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Help! Need to shrink pieced top


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Hello everyone,

I am new to this site but have been quilting the past 6 years. I am in the process of making my first king size quilt and have run into a major problem. I always try new techniques and this time I tried a free-form art quilt where the pieces were cut using a freezer paper template and then sewn together. Needless to say, by the time I was half way through, my machine pieceing had turned into a semblance of applique in order to line up the pieces. The entire top is put together, but I find that some of the larger pieces need to be shrunk a bit in order to obtain a top without too many "puffy" areas.

Can anyone suggest how that might be done? Do I need to wet the whole top and stretch it on a board (I took my designing wall down and placed it over a table, so it is large enough to accommodate the entire thing. The wall is made up of insulation and flannel, so pins stick in it very easily.

TIA for any advice.




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Hi Helen, welcome aboard the insane world of quilting....

The only thing I can think of right now is to use starch, sizing, or water and A moderately hot iron.. saturate just the area you need to shrink, then slowly get it hotter until you are able to set the iron down on it. I take it that you Do Know not to push and pull the iron around?? Just pick it up and move it a bit and set it right back down. Once I get that step dry, I go back and do it again, until it lays the way I want, or I get' a hammer and block of wood and beat it into submission....LOLOIL, don't believe that.. just joking. I only use the hammer for boobie seams.

Some of this will also quilt out if you go at a steady pace and help it sit down where you want it.

Someone else may pop in and explain it better than I can...

Good Luck, and remember, breathe and enjoy!

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Hi Helen,

Welcome. There will be good answers here.

I have used the starch and steam method on a batik quilt I made. The blocks were sliced into curves and resewn in both diagonal lines. Mine ended up with major cupping on each block because I had too tight of a curve cut. I sprayed each block with starch and pressed with a hot iron, repeating it once or twice and those blocks retracted to be a nice and flat as I needed, so I put them in rows and now need to quilt them.

If you know how to search on this forum, look for Bonnie's starch and steam method. In fact I think she has even put out a dvd of the process.

Good luck and be sure to come back often.

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