Wednesday, June 22, 2016

gluing, pounding and shrinking (oh my!)

This is kind of a mish mash post, but I wanted to cover a few random things, so we will file this post under tips, tricks and miscellaneous information. How does that sound?
Last week I mentioned that I lined up the stripes on my binding by glue basting. I don't do a lot of glue basting, but there are times when it's quite helpful. Last year a woman came to quilt guild and did a whole demo on this subject, and that's when I bought this super fine tip. It dispenses a very fine line of glue, which you then need to set with a hot iron. Only use washable white school glue for this! It's basically glorified starch....which will come out in the wash. If you want more information, you can google "glue basting" which will yield enough reading information for days! I've also used glue to baste my quilt backing fabric together to line up the repeat. I have to say, the binding strips were much easier...they are much smaller! The super fine tips can also be purchased here. (No affiliation whatsoever, just for your information.)
I'm in a quilt bee with my lovely friends that I retreat with at Gruber's every year. Last month, Michelle asked for a solids version of this bowie block. I don't mind paper piecing, but this one was tricky for me! My friend Cindy counted and there are 14 layers of fabric to sew through in certain points. Well, no wonder I was having problems. Ha! I've seen photos on Instagram of people pounding bulky seams flat with a hammer, so I gave it a try. The block lies much flatter now and it was also good for releasing some frustration. Hahahaha! Someone asked if it damages the fabric, which didn't even occur to me. The integrity of the fabric seemed just fine after the pounding. Weird technique, but it's a good trick for ultra bulky seams.
Before I gifted this quilt to my neighbor, I washed it. I measured it after washing, and it shrunk 5" in the width and 6" in the length. I thought that was a lot!!! I'm glad I made it oversized...and I was relieved that it still finished at 66" x 88"...about a perfect twin size! Yay!

That got me thinking, though....did it shrink extra because of the Essex linen that I used? Or is that normal? I don't often measure my quilts before and after, but I became very curious. So, I quickly washed and dried my scrapalicious quilt to compare. This quilt shrunk by almost the same rate....5 1/2"in the width and 7" in the length. (Before washing the quilt was 66" x 86". After washing, the quilt was 60 1/2" x 79".) Both quilts have Quilters Dream batting inside. I thought that was an interesting experiment. It also reminds me that if I want to make a quilt large enough to fit a bed, I need to add an extra row or so!

48 comments:

Four dogs and one quilter said...

I agree with all the tips in this post. Love glue basting. Always glue baste my bindings and appliqué. So much nicer than clips and pins. Have a tailor's clapper that I picked up at a yard sale for getting really flat seams. Could use a plain piece of wood to do the same thing. Linen and flannel are a pre-wash must for me also.

Robby H. said...

Wow! That seems like a lot of shrinkage when you see it in writing, although it is less than 10%. I suppose as the quilt gets bigger the amount of shrinkage (by inches) would also increase. But now I'm going to have to go read up and maybe keep track of a few projects as I don't recall it seeming that dramatic. Thanks for the tips!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

No matter what kind of batting I use that is 100% cotton it shrinks about that much if you wash and dry in machines. I love the crinkly antique look so that doesn't matter to me as it is the look I want. I always make my quilts larger than I actually want them to be to accomadate the shrinkage

Michael Tesi said...

Amanda, did you prewash your fabric?

Tami Von Zalez said...

I too am curious whether you prewashed the fabric or if the shrinkage was only in the batting. Didn't that skew the quilt?

Di~ said...

Thanks! I really want to get the micro tips now! I have always put a piece of paper or some real thin fabric over what I am pounding, it helps protect. Last year, I did the shrinkage test and measure with flannel, consistently, it shrunk 4 inches one way, 3 the other.

Y Blanchard said...

