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Thread: Why are my 1 inch strips bowing after being sewn? They are smiling at me.

  1. #26
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    I've found that what makes a fabric "bow" is not so much the cutting or sewing, as the pressing. I drew a straight line on my cutting board so when I press strip sets, I can be sure the seam stays perfectly straight. Also, I have found that if it is possible to do with the pattern you are working with, I piece just half the width of fabric strips, not the full width. They seem to be easier to handle and don't stretch as much. Easier to keep pressed straight, too. Sometimes this is not possible because of your pattern, or because you don't have enough fabric, but if you can do it this way, it's worth a try!

  2. #27
    Super Member Normabeth's Avatar
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    try sewing each strip in a different direction
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  3. #28
    Senior Member Sunflower Girl's Avatar
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    I was taught that when sewing strips you need to fold them in the middle and pin from the middle out and sew alternating from one side to the other. You may need to rip it out and redo it.

  4. #29
    Senior Member Ccorazone's Avatar
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    According to Jenny Doan, this will happen if you sew from the same end all the time. Try alternating ends when you sew and see if that makes a difference.

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  5. #30
    Senior Member taiboo's Avatar
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    I have learned over the years, when working with anything over 6 inches long...pin pin pin....that keeps everything from stretching

  6. #31
    Super Member kateyb's Avatar
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    I have found that when sewing several strips together I sew the strips from opposite directions that helps to keep them from bowing. Example: sew tne first two strips together than add the third from the opposite end that you sewed the first two strips, etc. Hope that makes sense.

  7. #32
    Super Member carslo's Avatar
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    As stated above it is the weave in the fabric - I have never been able to fix a bad bow
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  8. #33
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    You probably cut your 1 inch strips WOF (Width of fabric) instead of on the straight grain. All strips should be cut on the straight grain to avoid this "bowing"

  9. #34
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
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    I agree with brenwalt on cutting the strips from the length of fabric. Be careful not to stretch as you are sewing, let the feed dogs do their work. Pressing should be able to help if there is only minor bowing.

  10. #35
    Senior Member Pat75's Avatar
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    I just finished a barjello quiilt and to stop bowing I sewed each strip one from the top the next from the bottom it takes longer but it works the other thing you want to let your feed dogs pull the fabric through do not pull or push it
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  11. #36
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    I really appreciate all the responses. This is a very frustrating situation as I am sure there is an answer I just can't find it. I think most likely it is the answer about using batiks with regular weave fabrics. This is my first time using batiks.

    I forgot to mention in my original post that I did indeed cut these strips LOF and I carefully worked on getting straight of grain first.

    I am working with strips that are only 10 inches long (by one inch wide) so they are farily short. I am only making strip sets with 2 and 3 strips for 4 patches and 9 patches so it is not like sewing a 40inch long strip together with 10 other strips (like a bargello or other type quilt). The bowing is happening as a result of the sewing. I know this because they go into the sewing machine straight and then come out slightly bowed. I have played around with the tension but have not tried to vary the pressure on the presser foot. I will try that today. I will also try to use the walking foot and see but the walking foot on this machine (it is a Babylock Espire) doesn't work very good. PLus, I don't think I can use an "off center" stitch width with the walking foot and that is the only way to get a good scant quarter inch seam.
    Last edited by AngelinaMaria; 09-08-2012 at 08:52 AM.

  12. #37
    Senior Member kellen46's Avatar
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    What presser foot are you using. If it is not an even-feed or walking foot that may be your problem. A regular foot will send the two fabrics under the needle at a differing rate. One is pushed and one is pulled. On short seams this is not a problem, on long seams it is. If you don't have a walking foot, try this trick when sewing the seam, hold the two fabrics together in you left hand up a little and somewhat taut. This is a trick used by seamstresses in clothing factories. Another is to sew the strips alternating top to bottom, bottom to top, that way the distortion cancels each other out.
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  13. #38
    Super Member Greenheron's Avatar
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    To, maybe, narrow down the problem, can you take some of your strips to another machine or to a LQS and try the seams there? If they are O.K. you'll know it's your machine. If they still curve, ask someone else to try. If they STILL curve, try using identical fabric for both pieces........ Well, I hope you get the picture. It does sound like a feed problem. On my first machine I had to keep a little pressure on the bottom fabric to keep even.

