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

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

Old 09-07-2012, 11:06 AM
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Default Why are my 1 inch strips bowing after being sewn? They are smiling at me.

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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Old 09-07-2012, 11:08 AM
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Can you post some photos? That may help show what you are talking about.

I've had problems with bowing when I sew several strips together until I learned to sew from alternating sides/ends of the strip sets. But since you are only sewing 2 strips, that shouldn't be the problem.
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:21 AM
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Sounds wired but did you lay a strip out to see if it's cut perfectly straight. I usually lay a strip down on the counting mat and make sure it's all straight....were human it happens!! Ask me how I know!
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:25 AM
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If your ruler has been used a lot - it may also have a curve in it -

Is your seam allowance the same width for the length of the whole strip?
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:28 AM
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It could be one of two things and it always drives me nuts. If the balance of the tension is off, then over the course of several inches there is less bobbin thread being used than top thread, so the straight line of your edges becomes curved. What I usually do is to lay the strip on my table and then run my fingernail along the seam to pull more bobbin thread through the length of the seam; it seems to help. Also, if your strips are not cut exactly on the straight of grain it can result in the bowing. You're not alone.
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:52 AM
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Are you careful not to stretch the top strip as you sew them together. It is very easy to stretch the top strip as you are trying to keep them straight.
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:54 AM
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Can I just correct this by gently curving them back into a straight line before pressing? I have tried increasing and decreasing tension and they still came out the same. I tried feeding them batik on top for some and the other fabric on top for the others and they all stilled bowed slightly the same. All my strips are within a hair of 1 inch and do lay out straight on the cutting matt before sewing.
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Old 09-07-2012, 12:19 PM
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You might be able to press them straight. Make sure you're not pulling the strip as you're sewing - I've done that. If you have a walking foot, you might try that to see if it helps prevent the bowing.

Also, if you're sewing more than 2 strips together, alternate the ends where you start. In other words, when you sew strip A to strip B, start at the north end, then when you sew strip C, start at the south end.
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Old 09-07-2012, 12:21 PM
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I would add:
- is your material not on the straight of grain, but biased a bit?
- are you using a seam guide or a flanged foot?
- are you using any starch or Best Press sort of thing, which helps prevent this.

I love my Pfaff because of the IDT -integrated dual technology. It is like have 2 sets of feed dogs, top and bottom, so I don't stretch my fabric when I sew.

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Old 09-07-2012, 12:35 PM
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I find that batiks have such a tighter weave than your standard cotton that perhaps having one "stretchier" than the other is causing a problem. Not usually when you are sewing simple squares together, but long strips maybe....
Although I like the look of batiks, I find working with it to be unforgiving because there is no give.

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