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I have a real mess with a customer quilt. It's a medallion set with 7 borders around the center square. New quilter, borders not put on correctly so I have waves X 7.. What a mess. I've been steaming and easing the fullness in on the sides as I go, it actually looked pretty good until I got to the bottom and now I have this mess.

There's about 3" of fullness, not all that bad but it's all on one side. The left side lays pretty flat and from the center over to the right I have the extra 3" to deal with. Then there's the issue of that bottom edge with the big swoop in it. I was considering putting a tuck but just exaggerates the curve. And she wants me to bind the silly thing. Yikes!

Is there any hope?

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Follow Linda's good advice. Use starch if you haven't yet, so when the fullness contracts it's nailed into place. It looks like you're stitching a medium meander up above, which is perfect to help with the extra fullness. The curves help your hopping foot isolate the fullness. One hint I've seen is to stitch the meander around an area to contain the fullness (like the size of a dinner plate) and then work the fullness from the outside to the center, patting and pushing the fabric as you go.

 

If you find a pleat is inevitable, pin the border by tugging the fabric and using your finger to press from the seam to the edge in a perpendicular line. As you get to the edge, pin it with pins pointing in. Do this every three inches so you can see where the worst spots are. The areas with the highest humps will be pinned again. Divide and conquer--I've done this where I have pins every quarter inch. Try to stitch your meander and see how it goes.

To place a pleat, instead of one big one that sucks all the fabric and distorts the bottom edge, manipulate and pin down three (or more). Use your needle up/down to baste half-inch stitches along the edge of the pleat, from top to edge. You can make the pleat from the innermost seam if that's where the problems begin. Make the pleat straight and match all the border seams so they're straight. If possible, use a piecing seam to camouflage it. Stitch over them all. I leave the basting stitches in so I can point out the problem areas and let my customer stitch them down with an applique stitch and them remove them.

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I use the spray starch and press method, but seldom put the iron all the way down.. I find if I put the iron down on it, It doesn't work as well for me.  I get the iron Very Close to the down on the fabric and hold there for 4-5 seconds, then move to the next area.  I've found also if I begin shrinking from the inside of the quilt part that needs work, it seems to work better.

Once I get the wobbly stuff under control, with minimum fullness, I let the quilting suck it in.

 

Praying all works out well for you.

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have you considered calling her and asking if she would like you to redo her borders?  I know it would be difficult to work with, now that the batting is also involved, but I have done that when it just seemed unworkable otherwise.  You could give her the option of redoing borders or tucks.  I would charge her for the service.  It's not your fault that the quilt is poorly done.

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Yeah Julia I've considered averything! She's in Mexico right now, I thought about calling her but didn't want to spoil her vacation. At this time I've taken it off the frame and haven't looked at it for a few days. When I get this next project done (which is another one of hers and also a challenge) I'm going to do go back to it. I've shrunk up all I can, could probably stitch it fairly decently but the bottom edge will never be even close to straight so I'm going with plan B. I'm going to frog about 18" and see if I can ease those sides up so it's even, if I can't I'm going to frog the whole thing, give it back to her to fix with instructions on how to put borders on correctly. I'm guessing I'll never see it again. I'd like to get paid for the time wasted, I don't think that will happen either but it's time to cut my losses.

Thanks to all of you for the suggestions and for letting me vent. My family is getting kind of tired of listening to me complain about this quilt. You are all the best!

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Sometimes the only way to avoid a pleat is to take the border off and restitch.  I have done this more times than I like to mention, but it makes the customer happy and me happy in the long run.  Sometimes it just involves restitching a partial border,  Not so hard.    You may be able to push and shove that bottom edge into less of a curve.   Linda's advice to isolate and ease is a really good one.    Is it a bed quilt?  After it is bound, the curved edge will be much less noticeable.   And if you have to pleat, try not to do so right in the curve.   No need to bring attention to that area. Good luck!  I always do the happy dance when I get to the last border on a questionable quilt and I can tame it into submission without heroic efforts. LOL

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