Monday, June 3, 2013

patchy Pillow + a Question

This weekend it felt really, really good to be behind the machine again... finishing things.  I LOVE finishing!

patchy Pillow

I finished this simple squares patchwork pillow, which has been waiting in the wings for weeks.  When I made those chair covers, I made one extra patchwork square destined for the couch.

Both of the pillows on this sofa are covering identical down pillow forms.  This weekend's pillow is holding it shape nicely, so I thought I'd share my recipe.  For this 24" form, I made patchwork that measured 21" square and cut a corduroy Chicopee backing to the same size.  I adding batting and quilted both the front and back before assembling, which I think makes a big difference.  My other pillow, the hourglass one, has batting/quilting only on the front.  The batting seems to cling to the pillow form inside, discouraging slipping and sliding and morphing.

Like I said, this pillow is holding its shape well.  My hourglass pillow gets slouchy with any use.  It plumps up nicely for visitors, but doesn't hold its shape.

summer reading!

Then I referenced my invisible zipper tutorial to attach closure and finish her up.  Can you spot the zipper in this picture?

Mmm... how yummy is a quick project, right?  (psst... looking for some summer picture books for older kids?  Roxaboxen is a dear old-friend we read every year, and The Voyage of Turtle Rex is a new one with an inspiring sound.  Both from the library!)

mmm... did you know Garden Party is coming back?

Enjoyed doodling some dogwood quilting again. I'm telling you... you've got to try it!

Hey, did you hear that Anna Maria Horner is re-running her Garden Party collection?  That's what I heard.  How wonderful!  I've used some much-treasured scraps in this pillow.  I'll be excited to dive into it again and for reals, since that collection was released "before my time".  Hehe.

this weekend

I know this is a uck picture, but I had to share... my sewing room was crowded this weekend!  These two little sewists had fabric and pins and extra tools cluttering up the table.  Felt a bit overwhelming, but was glad to see them enjoying themselves... especially Liam (who has at times stated that sewing is for girls)!  And, hey, I still got stuff done.

Love circle, do. Good Stitches blocks

In fact, I also made this set of star blocks for the Love circle of do. Good Stitches.  Wonky stars from triangle scraps... of course!

So, I have a question!  Do you see those wrinkly lines inside the center of the smallest star and in the dark purple solid surrounding the purple star?  Those show up sometimes when I use starch to press a finished project.  I think I'm using too much starch?  I don't think I'm dragging the iron to cause stretching, but that's what it looks like, right?  Do you think it's the combo of starch and slight dragging?  Or just too much starch?  Or what?

I really hate it when that happens since there's no going back once the fabric gets stretched (which is what I think that is).  I'm pretty sure it's a fault that only a sewist would notice in certain lighting (like this light), so I try not to let it annoy me to pieces.  But, all the same, I'd like to avoid it in the future.   Does it ever happen to you? What do you think causes it?

46 comments:

  1. It could be the fabric - I have had some fabrics do the same - especially solid whites. Spritz with some water and re-press or use a damp pressing cloth - that should take care of that.

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    1. In the past, I've tried repressing with steam to no avail. That's what made me think it was stretched, but maybe a press cloth would be different?

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  2. I'm getting ready to put pillows together for each of my kids and I never thought to make the covers smaller than the pillows! That would certainly keep them looking full! Thanks!

    As for your dragging issue--I haven't had that experience when I use starch, but I usually only work with quilting cottons. I'm finishing up a quilt for my son right now that has a mix of fabric types (whatever he chose) and I find that they don't all behave nicely. Could you be using a looser weave fabric? What happens if you pin the blocks to a blocking board and gently steam them?

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  3. What a lovely flowerish quilting on that pillow!

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    1. Thanks, Nilya! And so fun to do.. if a little nerve-wracking still.

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  4. I've found that now that I press on a board covered with a towel rather than a padded ironing board, I rarely get those ripples. I agree that it's annoying, but once you quilt and wash it, they disappear in the overall texture. Thank goodness.

