Saturday, July 11, 2009

I know you can help...

I have just spent a frustrating afternoon machine quilting my Chinese Coin quilt.  And despite my very best efforts I have been encountering several pleats on the back (as shown)  In all the years that I have been quilting this is one area I have yet to master.  I did baste it well with safety pins and pressed the front and back well with a bit of starch and I'm using cotton wadding.  Have you got any suggestions as to how I can avoid this in the future?  I have another quilt waiting to be basted and I'm going to wait for your top tips before I proceed with it.
Thanks for your help :o)

Until next time...

25 comments:

Chris said...

Do you keep your backing fabric pulled taut (using masking tape / slips ...) to hold it still?
Chris x

Nancy said...

Like Chris, I think the backing is not being pulled taut. I have a HUGE dining room table and I use 6 large clamps from Lowes to clamp the backing down to the table. Then I add the batting and reclamp one clamp at a time. Then I add the top and reclamp again only removing and replacing one clamp at a time. Then pin....

Marilyn R said...

Jane there can be many reasons why you are getting the pleats in the backing of your quilt. I have done quite a bit of machine quilting and have had two instances in which I have had pleating. The first was when my Mother wanted me to quilt her quilt and she used a poly cotton for the backing and a poly for the batting. Talk about a nightmare! The backing would slide around no matter how many safety pins I had placed in it. The second time was when I starched my backing like an "expert" told me to do. The batting couldn't grab onto the backing. I had pined as usual, but the pleating happened. Talk about frustrating. It is important to have the backing fabric pulled taut but not overly so and put a safety pin in at least every 4 inches. Using a 100% cotton backing and a batting that has cotton in it reduces the chances of pleats occuring. I have been told that you shouldn't close the safety pins until you have them all in place. It is thought that this makes less pulling of the backing which would help keep pleats away. I haven't found that to be a big deal for me, but it works for some. Good luck, and let us know how the next quilting project goes!

Kim said...

I like to use a basting spray on the backing. I agree with the comments about keeping the backing taut while basting with pins. Really important. I wash my backing fabric and I never starch it. I wear Machingers quilting gloves when I do free motion quilting, helps keep the quilt straight and taut as it goes under the needle.

Anna said...

I tape the backing to the living room table (if it is a small quilt) or the floor (large quilt). Then I spray baste it with 505 temporary adhesive spray and place the batting. I pat it down rather than smoothing it out.
Then I spray again and place the top. Again, pat it flat. Lift and adjust if it isn't right.
After that I put in a couple of safety pins, just for safety. :)
I never had any puckers or pleats on the back of my quilts.

Another thing I do is I don't handle the quilt in the machine the way I'm told. :) I don't push is around with my finger tips and palms - I grab ahold of all the layers and make myself a good handle with it. That holds the layers together and makes a heavy quilt so much easier to handle.

I apologise for my less than perfect English. Good luck with your next quilt backing!
By the way, I love your blog!

connie said...

I have a terrible time basting using pins so I do the old fashioned way and I baste with thread all over the place. It holds things in place and I do not have to worry about sewing over the stitches. I have problems most of the time with pins but again I am a novice at all of this but it is great fun.

Contented Caroline said...

I'm just wondering where you begin your quilting - by starting in the middle I can usually push out any bunching up out of the edges.

Hope you find a way to solve your problem.

Lisa @ Life with 4! said...

Hi Jane, you have a wonderful blog, beautiful pictures!
I've enjoyed my look around and liked your earlier post about the special little note..."do not put tings on here!" so cute!!

darlynn said...

Jane,

I agree with the other responses to a certain degree. You do need to keep the backing fabric firm and without wrinkles, but don't pull it too taut, that will also cause your quilt to not lie flat. You will get the hang of it, just give yourself some time.

Those big paper clamps/clips (black with the large u-shaped "fingers" extending from the end of the black square) work well to keep the backing pulled flat (like those found at an office supply store). If you don't know what I am talking about, masking tape will work.

Best wishes...and so enjoy reading your blog.

darlynn

willywagtail said...

I have the same problem which is why I stay away from quilting! LOL I like the idea of the spray basting but part of me rebels for cheating but it will probably be the only way I will ever quilt successfully. You might need an expert to watch you and pick up what you are doing wrong.

summersadie said...

I don't think I'm telling you anything new that hasn't already been said. The only time I've had puckers in the back was when I basted on carpet and couldn't tape the back taut on the floor. I've never starched them, but I use pins and basting spray.

Howdy said...

Have you seen Sharon Schamber's video on basting? It's a really neat concept - I haven't tried it yet but will with the next quilt I machine quilt myself.

I'm always concerned when folks say to pull the backing taunt... because if you pull too tight you can be causing the puckering when you undo the taping if the batting and top are not at the same tension as the backing... does that make sense? I hope so... Good Luck!

Howdy said...

Ummm and this would be the link to the video I mentioned above...

http://sharonschambernetwork.com/free_area/videos/basting/index.html

Needled Mom said...

I, too, had that problem when I first started pinning my quilts. Once I learn to tape the backing down taut before applying the batting and top, it worked great. It sounds like everyone has given you the same info so I am sure your next attempt will be awesome!!!!

lovestitches said...

Like the others I was going to suggest pulling the fabric taut as you feed it through. Pleats are a sewers worst nightmare!

Ali said...

This is why I hand-quilt!

Indie House said...

I've had great luck taping the backing right side down with painter's tape then laying the batting and top over it. Smooth the quilt out and start pinning from the middle. Then I quilt out from the middle. Works like a charm.

You can also use the painter's tape to create designs and then follow the edge of it when quilting.

Good luck!

Nancy said...

I did my last quilt with fusible batting, and had no pleating or puckers. I haven't tried the basting spray yet. But I hate pinning and always had pleats.

Feather on a Wire said...

Despite what others are saying, I do have my backing drum taut.
You say you pinned well. How well? Every four inches or less?
How are you holding the fabric? Are you grabbing it with one hand and pulling the bottom and/or the top differently?
I know Diane Gaudynski starches her bottom fabric, I don't.
You could try sliding an 8" embroidery hoop under your work. Just the bit without the nut on it. When using that you are holding the sandwich out smoothly at the same time as moving the quilt. I still do this in the middle of a very large quilt where it's hard to manipulate it easily.
Another thought? Are you stopping and re-positioning the quilt often enough? The quilt must not have any drag on it.
HTH
Sally

Libby said...

I'm a big fan of spray basting. Still I get the occasional tuck. How do I cope? I use careful label placement or a strategic applique'd heart or star to cover the offending spot *S*

Shasta said...

When I baste on the floor, I use masking tape to keep the backing flat. Not too tight, then when I put the batting on, I pet everything down, and same with the top. When I baste on a table, I use binder clips to keep the batting straight. I also check my work when I am finished to make sure it isn't lumpy, and if it is, I can fix it right then and there.
Cotton batting helps keep everything down - I find polyester too slippery.

Another thing you can try is to quilt motifs instead of continuous motion. That way, any lumps will be hidden in between your motifs.

Shasta said...

Oh yeah and take your safety pins out before you get to them. Then smooth out portion of the quilt you are quilting. Sometimes the fabric bunches up when you are trying to maneuver around a safety pin.

Anina said...

I baste on the floor and secure the backing with painters tape, making sure there are no wrinkles and it's pretty taut.
Have you tried that?

Banaghaisge said...

Spray basteing is magic! No wrinkly toe breaking bits if you use that...
Hugs,
Jas

Quilter Kathy said...

I think this happens to me when I don't pull the backing taut enough and tape it to the table...it starts to pleat with the excess fabric.