Sign in to follow this  
kbaumbusch

Squaring Up Wonky Quilt

Recommended Posts

Hi, got a T-shirt quilt from a customer and first problem was she gave me backing same size as top.  They baked at getting new backing, so we agreed I’d trim top and I told her I’d trim as little as possible.  So I jumped in and measured from the T-shirt edges on each side to end up cutting 4 inches off each border.  Quilted it  and laid it out on floor, and only then  noticed a bulge on one side where they hadn’t pieced it straight.  Having measured from the piecing on that side, the border was also curved and quilted in.  AAARRGH!  Then I ended up trimming the whole thing because I realized none of the sides were straight, and I got it somewhat rectangular but it still didn’t fold square.  (To make it totally rectangular would have meant trimming edges so then the borders would have looked wonky.)  They seemed happy with it but I wasn’t happy. A lot of this was my fault for not laying it out and taking a good look at it before doing anything.

Questions:

1.  Should I have refused it in the first place since they didn’t give me enough backing?  

2.  Should I be the one to square the top or should they?  I know most quilts aren’t exactly square anyway, but is it an accepted practice for most Longarmers to trim edges for their customers?  

4.  And this is a dumb question but should you square the quilt before or after quilting? Any videos or advice on the best thing way do to handle a really wonky quilt?

5.  For binding service do most people charge a flat fee or by the inch?  I charged her $30 but that included making the binding as well as stitching it on and truth be told, I’d rather not mess with it unless the customer is desperate.  Everyone has been telling me that wasn’t enough.

6.   If the top is way off square in the first place, should I refuse to quilt it or just warn them and get them to sign some kind of release? If there hadn’t been a border tacked onto a non-square top to begin with, it wouldn’t have been such a problem.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Kathy B.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kathy:  I would have insisted that the owner deal with the too small backing.  I would never square a quilt, but then I don't bind, If I did, I guess I'd have to trim it.  Don't know anything about binding charges.  Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had similar situations happen to me.  When it happens again, measure it while they're there.  I find that piecers don't always believe their work isn't good.  You could always give them your cutting board and rotary cutter and tell them to do it.  Many longarmers do not trim for their customers.  I do, but I tell them to be sure to square their corners before they bind.  It isn't my job to make sure their quilt is square. As a longarmer I try to keep a quilt square, but there's only so much you can do with poor piecing. Write everything down and have them sign it.  That way you're covered.  When I first started quilting, I actually took off borders and never said anything because I didn't want my quilting to look bad.  Now I just tell them, you're going to have pleats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In an ideal world, I would remember to lay out each quilt with the customer watching so that we can both see if it is reasonably square and flat - but of course I don't do that every time and get caught in the same situation you described.  When I run into problems, I take lots of pictures and call my customer and talk about the options (taking a pleat, leaving the quilt wonky, etc.)  The more I do this, the easier it gets - I know that it can be an uncomfortable conversation if you are less experienced.  I personally would not have accepted this job as is.  I would have returned it to the customer and let them decide whether to get a bigger backing or trim the quilt down themselves.  I've only trimmed down a quilt once, and it was with a customer I know very well, and again, with lots of pictures to document what I did.  I also saved the texts in which she gave me permission to do that.  Regarding the binding, I charge by the inch, the price varies depending on what the customer wants.  Many of my customers just want the binding attached and they stitch it down by hand.  I don't think you charged enough in this case. 

Sorry that you had such a difficult time with this quilt!

Carol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Appreciate all the advice.  I definitely think I will lay out and measure while they’re there now, and will NOT try to be so obliging (i.e., wimpy!!)  This has been a real learning experience for me.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/3/2018 at 8:19 AM, kbaumbusch said:

Hi, got a T-shirt quilt from a customer and first problem was she gave me backing same size as top.  They baked at getting new backing, so we agreed I’d trim top and I told her I’d trim as little as possible.  So I jumped in and measured from the T-shirt edges on each side to end up cutting 4 inches off each border.  Quilted it  and laid it out on floor, and only then  noticed a bulge on one side where they hadn’t pieced it straight.  Having measured from the piecing on that side, the border was also curved and quilted in.  AAARRGH!  Then I ended up trimming the whole thing because I realized none of the sides were straight, and I got it somewhat rectangular but it still didn’t fold square.  (To make it totally rectangular would have meant trimming edges so then the borders would have looked wonky.)  They seemed happy with it but I wasn’t happy. A lot of this was my fault for not laying it out and taking a good look at it before doing anything.

Questions:

1.  Should I have refused it in the first place since they didn’t give me enough backing?  

Yes. Send it back. The customer needs to adhere to my requirements of backing fabric minimum 8-10 inches wider and longer than the top. Sorry if they balk at that. I have had my share of fighting with short backs. I just don't do it any more because I've almost injured myself and broken my machine fighting short backs. My safety is at stake.  I am not going to hurt myself or put myself through that stress any more. Those days are gone.

2.  Should I be the one to square the top or should they?  I know most quilts aren’t exactly square anyway, but is it an accepted practice for most Longarmers to trim edges for their customers?  

Nope! Send it back if the borders are too wonky to work with. I don't trim quilts. 

4.  And this is a dumb question but should you square the quilt before or after quilting? Any videos or advice on the best thing way do to handle a really wonky quilt?

When I load the quilt top I try to square it up as best I can as I roll it on my frame leaders. My best advice to handle a "really wonky quilt" is to tell the customer you cannot guarantee anything being square. They hire you to quilt the thing, not to perform miracles. 

5.  For binding service do most people charge a flat fee or by the inch?  I charged her $30 but that included making the binding as well as stitching it on and truth be told, I’d rather not mess with it unless the customer is desperate.  Everyone has been telling me that wasn’t enough.

I charge $.20 cents a linear inch for machine quilting on both sides. It's expensive but makes it worth my time because it's not my favorite thing to do so I charge for this service. 

6.   If the top is way off square in the first place, should I refuse to quilt it or just warn them and get them to sign some kind of release? If there hadn’t been a border tacked onto a non-square top to begin with, it wouldn’t have been such a problem.

You decide if you want to refuse it or warn them you will do the best you can. People are pretty reasonable if you are up front with them. But, if it's something that is causing you a lot of grief and stress, I'd hand it back over to them to fix the issues. It's just not worth my time to figure out someone else's hot mess. I have better things to do with my valuable time.  

Any advice would be appreciated.

Kathy B.

 

 


"Of all the things a woman's hands have made---The quilt so lightly thrown across her bed---The quilt that keeps her loved ones warm---Is woven of her love and dreams and thread." excerpt from The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall
 

:rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: 

Shana in North Pole, Alaska ---- The Farthest North APQS Sales Rep  
 Always quilting with her faithful friend, Mademoiselle Madeleine Millennium, Bliss-fully skating gracefully...and having lots of fun with IntelliQuilter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this