Great tips! I'm just finishing machine quilting a kaleidoscope for myself today, and ran out to the quilt shop this morning to get fabric for binding. Came home with enough for the binding and another new quilt....... woops. Anyway, I will try glue binding, and I wish I'd read about pounding blocks because these kaleidoscope centres, paper pieced, were a bugger to quilt thru! Looks like I need to start a new quilt tomorrow, just so I can try pounding some seams.......

Thanks for your inspiring and useful site!

suzanprincess said...

I'd like to point out in an uncritical, positive, helpful manner that ever since the grammatically challenged movie "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" came out the word "shrank" has been improperly replaced with "shrunk" everywhere I look! See the difference in: My quilt shrank in the wash, OR My quilts have shrunk. I'm not fat, my clothing shrank in the closet OR All my clothes have shrunk! Check out Grammar Girl (online or podcasts) for more explanation. (No affiliation; I just get lots of good hints from her.) Thank you for reading this far. : )

Paula, the quilter said...

If you sew leather, you need to pound the seams too. I use a hard rubber mallet.

Suzanne said...

This was an illuminating group of tips. I am blown away by the hammer. Wow!

frayedattheedge said...

You can also hammer the thick side seam if you have to hem a pair of jeans.

Anne said...

I am amazed at the shrinking! I've used a "clapper" to help with pressing seams...never a hammer!

Sewing In CT said...

The glue basting for the binding is interesting but I am not really sure how it's done. Maybe you can show us sometime? Interesting fact about the shrinkage. I don't think my quilts shrink that much. I will have to check!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I use a seamstress mallet (its a hard rubber so less stress on fabric) and have for years. Quiter's Dream batt isn't the shrinkage - it's the linen and flannel which is a pre-wash must.

Goldogmom said...

Great tips Amanda Jean! Thank you for sharing with us!

I prewash my fabrics but not my batting, so I still get the crinkly look and still see shrinkage but not as much shrinkage as you found. I think my last one was 2-3 inches different.

They are all beautiful and, as you mentioned, the important reason for considering the shrinkage is to make sure the end product is the size you want it, after washing. I think this is important for a baby quilt so it isn't too small and up to the Q or K bed quilt so it lays and drapes enough.

All in all, a great post!

Judy said...

I read on page 10 in "Quilter's Reference tool" to add 3-5% to your desired finished dimensions to account for shrinkage. Your shrinkage was in the 7-7.5% range. I may need to start measuring my quilts to see if I am staying in the 3-5% range or if I need to add more for shrinkage.

I pre-wash everything. I have a lovely wall hanging my husband's grandmother made. She did not pre-wash all her fabrics. I need to take it apart and re-applique the gray fabric basket so it will lay flat again, after I washed it.

Kathleen said...

Absolutely shocked by the loss of inches. Never felt it was that much, but I usually measure before washing, never after. I work at a local quilt store so I'll be sure to pass this on. Do you pre wash? I usually do. I will check an old quilt against measurements for a show, before it was washed (and most of my fabrics are prewashed).

Sandra W said...

For cotton, a "clapper" (as noted earlier) would be good. You should use an iron to heat the bulky area first and then clap it and hold it for a few seconds while the fabric cools.
The shrinkage is very high. You should pre-wash all of your fabrics first.

KaHolly said...

Ha, ha, the word 'shrank' looks and sounds funny, doesn't it? I really never paid attention to shrinkage before. I'll have to be more aware. I've never tried glue basting, either! A friend is making a pp quilt and was lamenting over the thickness of the seam allowances in places. I'll pass your hammer tip along! She'll appreciate it.

Brita said...

Wish I'd read this yesterday morning! When longarming a quilt yesterday, I discovered the backing was a couple of inches short (yes, I should have measured rather than taking her word). It was a struggle for me to add to the length and match the pattern. Thank you for sharing your techniques.

Debbi said...

I am also curious about the pre wash question. I have recently started pre washing but wonder if that affects shrinkage since the batting will still shrink. I am glad you premeasured and post measured since I have never thought to do that until after washing is done, when it is obviously too late!

house on hill road said...

