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Fabric Issues

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    Fabric Issues

    Hi! I need some advice, while making the millstone block I encountered a piece of fabric that was difficult to work with (see picture below). First, when I cut it, I couldn't square it up. It has a direction and I was trying to square it up using the pattern. I finally realized that the pattern wasn't actually square (see second photo). It also frayed and unraveled a lot. It didn't like the machine and I had to put it on top when I sewed it. In the places where two pieces of it overlapped (corners of triangles) I had to go stitch by stitch to get it through. I had to pin it into submission and used quite a bit of acorn. A bit about the fabric - it came in a fat quarter bundle and I have used other pieces in the bundle with no issues. I didn't prewash it.

    I was dealing with bias (triangles in the outer border of the block) and at first thought it was me, but now I wonder if it might just be the fabric. Any suggestions or ideas about working with difficult fabrics?

    #2
    Originally posted by [email protected] View Post
    Hi! I need some advice, while making the millstone block I encountered a piece of fabric that was difficult to work with (see picture below). First, when I cut it, I couldn't square it up. It has a direction and I was trying to square it up using the pattern. I finally realized that the pattern wasn't actually square (see second photo). It also frayed and unraveled a lot. It didn't like the machine and I had to put it on top when I sewed it. In the places where two pieces of it overlapped (corners of triangles) I had to go stitch by stitch to get it through. I had to pin it into submission and used quite a bit of acorn. A bit about the fabric - it came in a fat quarter bundle and I have used other pieces in the bundle with no issues. I didn't prewash it.

    I was dealing with bias (triangles in the outer border of the block) and at first thought it was me, but now I wonder if it might just be the fabric. Any suggestions or ideas about working with difficult fabrics?
    Kyla, This might not help you with the difficult fabric, but not long ago Jen from Shabby Fabrics was doing a video on a BOM block and she said she sent extra fabric for the sashings because the manufacturer did not print the design in line with the grain of
    the fabric, so in order to make the design look straight in the sashing you had to cut the fabric on a slight bias. In this case fussy
    cutting the shape was more important than squaring up the fabric. They also say a lot of panel designs are not able to be
    squared up because as the manuf. winds them on the bolt the fabric threads are stretched and if you get a panel near the
    middle of the bolt that is the worst. Don't know if that is true, but it was a very respectful quilter that said it.
    As far as unraveling a lot, it does ravel and stretch wonky more when cut on the bias. I have put Pellon 906 super light non woven interfacing on
    the back of fabric sections and then cut the bias line. That stabilizes and prevent any raveling. It is so light weight you don't
    even notice it is there. I also use it for stabilizing the back of my applique blocks to prevent stitches from bunching up.
    HelenW

    Comment


      #3
      I've done several panel quilts. They were all printed off-grain, slightly on the bias. It is not just panel quilts that have this problem. Many directional prints are printed off-grain as well, and can look skewed. I bought 7 yards of a premium flannel to use on the back of a quilt, but couldn't, because the back of the quilt would look lopsided if sewn on grain.

      Tips I have learned:
      Fabric printed off-grain can look bad in large pieces or in long, big borders, but can look just fine cut into smaller pieces, where you don't notice the off-grain printing.
      I fussy cut small panels on the bias to get the picture to look right, and then starch them heavily, and block them on a gridded pressing board, like the "June Tailor Cushioned Quilter's Square 'N Blocker", which is on sale right now at JoAnn's. I use 1/2 liquid starch diluted with 1/2 water. I let them dry a little until it is damp dry - not sopping wet. Then I line it up on the pressing board to square it up and press. It is as stiff as cardboard when I finish and sews beautifully.

      It helps to sew panels to sashing and borders that have been cut straight-of grain (parallel to the selvage).
      It also helps to make sure the backing is cut straight-of-grain.
      My quilts finish square this way. Done this way, I have never had a problem with a quilt that doesn't hang straight.

      Hope this helps,
      Judy
      Last edited by Judith A.; 06-24-2022, 10:57 AM.

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you Helen and Judith! It didn't occur to me to use some stabilizer, that probably would have made it a lot easier. I don't have a lot of quilting experience so I kept trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. It took me several tries and a couple of "no-no words" (as my daughter calls them) to figure out that it was the fabric. Is it a rarity or does it happen more often? I don't remember ever hearing about wonky printed fabrics.

        I have many panels in my stash but I haven't work with them yet but now I will be on the look out for it. Thank you for the great advice.

        Comment

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