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Must be doing something wrong, continued problem

New postPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:58 pm
by kjh9835
Someone please explain why I keep getting puckers when I try to make these baby blankets. I've made several and I know they could be better but I just don't know what I'm doing wrong.

Prewash everything and iron flat, cut out squares, etc.
Sew top together or if using panel, just cut right size and "square" it up. Press all seam allowances the same direction.
Cut out backing and batting (either fluffy or flat) same size as top.
Lay out backing, then the top, then the batting. Smooth them all out and match the edges.
Pin along the edges about every 4" all the way around in one direction, then stitch with the regular zig-zag foot I use all the time. I have used the even feed food, doesn't make any difference. I leave an opening usually along the bottom for turning.
Take out pins and trim along stitch line, flip. Lightly press if needed esp. along the edges and fold in the bottom opening edges and press them in.

Now I usually smooth it all out and put a pin in the center and work out to the edges horizontally then vertically again every few inches. Since I do not have my big padded sewing table yet, I pin all of them into the carpet then start over and re-do them one at a time running my hand underneath to lift and re-pin.
Once I have it "divided" into fourths, I pin the rest of it the start stitching with my even-feed foot but none of them ever end up without puckers. I either stitch in the ditch along with seams made from putting the top together or if it's a panel, around the border edges and a few of the designs (I don't do too many of the panel quilts as the free-hand stitching is time consuming and makes my neck/shoulders hurt). If I start at the top, I stitch all top to bottom. Same with the horizontal seams, left to right both times.

What am I missing?

Kathy

Re: Must be doing something wrong, continued problem

New postPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:06 pm
by LeapFrog Libby
Kathy, if I knew the answer to your question, I would be so happy, because that always happens when I use that method. So I have gone to the easy method put it together like it will be when finished, do the stitching (quilting) , then trim off the excess batting even up the edges and apply binding to finish the quilt. They always told me to allow extra batting when cutting the originals because it shrinks while you quilt.

Re: Must be doing something wrong, continued problem

New postPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:07 pm
by HeyJudee
I rarely do that method, usually referred to as the pillowcase method. By any chance are you using flannel either for the top or backing? If so, flannel stretches which can cause puckering. Another thought, did you lengthen your stitch length. When using my walking foot, I usually quilt using a stitch length of 3.6.

I just reread how you pin your quit. It is probably that your backing wasn't stretched properly. When we pin the quilts for VQC, we do it on a table and we use clamps to clamp one edge to the table, then we need to stretch the backing and clamp down the other edges. The fabric has to be clamped down so that it is taunt. You can tape the edges down with masking tape instead of using clamps. I'm going to try to find a video that shows the method.

Re: Must be doing something wrong, continued problem

New postPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:29 pm
by HeyJudee
This is the best video that I can find about taping the backing. Pinning is usually done on a hard surface, so I don't know if you can get the backing taunt enough on a carpet. Maybe that's part of the problem.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rNliOx3YKE

Re: Must be doing something wrong, continued problem

New postPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:48 pm
by bridesmom
Have you tried spray adhesive to keep the layers all together? I use a quilting spray or 505, spray my backing, lay the batting down, spray the batting, lay the top down, make sure it's all smooth and tight, then pin. I have also taped my backing down to a table or pinned it to my flannel wall to keep it tight so it doesn't shift. The spray adhesive really does help alot. You just need a ventilated area, cause it can stink.

Re: Must be doing something wrong, continued problem

New postPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:49 pm
by bridesmom
Another suggestion, is don't go top to bottom or left to right all the time, go top to bottom, bottom to top and alternate your way around, same for the sides, it doesn't shift so much that way,.

Re: Must be doing something wrong, continued problem

New postPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:07 pm
by kjh9835
I usually use cotton for the backing, either a solid or coordinating print for whatever I'm making, no flannel.

usually quilt using a stitch length of 3.6
?????

The stitch length on my machine goes from basting (6) to very fine (20), then reverse so I don't know what a 3.6 setting would convert to. I usually do the initial stitching on 6 because if it puckers really bad, it's easier to rip out then I go to 10 for the actual stitching right on top of the initial stitching.

I don't make the backing taut so that's probably most of my troubles, I smooth it out but then I pin it. Will try the taping or clamping method with the next one.

I've never even attempted binding ANYTHING. If it's a shirt/vest, I usually just make facings for the edges with the pattern pieces since the only time I ever tried binding it was a disaster (I was 11 yrs old, in jr. high, making a jacket with pre-quilted material...lol). Maybe now I should learn to do it?

The video showed pinning in reverse directions too, I thought I was supposed to do it all one direction so there's another idea to try along with the spray adhesive if I can find one that's not too stinky. There's no window in my sewing room but I have a ceiling fan. I am super sensitive to smells though so I may have to skip that idea.

Thank you all, will keep you posted when I make another.

Kathy

Re: Must be doing something wrong, continued problem

New postPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:46 pm
by kjh9835
Forgot to mention I now have something else to use up my free time: YouTube Tutorials !!! (like the one for applying binding to a quilt).

Kathy

Re: Must be doing something wrong, continued problem

New postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:22 am
by HeyJudee
The spray should only be used in a well ventilated area! 3.6 is a long stitch length approx. 8 or so stitches to the inch.

I would never attempt to do a quilt using the pillowcase turn method cause I think it would be very hard to get it straightened out after turning. I only use that method for placemats and table runners. Anything larger, I always layer and quilt then do a double fold binding.

And I noticed you said that you machine baste then go back and sew with a smaller stitch. Is the quilt OK when you machine baste? Cause most of us never machine baste, we use safety pins to baste the layers together and then quilt the top, removing the pins when they are in our way. Maybe smoothing things out and pinning (every 3-4 inches) would help.

And yep...there are lots of videos out there, some better than others, but you do pick up different techniques and methods to try. Good luck.

Re: Must be doing something wrong, continued problem

New postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:20 pm
by bridesmom
When you get some time :D :D :D check out Missouri quilts you tube tutorials, they are fantastic!