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  5. I'm going to follow along on your question because I had the same thing happen on my Schnibbles project this month on my Moda Bella background fabric. I didn't pre wash it because I was using a charm pack and when I pressed the top with steam I got the ripples. No starch involved, but since I usually pre wash I wonder if it's not the sizing. I don't usually wash my small quilts but I'll be washing this one...

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    1. I've had it happen on prewashed AND not prewashed fabrics. Usually I notice it with solids, which might be because it's just more obvious.

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  6. Maybe it's the starch - I never use starch after I put seams in fabric. It just seems easier to avoid that problem. Plus I don't think blocks really need starch after they've been pieced. They're going to be quilted and then washed to make them wrinkly, so what the hey, why not just press your seems and leave the starch to the before sewing process. :)

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    1. I always starch "before" cutting and piecing. Makes everything sew up so nice!

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  7. I like the blocks and have no idea how to fix your problem, but as Judith said they will dissapear once quilted and washed anyway.

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  8. that has happened to me when pieces are pretty small. I think it is the combo of a little bit of drag from the iron and the starch as you suspect. It happened on a couple of my sashing strips on my Coins on the Sidewalk quilt. I let it completely dry, then went back over with a dry iron and they went away. I pressed the rest with a dry iron and those didn't do that at all. Good luck!

    -Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

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  9. I had that wrinkly line issue on some starched, pressed white background blocks this past week... Glad you asked for feedback as there are some good ideas here! BTW, LOVE those stars!

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  10. I've had this happen a few times with starch as well. On my scrappy trip quilt it happened on almost every block and on a dresden plate I made just last week as well, but once the fabric cooled and sat for a bit they went away so I wasn't too concerned about them. I am still curious as to what is causing it.

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    1. I'm definitely finding that mine linger, days and days, since I have some blocks that are still not sewn into a quilt top that I've observed it on. Also, I've tried pressing them out on a later date without starch, and it hasn't worked.

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  11. I got the same and I didn't use any starch. I found that I distorted the bias edge of the pieces while sewing. Where on your triangles is the bias edge? It might help to glue the fabric together before sewing if you don't like these wrinkles at all. Else they'll disappear when quilting, won't they?

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    1. The purple was not bias, actually, though the triangle pieces were bias. The parts that had the wrinkles were straight grain!

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  12. I watched a video on YouTube about pressing and starching fabric. I can't remember where I found it, but she recommended several light starchings before the fabric is cut. Once she started piecing, she used little to no starch because she said that was what caused the wrinkles. I used to starch heavily at every stage, but since following her advice, I very rarely have any wrinkles.

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  13. I personally think it is some kind of stretching issue, as I have never used starch on a quilt, and have this happen occasionally, which is always annoying. My opinion is that the piece that is wrinkly is slightly larger than the triangles (or other piece,) thus in order for it to lay flat, the extra fabric has to go somewhere so it creates the wrinkles? Just my theory....

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  14. I know exactly what you're talking about. If you saturate the fabric with starch rather than just lightly misting it, those little wrinkles will show up. They can be really difficult to press out after they get set (try misting with a little plain water and gently repressing), but after washing they should disappear.

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    1. Oh, that's good news. I really think that's what's going on. Sometimes I get way to "serious" with the spray starch!

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  15. I've run into this problem before and usually it's caused by too much moisture from my iron on the steam setting, or too much starch. My best guess is the fibres are too relaxed, usually a washing straightens this problem out.

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  16. I get these wrinkles sometimes with or without starch. They seem more common on certain solids with my sewing, but I won't name brands. I think it has to do with the weave differences. I'll be reading along to see what others say.

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    1. I've had the problem before with Kona, only when using starch. This time the dark purple is not Kona. It's actually a polyester/cotton blend random thing I bought before I had "standards". LOL.

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  17. I'm so glad you asked this! I only get those wrinkles when I starch after making the block. I think it's the starch because I never get them when I dry press. So I stretch moderately before cutting and not again during piecing.

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    1. Ah, so maybe it is the starch! I've only noticed it happening when I do use starch.

