Avoiding Wavy Edges
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 1994 22:52:41 PST
I read this somewhere and found it works great for keeping
my quilts from having wavy edges.
Measure your quilt making both sides the same length and then
both top and bottom the same width. Then, cut 1/4 incg Poly
twill tape the exact same measurements as the quilt edges.
Hand or machine baste this tape to the back side of the top
of the quilt. Just pull back the batting a bit and do it
right on the edge. I like to hand baste in case you need
to ease it in at all. The best thing to do is do each side,
one at a time, pin the corners, measure the middle of the top
and the middle of the tape and pin. Keep pinning in the middle
of the pins until the whole side is pinned and then basted it on.
Then go to opposite side until all four sides are finished.
LEAVE THIS TAPE ON when you put on the borders and it will
not change size at all and will give nice body to your edges.
Just yell if you have further questions! :-)
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 1994 07:59:35
I don't have any real answers for the how to solve the wavy quilt
questions--I am waiting for posted answers myself. BUT. One year
when a group of us took a tour of Quilt National, the guide pointed
out a particularly wavy quilt, pretty as it was, but wavy as
anything I ever made. She remarked, that it was not wavy but
From that point on, I pride myself in my artistic UNDULATING
quilts. Turned out to be a key word between my friends commenting
on our UNDULATING edges.
I asked a long-time quilter in my guild about that.
We were selecting quilts for our show, and there was one that was
really warped. Her comment was that IF the TOP is flat, the
finished piece sometimes gets really wavy if there is more
concentrated quilting in some areas that there are in others. So it
may very well be that more border quilting will help the woman with
the wobbly wall hanging.
The technique of measuring for border strips through the
center of the piece has been described. When I am done with a
border, especially if I have mitered corners, I lay it out on my
kitchen floor (linoleum) and survey it very critically for
flatness. Laying it on a carpet doesn't work as well because you
can stretch fabric on a fuzzy surface.
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 1994 09:17:30 EST
Jean's hint regarding the twill tape is the one I would pass on
for controling those undulating edges - I think it is described
insome detail (with PIX -thank goodness for me!) in one of the
summer /93 issues - I think June, but that's a guess. MB
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 1994 10:52:03 MST
If you would like a quilted wall hanging to lie flat, try adding a
heavy weight to the bottom. You can do this by adding a metal
weight bar (cut a metal dowel to the right length, spray paint with
rust-proof paint, cover the cut edges with tape) and sew a pocket
along the bottom. Or you can try adding curtain weights to the
corners (square metal weights) for which you would have to sew
little pockets in the back. Or sew a couple of tabs and thread
chain through them (makes the quilt kind of noisy). Or sew a
sleeve and fill it with a tube filled with rice. Or go hog-wild
and sew tabs at the top and bottom of the quilt and add heavy
decorative curtain rods, one at the top for hanging, and one at the
bottom for weight. This would let you also add brackets to the
bottom of the quilt rods to take some of the stress off the top of
the quilt. Or even be revolutionary and frame the wallhanging
which would allow you to stretch the quilt under the frame. Jean
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 1994 11:06:14
I'd add more quilting to the borders to make your quilt
lie flat. If that doesn't work, you could make a frame
for the quilt (use unfinished stretcher bars which you
can get at a framing place) and attach your quilt to them.
The easiest way to do this would be to sew a strip of
fabric around the edges and use that to pull to the back
of the stretcher bars and staple them down. That way there
are no staples going thru your actual quilt. It will look
like a real "work of art" finished in this way--I have
done this to some small quilted pictures I made, even
tho they didn't have a problem hanging flat on the wall.
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 1994 15:16:08 EST
One further thing as a last resort:
Ruth McDowell says in her book, Pattern on Pattern, that when you
find your side edges waving, "With a good strong quilting thread,
tie a sturdy knot and put a row of hand quilting in the ditch along
both sides of the quilt, just inside the binding. For a big quilt
you may have to use several lengths of thread. Don't fasten off
the ends of the threads yet. Hang the quilt...and gently pull the
quilting threads along each side to ease out the extra border
fullness that is causing the waving. Fasten off all the threads
well. In most cases this little gathering won't show at all.
This actually works; I have done it. Mary
Date: 16 Mar 94 12:14:15 EST
A tip to help you get flat edges -- especially for wall hangings.
Measure the top, measure the bottom. Add the two together and
divide by 2. Then cut your border strip to match that dimension,
and ease both sides to fit. This way, you have the same size at
each end. Do the same for the side.
Or you can reverse this, according to whether you usually do top
and bottom border first, or left and right sides first. This is
often a topic of contention. You'll find advice in all the books
about the order in which to do borders.
When you're finished, you have equal sizing on each side and
top/bottom. This will help in keeping the whole top straight and
flat. Now, if you've messed up on the bias on your blocks, then
you've got another problem.
I learned this on a class in Quick Quilts -- that is loosely based
on Mary Ellen Hopkins's book "It's OK If You Sit On My Quilt". I
don't know if the instructor got that tip from Mary Ellen, or not.