  14. #39
    Super Member margecam52's Avatar
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    Try holding the top strip up, just above the surface of the bottom strip...matching the cut edge. I do this when stitching curves, but lately, I've started doing it all the time..it seems to help some. Also, I agree that once you sew the one pair of pieces, when you are ready to add another strip...reverse and start sewing on the edge you ended sewing on. If you do like I do, and sew a pair together, set it aside, sew another pair...then make sure to put a pin in the ending edge...so you know that when you join two pair together...you want to have the pin from both be your start end. This in effect gives you the alternating stitching direction.
    Lastly...remember to Press every seam... I use a spray bottle or can of sizing/starch...and "set" the seam..then open out, one seam at a time and press them to one side...all in the same direction.



    Quote Originally Posted by AngelinaMaria View Post
    I am sewing a large number of 10 inch long by 1 inch wide 2 and 3 strip sets. The background strip is a regular cotton and the other strips are Hoffman batiks. When I sew 2 strips together, they come out of the sewing machine slightly bowed. The center spot is bowed down (so it looks like a smile when placed on the cutting board the same side up and was sewn) by 1/8 of an inch. I am wonder if there is something I should be doing or changing that would prevent that.

    I am using a new sharp 70/10 needle that was recommended to me for use with my batiks.

    I am using Connecting Threads thread which is 50 weight.

    Is there something that will stop this from happening or do you just need to correct it by straightening out the piece gently when you set it to press?
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  15. #40
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    Try sewing every other other strip in the opposite direction if your strips are stright. Hope this may help.

  16. #41
    Super Member kiffie2413's Avatar
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    As several others have said, I can attest to switching back and forth which end you start sewing from. When my quilt group and I made a quilt with lots of skinny strips sewn together we would alternate which end we started sewing from... sew 1 or 2 at one end, then turn it around and sew the next 1 or 2 from the other end...it really helps the bowing a lot!
    Good luck,
    Kif
    Last edited by kiffie2413; 09-08-2012 at 11:11 AM.
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  17. #42
    Senior Member quilting in my60s's Avatar
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    When this happens to me it means I have cut too many layers of fabric at the same time. Usually 4 layers is all I can get by with then also you need to check to make sure the fabric is folded completely flat (sometimes when you fold several layers to cut you get a little wobbly where the fabric is folded) I always check after cutting about two strips to make sure I don't need to straighten the edges again. Hope this helps!
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  18. #43
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    I think it is because the feeds dogs on the underneath piece have a tendency to feed the bottom piece in a little faster than the top. So, as you sew, pull on the fabric and keep them even. It is kind of difficult to explain, but if you don't hold the fabric a little tight, then after sewing two strips that started out the same length, won't end up evenly together...and I think that this causes the bending.

  19. #44
    Super Member topper1's Avatar
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    I would try lengtening stitch a little at time see if that helps
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  20. #45
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    If you want to use these strip strata without resewing (most accurate) cut the strata in the center (highest curved part of the bow). This will help "staighten most of the roll when you are piecing.

    Just remember, gentle hands when sewing, and check for staightness every couple of cuts. (yes, I mean this) It is easy to get off and hard to get back on. If you are off, cut a compensating strip to even out your edge.

  21. #46
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    I know that when you make a bargello quilt the instructions have you sew the strips together alternating which side you start on - start on top row and sew down for odd rows and sew from the bottom to the top on even rows to prevent this bowing. I now apply this to all my piecing and it seems to have worked.

  22. #47
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    If you do not alternate the direction when stitching these together they will bow. So one the first strip sew from the l-r, then the next strip sew r-l. This makes the world of difference.

  23. #48
    Junior Member kcferrel's Avatar
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    when sewing multiple strips together you should reverse the direction you sew on every strip, if you always sew your strips starting on the same end, learned this in a bargello class where you make tubes of strips and cut them apart.
    Also, someone else mentioned this, be sure that your strips are cut straight. Lastly, mentioned before, using a walking foot can help.
    I found that starting on the opposite end after sewing the previous strip works.

  24. #49
    Senior Member Grannyh67's Avatar
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    Mine done that when I did not have the fabric folded properly before cutting my strips. Where it is folded is where you will get the wave if you don't have it folded even. I'm not sure I worded this right, but I'm sure there is someone on here that can, lol...this is where I learned that.
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