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Okay ladies,

I want advise on how each of you would handle this. It's the first time it has happened to me but I am sure it won't be the last.

A customer turned in a quilt top "Nana's Garden" & when I went to load it this morning I found that one of the long sides is 2" longer than the other. Also the top & bottom edges are off by 2 1/2".

She has alot of narrow borders around it & I think each time she put one on, the problem just magnified itself.

She gave it to me at a meeting so I didn't have a chance to check it out well at the time.

Because of the design, width of the borders & magnitude of discrepencies, it can't be squared by trimming.

The best idea I have come up with is to call her first & advise her of the problem. I don't think she will want to take off the borders & re-do it.

If that is the case, I thought I would try to ease in the extra length & width while quilting. Anyone have any better suggestions?

I will be doing an allover feathered branch with varigated thread.

Thanks,

Joe Ann

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The best bet is to return the top to the customer and explain how to measure thru the middle of the quilt to get the correct border dimensions. Or offer to fix the borders for a fee.;) I will guess that trying to ease in that much will be very difficult. All you have is you reputation as a long-arm quilter - you don't want anyone else looking at this quilt and thinking the quilt looks bad because of something you did. Also, this will help your customer become a better piecer and bring you square tops in the future.:)

Mo

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As hard as this will be to approach the quilter, I agree that she must be told. Your reputation is too important to your business. Who knows...she probably doesn't know that something is wrong and will be glad to learn something new! If it's that much off I doubt that any easing will make is look right in the end and, who knows, she might think that you did something wrong in the quilting! So, I agree with Mo on this one!

Have a nice day.....Sandra

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Hi Joann,

I've had this problem a few times, and what I learned is that anything over 1/2" extra in the borders is too much for me to ease in. The last time this happened, I took a picture of how the quilt looked pinned to my leader with the extra fabric sticking up near the end. When I called the quilter she was more than happy to pay me to remove the three borders and reapply them. When she picked up the quilt, she wasn't interested in the least to see that photo, or the extra fabric from the borders that had been trimmed off, but I had proof.

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Only 2.5 inches? I have had this problem happen numerous times over the years and I'm currently almost finished with one that was 2", 2.5", 3.5"and 5" longer on the respective sides than the center measures. The only way to fix this is to remove and re-attach the borders. Why this happerns is people think it is easier to simply cut a "too long" border strip, sew it on and whack off the extra. They almost always have that "too long" strip on the down side (next to the feed dogs) when sewing and do not pin or even hold it together tightly. The result is that the feed dogs do what they like to do which is ease in extra fabric. This is how manufacturers ease in the extra fabric in the sleeves of shirts. I'm spending my last hours quilting this (120"X120") monster trying to think of diplomatic ways to give my customer a lesson on measuring and pinning borders.

Bobbie Moon in So. Calif.

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Before going to all the work of re-applying the borders, try this. Get out your steam iron and put some steam to the offending fullness. My students have witnessed what miracles steam can work on full areas. Often the fullness occurs from over aggressive pressing, and can be easily eased back into shape in a matter of minutes. Others are not so easy!

I will often mount the quilt, taking the measurement through the center as my quide, mark the outer perimeters on the zippers or canvas with a pin. Center the quilt top, and pin center and outer edges first. Then the centers of the each section, etc. etc. etc. When you have it pinned, you'll have just a bit of fullness to ease in between each pin. This is where the steam is put to good use.

When going down the sides, just watch that the grain is straight and ease in and steam as you go. You will be amazed at how well this works! I'll post a couple of pictures below so you can see what the students dealt with in one class. Then 2 1/2" won't look so bad!

In the end, the quilt was flat and square. The last border was SO bad, AND polyester fabric, that we had to take a couple of tucks in it, but that was all on the whole quilt top. This whole top was pieced with diamonds, of various blends & cotton fabrics. Not one thing was straight or square on it. But look at the finished quilt! Not too bad for beginners!

