Questions People Have About Quilting.

The questions people have about quilting are sometimes hard to answer or have multiple answers. It may depend who you ask because there are steps and processes quilters have a wide range of opinions on.  Am I right? Getting one straight answer is impossible and a new quilter can just end up more confused than ever. Let’s dive into some of these controversial questions and answers.

No Rule Zone Here!

Let me preface by saying, if you are wanting to enter a quilt show or have your quilt judged at an event you will need to follow their rules to a tee. That is how they judge all entries fairly. Things need to be done a certain way and that’s how you need to do them. Okay now we can proceed with those of us who just want to quilt for fun, ourselves, or gifts for others.

The answers to the questions below all come down to a personal preference. What works for some people doesn’t always work for others. Some situations dictate the right way to do something. The results you want may dictate how you proceed. Experiment and pick what works best for you in the situation you’re in. I will tell you what I like when it comes to these questions, but feel free to let me know what you do. Dialog helps everyone decide for themselves.

To Wash or not to Wash Your Fabric.

I’ve heard people say that they have had colors in the fabric bleed into their quilt, so they always wash first. This is scary and no one wants this to happen.  Washing can prevent this from happening. Sometimes I wash, but most of the time I don’t. I love the feel of new fabric and I like working with it that way. I like how the quilt looks too when the top is finished. The only times I wash my fabric first is if I got it from someone else, or if it’s a cheaper fabric and not quilt shop quality. I do, however, always wash flannel because it has a high shrinkage rate.

Do you wash a quilt you are gifting to someone else? To be honest, I had never heard of doing this until I heard someone talking about it on a podcast. She likes how it feels and looks after it’s been washed. She also mentioned that if you have animals in the house, it would be a good idea. Another personal preference better left up to you!

To Starch or not to Starch

I challenged myself last year to work on blocks that used small pieces in the Sew by Row Quilt. One of the suggestions was to starch the fabric first because it gives each piece some stiffness and reduces fraying. I really liked it and find myself starching a lot more. The blocks seem to lie a little flatter too! I don’t always take the time to starch when sewing with larger pieces or strips. They don’t have the same issues that smaller pieces do.

To Press Seams Open or to One Side.

I was taught that you always press seams to one side. My blocks seemed a little wonky and never flat. Last year I learned that it depends. I guess you never stop learning in quilting. It depends on the block. If the block has small pieces, then mostly press the seams open because this reduces bulk and helps the block lie flatter. In larger pieced blocks I press to one side for the most part. Take a look at the block and decide where to press the seams open and where to press to one side. I usually use a combination of both in one block! I have shortened my stitch length to 1.8 so there aren’t any seams coming apart at the beginning or end. When you are needing to match points, the best way is to press seams to the side and nest them together with pins. However, you can match points with open seams too!

How Do You Cut Binding?

Finally, I wanted to share this with you because it was something I just heard. I always cut my binding WOF (width of fabric) unless it needs to curve and then it must be a bias cut. I have cut it this way, but it’s rare. The majority of my quilt projects are square or rectangular. This is what I read the other day:  cutting WOF is common, but it can have some stretch to the binding. If the finished quilt ends up with wavy sides, this might be the reason. The third way to cut the binding is parallel to the selvage. I had never heard of this. Apparently the straight of grain line parallel to the selvage has the least stretch and gives a firmer straight edge to the quilt! I may be behind the eight ball on this so let me know if you have heard of this or if it’s new to you too! I may try it and let you know what I think.

Hope you have found these questions about quilting helpful. Make sure not to stress out about it if you do something a little different than someone else. The most important thing is that you are happy with your quilt in the end!

Have a wonderful finish to the month of May. On June 7th look for the next blog.

Always make time for sewing,

1 thought on “Questions People Have About Quilting.”

  1. Working at a quilt shop, I hear a lot of questions and a lot of opinions. I agree personal preference plays a big role. Other than having consistent seams, there are multiple opinions on how to do things. Try different things and do what works best for you. I am a pre washer and iron seams to the side.

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