The shrinking does not surprise me! I made a queen sized quilt for a friend and it shrunk about 6" in each direction. It was barely big enough when I went to gift it. Lesson learned!

Patti said...

I was curious about shrinkage when you said you were using linen. If you prewash linen wouldn't you end up with a big mess? I love your tips, the glue I already use but the hammer? I'll need to try that one!

Kris Quilts said...

Great tips today. I've been using glue lately to join my bindings at the ends. It holds the pieces neatly in place as I sew diagonally, which always seems like such a chore to me. The hammer idea is awesome. I may need to hammer a few of the centers of my EPP stars before quilting my next EPP Quilt. Even when the seam allowances 'swirl' the middles get a little bulky.
I gasped a little at the amount of shrinkage you reported. I love a crinkly quilt, too, but maybe not that much shrinkage. I've been using 70/30 Quilter's Dream, just to minimize the shrinkage a little. When I make quilts specifically for beds, I worry about that much shrinkage. I guess I'll start measuring, washing and re-measuring to see how much they shrink...
Thanks for sharing your day with us!

artsycraftsyivy said...

I prewash everything but the thread haha! I just do batting on the handwash cycle in my top-loading washing machine. I do it on warm or cold, not hot. I do it to reduce the crinkly look. I want my quilts to look new longer. I know I'm in the minority there! :)

stamperwithdayjob said...

Great information. I especially appreciated the shrinkage info. I've measured before washing but never after. Thank you for these tips.

Diane Beavers said...

Cool tips, thank you.

Shocking the amount of shrinking...thanks for the info and yep an extra row is being added to my arrows quilt now. I wondered why I cut that:)

bluestarof2(at)yahoo(dot)com

Pat said...

I've pounded a seam or two and it really does help. Glue basting is my favorite method and I'm super glad to see a link to the fine tip dispenser. I've used Elmer's glue pens but they are almost impossible to find and still don't dispense as finely as I'd like. Off to order the dispenser right now!

Ruthann Grace said...

Great post! I can just see you using your hammer...btw.....Sue and I were at Camp Glampalot with Renee from your Gruber retreat. I think I can accurately say we were envious that Renee gets to sew with you for a weekend! :-) Have fun! On the topic of glue basting...I've become an addict! I found my tip at Hobby Lobby in the model airplane section. It's not like yours but it works well. Have a great day!

Needled Mom said...

That was a clever experiment to measure before and after washing. That is a lot of shrinking.

I like the glue idea and those stripes are perfect.

Marsha L said...

Interesting information about quilt shrinkage! I've not done the before wash/after wash measurements. I guess I'll take that into consideration in my next quilt. I wonder what the shrinkage rate might be using wool batting. I'll test that on my next quilt that uses wool.

Wendy Tuma said...

What a great post, and helpful comments too. Thanks!

Tracybug Creative said...

If making mine to fit a specific size I always estimate 5% shrinkage even though I read somewhere that 3.5% is average, I think yours fall above that range, maybe I'll estimate closer to 8% from now on, (I think warm and natural shrinks less than others... I believe the poly scrim helps...have you seen the new 100% cotton from The Warm Compamy?

patty a. said...

One of my many jobs in my life was working at a place that made custom clothes for people who showed Western Horses. I ended up making all the leather jackets and sewed together some chaps. The leather was lamb. I would use a rubber mallet for flatting the seams. All my pounding use to drive everyone crazy, but the boss said I had made the jackets better than anyone they ever had.

Blue dragonfly5 said...

Shrinkage is why I always wash my fabrics before I cut and piece my quilts. I have had some fabrics shrink 10%. I also wash my quilts after quilting because I like the look of a washed quilt. I usually don't have a lot of shrinkage from the batting.

Shirley Elliott said...

