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 UNDULATING. 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. Melissa

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. Later, kg
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