Tomorrow I am going to get some starch and see if that works for me.

  11. #11
    Super Member Chicca's Avatar
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    One suggestion that a friend gave me, was to use a thin line of Washable Elmers Glue and iron the two pieces together before sewing. It has been a great help to me; even though it does take a tad bit of extra time.
    Brenda

  12. #12
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Yes on the starch - an enormous benefit.

    And I second the recommendation of using glue.

    A third tip for flying geese is this method (see link below). While you do still sew on the bias with this method, you do it before you cut it - not after. I've found that because I'm working with the whole square and sewing down the center, the fabric is a lot more stable.

    http://members.shaw.ca/BeverlysQuiltingPage/ffg.htm
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  13. #13
    Super Member katesnanna's Avatar
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    A much easier way to make flying geese is with one large sq. and two small squares, no trimming, no waste.

    WWW.quilterscache.com/H/Howto make geese.html

    The 3rd example is the one.

  14. #14
    Super Member Arleners's Avatar
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    Another thing to try is something I saw on You Tube. I forget which instructor, but it was one of the major ones. She recommended taking a strip of iron on interfacing and attaching it on the bias where you will be sewing, this will stablize the fabric so it won't pucker when you sew.
    Arlene

  15. #15
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicca View Post
    One suggestion that a friend gave me, was to use a thin line of Washable Elmers Glue and iron the two pieces together before sewing. It has been a great help to me; even though it does take a tad bit of extra time.
    This works well, as the glue stabilizes the sewing lines. I would use this method on pieces already cut, but I usually heavily starch fabric before cutting them. If you let the starch dry, you won't get as much starch on your irons sole plate, and the iron won't stick to the fabric either
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