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  18. Your pillows are cute Rachel and I love Roxaboxen too!

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  19. I haven't read the comments before me, but have you considered a harder pressing surface? And I usually press my blocks from the wrong side and that way they don't get those wrinkles. Try to go all the way in up to the seam line with the iron from the wrong side and it'll be smoother. Hope it helped!

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  20. I forgot... Also it helps to press the seams open because in my experience the wrinkles come fromthe fabrics stretching over the seams since the seam is thicker underneath. It also happens with just water, so it's not the starch's fault :))

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    1. Maybe pressing from the wrong side only could help... I'll try that. Thanks! I do press all my seams open. I usually press them from the wrong side first and then from the top. I was starching these at the end in order to make them nice and smooth for pictures. Yeah... that didn't work! Usually it does, if I remember to do it.

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  21. Just had the same problem so really appreciate you asking the question. Haven't used starch that much yet so figure I'm just using a little too much. Wasn't planning to wash right away as i have to send the quilt out for photography but maybe I will have to. I'll see how it looks after quilting.

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  22. I made my first AMH feather block yesterday and the same thing happened to me! I did use a lot of starch as those feathers get really stretchy! so I think it could be a combination of too much starch and how the fabric is cut.

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  23. do you starch with a dry iron?? i only use a dry iron and layers of starch and keep pressing it until it is totally dry and stiff, if i get something that gives me trouble i mist it and press then more starch being careful to press. i also have a firm board covered with flannel, then cotton. just make sure you press until dry that seem to help me the most, i'm new to all this. maybe with all the different styles of using starch we will get this figured, the internet is fascinating.

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  24. I just love that hourglass pillow! (and the new one!) They look so great together. I use cheap cotton backing behind my patchwork and wadding inside my pillows. Would that help it keeps it's shape too (and not grip?)

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  25. I just started using starch and run into this very problem....I think it is me using too much so am rethinking using...maybe some MaryEllens best press?

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    1. Well, that's actually what I use - Best Press. =)

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    2. i make my own out of potato starch and cooled boiled water, just shake before use and lightly misted layers, wayyyyy cheaper

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  26. I had forgotten about your invisible zipper tutorial. I will have a need for that one very soon. I'm glad you mentioned it because it's nearly imperceptible.

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  27. I'm so glad you asked this question! I joined a monthly solids club and have been making x and + blocks from them and those ripples have been turning up. It's annoying cos the blocks are so pretty otherwise. Your commenters have reminded me that they won't show once it's quilted and washed AND I'll be lightly starching before I cut in future too!! Thanks to all for sharing their experience-gained knowledge :)

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  28. I don't have any advice, but I don't use starch for that exact reason. I tried it a few times and didn't feel like it was worth the trouble. I love the pillows, they look perfect on your couch!

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  29. I have been experiencing this with some Kona cotton that I am using in a sampler quilt. The Kona solid is a tad weightier than the print cotton and also the grain seems to be slightly off. These two things can cause the ripples when pressing. I never have this trouble with fabric in my stash that is older fabric, only the newer fabrics, ones bought in the last few years to present. My opinion is even though we are paying more for cottons they are more cheaply made. Off grain fabric can and will cause all kinds of problems.

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  30. OH MY GOSH! I thought I was the only one who loves Roxaboxen!

    Maybe poly filled pillow forms will be better for holding shape?

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    1. I find the poly filled pillows hold shape in the short term, but not in the long term. I'm hoping the down will not compress like the poly in the long term. We'll see!

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  31. I've always blamed those wrinkles on my trying to ease (aka force) one larger bit of fabric to attach to a marginally smaller bit. I end up with a slightly gathered look. I don't use starch.
    Magically, the wrinkles tend to go away with quilting ... usually.

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  32. Rachel, Did you ever come to a resolution about this? I am having the same problem. Maybe you have a blog post I just didn't see. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you!

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    1. Kelly, I haven't had that problem in a long time and I also haven't used starch in quite awhile. I think it is over-using the starch. I probably need to be careful to only lightly mist it, not saturate it. Hope that helps!

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