What a great post and wonderful informative comments. I usually expect my quilts to shrink a couple of inches but have never measured. I use an 80 cotton/20 polyester batting and I like the little bit of polyester to help with wrinkles falling out after the quilt has been folded. I prewash my fabrics because even with today's wonderful fabrics I still occasionally get some bleeding and I use a lot of light colored Kona solids in my scrap quilts. However, I do think that as the quilts are used, they flatten out more. Maybe it's just my imagination but once a quilt has been on the bed for a few weeks, it seems to stretch out.

Mary at Fleur de Lis Quilts said...

May I have an English teacher moment: shrink, shrank, shrunk
Did the quilt shrink when you washed it? Oh, I shrank the quilt by using hot water. It seems that my quilt has shrunk more than I expected. (But that's not so important as sharing your tips.)

I love the crinkly look of old quilts, so the shrinkage really doesn't faze me. I never wash fabric before using it and never fluff batting either. I just let it all do what it's going to do and love the quilt anyway.

Thanks for the glue basting tips. I've used glue sticks, but I will pick up a small tip and give this a try. Perhaps it will work even better.

Daytona Damsel said...

Wow, I never dreamed the shrinking would be that much! I am making my first bed quilt, a queen. I guess I will add additional row or border.

Sue said...

Interesting tips. That shrinkage factor is something to watch out for. The hammer thing sounds like a dandy way to take your frustrations out on those blocks where all the points meet in the middle. I usually just swear at them ;-)

Rebecca Grace said...

You whack the seam intersections with a HAMMER?! Like you're tenderizing beef? I am envisioning a Saturday Night Live skit spoofing Martha Stewart Living, with Amy Poehler attacking her quilt block to make it PERFECT... But you know I'm going to try it now! That block is gorgeous, by the way.

artsycraftsyivy said...

What kind of pen do you use to label quilts? Do you iron freezer paper or some other stabilizer on the fabric and then write? Last time I tried writing a label it was a disaster.

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

So happy you did the shrinking comparison - great info!

Lorna McMahon said...

The stripes look perfect all lined up and you won't even know there's a joint in the binding when you're done. Nice work! Very interesting to read about the shrinkage of the quilts following washing and drying. I wonder if they would shrink that much if left to air dry?

JoAnne in southern California said...

I was glad to see that you washed the quilt before you gave it to her. I always do that so the recipient knows what the quilt will look like for the rest of its life. I have a small plastic headed mallet I use for flattening seams, works great! That does seem like a lot of shrinkage, why don't they ever tell us about that in the quilting books and magazines? Thanks for telling us about glue basting, it was news to me.

Kay Nelson said...

Thanks for the tips! I just did a rhombus quilt and some of the intersections would have definitely improved having been hammered😊 I measured that quilt after reading your blog, as I was about to wash it. I never prewash my fabric and I use Warm and Natural. It shrunk 2" each way. Whew! And I used the method I just heard about in Paducah from a wonderful famous quilter. He said he uses 1/4c Dawn dishwashing soap in a tub of water, soaking it for 1 hour. Then wash. It took me a lot of rinsing to get the soap out, BUT THE COLORS DID NOT RUN!!!!!👍😊😊😊 much better than the color catchers I've used in the past. Thought I would pass that along to you😊

Heather said...

my kids bought me a hammer years ago for my sewing room. it's a smaller size and is nice and clean, no icky stuff from hubby's workshop.
i prewash all my fabric and batting. If I am spending that much time and money on a quilt, i am not going to leave it up to the washing machine to distort my work . the only time I don't prewash is when doing a stack and whack type project.

KathyinMN said...

I've had quilts shrink, but have never measured. Makes me want to measure before washing next time. And love the hammer idea on bulky seams. I have a rubber mallet in my craft room for other things...not it has one more use.

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

The shrinking issue has me wondering . . . I don't always wash my quilts let alone measure them after washing. Now I will rethink it. I'm not a pre-washer and don't really want to become one either. For most lap quilts it wouldn't matter much but I wonder how the queen size quilt I finished earlier this year will turn out. Still need to bind it. Thanks for the glue tip too.