Hope this helps the gal who asked. Barb
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 1994 19:35:39
Funny you should be talking about wavy quilt borders and I am
in the process of finishing a wall hanging. I put on borders
and mitered them, squares them up, and the top was very square
and flat. I backed it and used poly batting which I have used
before. I maching quilted it, and not alot... about the same in
the body of the hanging as the borders. Then, as usual, I stitched
around the edge and evened off the backing and batting. AND
IT WAS UNDULATING!!!!!! Now, I have a 32 year old singer slant
maching and it always creeps when I do anything of importance.
I always use a walking foot and don't have any trouble, except
at the edges of quilts. So, I then put on my regular foot and
stitched around just inside the first stitching and VOILA!!!!!!
FLAT QUILT!!!! My suggestion is to stitch around the edge
before you add the binding so the fabric gets pulled in.
Hope this helps in the wavy quilt problem for others as it
did for me. Pauline
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 1994 21:27:58 EST
This is a technique I learned about in a lecture given by Libby
Lehman in Paducah two years ago. I have not done this myself, but
I have a friend here who does this all the time. To get straight
edges on your quilt, you can "block" the quilt, just as you would
a sweater, or piece of needlework. My friend pins her quilt to her
design wall, which is a piece of homosote board(I think this is
like a drywall product, it comes from the home supply store). Just
be sure to use rust-proof pins. Once the edges are perfectly
straight, even, and the correct length, she steams the quilt with
a steamer, or an iron on steam. Only the steam touches the quilt,
not the hot iron. Be sure to let the quilt dry completely before
taking it down from the wall. Libby also says she bastes her
quilts while hung up on the wall, too. The three layers are pinned
at the top, and then pin basted on down the quilt. I don't know if
this method for "blocking" a quilt has been published anywhere
else. Is anyone else out there blocking your quilts, or have
you heard of this before? Like I said, I have not personally done
this, but my friend who does just had a quilt pictured in the last
Quilters' Newsletter. Good Luck, Deb
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 1994 21:25:47 MST
My friend Marla suggested that it was possible to run a gathering
stitch around the outside of the quilt before adding the binding,
then attach the binding the length you want (probably to match that
center measurement, agian.) I tried it on one of those heavily
quilted (more thread than fabric) quilts, and it was great. I
usually stitch the outer edge at about 3/16ths of an inch (just
inside the binding seam allowance) just to keep things square and
straight, using a looong basting stitch on my Bernina. My quilts
generally end up hanging quite flat against the wall. (I also have
been using Warm and Natural batting, which probably helps, too.) Darcy
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 1994 10:47:24 EST
Thank goodness for the Net! I just traded with my Border
Exchange group in my local guild, and the piece I took
out of the bag has the original block plus 2 borders,
and I'm to add the last border. It is incredibly
wavy already. I was really discouraged, but I
think I'll use several of the tips you've given
already to fix it:
1) I'm going to use the average length of the sides
to cut MY borders
2) Then I'm going to check my border on my linoleum
floor for square &wave
3) Then I'm going to use a machine basting stitch
&ease by hand the wavy part to my new part.
Hopefully that'll take care of it. The owner will just
have to do a lot of quilting in the center and inner
borders to take up some of that excess wave.(Maybe I
should include a printout of all these WAVY tips when
I give it back to her) - Tammy
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 1994 09:34:08
If your machine-quilted wall hanging turned out so wavy it looks
like a soft sculpture, you may need to do something more aggressive
than the good suggestions I've seen so far. I tried this once on
a quilt that someone had extensively machine-quilted and it looked
_perfectly_ flat when I was done.
If you have already put the binding on, take that off. Turn the
quilt on its face and with either a seam ripper or a good sharp
razor (be careful) slash the backing in the unquilted areas of the
backing between the machine quilting. Be very careful not to slash
the batting. Turn it over occasionally and pat the quilt into
flatness. In the areas between quilting, you can probably feel
where the batting has lumped and wrinkled because the backing
material has pulled up tight. Keep slashing until you can pat the
quilt perfectly flat. Then get a lightweight, attractive fabric
and cover the slashed backing. Attach the new backing to the quilt
by taking some quilting stitches that are inconspicuous on the
front and go all the way through the back. You can bury the new
stitching in the ditch or under some of the machine stitching. Do
enough of this, carefully, so that you have a new backing that lies
flat with the quilt. Now you can bind it again.
Drastic, I know, but the piece I did this to was so wavy it stood
up two or three inches in places and now it is _flat_. Carol
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 1994 14:30:35 CST
What a bunch of really NEEDED information about various ways to
pour "oil" on the troubled "waves" that undulate (LOVED that one!)
through so many quilts. I have thoroughly enjoyed it all - I can
only add that the article about applying twill tape was in the
August 1993 issue of QNM (if this is one of the days my memory
is working!) Joan
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 1994 22:52:33
I happened across a tip in one of my quilt books a while ago. I
don't remember if this was one of the solutions suggested to the
wavy borders or not.
The idea was to lay the quilt on the floor, and mist the borders
with water, and then to pat the excess out of the border area. The
final step was to use binding cut on the straight of grain rather
than the bias, as there would be no appreciable stretch to allow
the border to wave again.
I have not tried the above, but the tip was credited to QNM.
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