They all said that after working on this quilt, they'd never be afraid of anything that came through their door! LOL Right Mo?

post--13461897617173_thumb.jpg

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Hi Darlene,

I'm impressed. You did an amazing job of fixing the ruffled borders. Thanks alot for the pics. Like they say, "A picture is worth a thousand words".

I may try that. Knowing this lady, I'm sure she isn't going to want to re-do the borders or pay me to re-do them. Not my favorite thing to do anyway.

I have a question for you. After you pressed each section, did you pin the sides & bottom edges to the backing & batting so it would stay where you wanted it to be while quilting?

Thanks

Joe Ann

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Too funny! I had to look for the bottle of wine and I didn't know WHAT you were talking about! One of the students brought that from California, and I'm sorry, but it is now empty! :P

About pinning down the sides? I always machine baste the edges as I go, within the area that the binding will cover. Do this WITHOUT the clamps attached so you don't distort anything and end up with a little pleat of fabric on the top.

Some people pin, some hand baste, but I use the machine. Just works best for me.

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I should add something to the process, so you all don't go steaming a quilt that has no support under it! That could be a disaster. Often I'll just slip on the Hartley Extended Base and use it as a little pressing surface, sliding the machine along to each new section. (If you have the Millennium, just flip the handles up, out of the way.)

But a better idea would be to have a collapsible ironing board under the table that you could raise to just the right height under the quilt. That would give you a much more stable surface to work on.

Also, as I steam, I'm "patting" and "encouraging" the fabric into place. It's amazing how well this works. :)

On the other hand, if you get a King Size quilt with MANY borders, and very poor "applique" and piecing in the centre, that has the side edges 7" (SEVEN INCHES!!!) longer than the center, then you'll have to just "float it" in the shape it's in and quilt it.

Even THAT quilt hung just fine when it was put on the bed! I did NOT pin the top to any leaders, but just laid it on the backing & batting and put an allover pantograph on it. After the first row, I went back and filled in the huge triangle corners.

Face it! There are just some quilts you can't "FIX"! ;) But you CAN still quilt them to the satisfaction of the customer, IF you know it is meant to be a "utility" quilt. That is, it will be used and used up! After all, that' why MOST quilts are made, isn't it?

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Darlene is right, I've never been afraid of wavey borders since we had the experience in her class with this quilt. And the finished quilt ended up looking square!

Darlene, I still cannot believe that we managed that quilt. I often think about it when I'm having a particularly 'wavy' day.

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Thank you Darlene, I read this note last week, not thinking I would need the information so soon. Saturday I pulled a quilt out and the borders were 2 inches longer. I did not have access to the computer, but remembered most of what I read, tried it and with prodding, patting and speaking nicely to the border, it worked! By the time I finished, my hair was curled and the border was flat from all of the steam!

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Two to three inches is nothing to ease in, and you can get a great result even doing a panto. With these quilts I use Polydown and looser quilting.

Not all borders are "steam-able", and sometimes the dyes will run and migrate into the next area. You also need to be certain that your iron won't "burp" any gross stuff. Mineral deposits (lime, rust) are why I won't steam quilts any more. Although I use distilled water in my iron it never totally dries out. I replace my iron every few months just because of rust spots. Darlene's quilt was pretty extreme, but common... unfortunately. Steaming will get you through the quilt but doesn't do anything to help the piecer.

On a couple of quilts I've done where the customer insisted on flat batting (like QD cotton or poly), I 'highly suggested' they remove and reapply the borders because there would be tucks if I quilted it "as is". If its someone who will never get better despite repeated instruction on borders, I just take the 20 minutes and do it myself. Even if I don't tell them (or charge them for it) it makes my life easier. I'm all for protecting my reputation!

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Of course, you need an iron that won't sputter, spit or burp. I don't spend a lot of money on irons and have found that Phillips is my favorite brand. I pay about $39.95 Canadian $$. I have one that says "Drip-Stop" on it. I've never even had a little "spit" out of that iron and it's going on about 5 years now. I use regular ol' tap water in it.

While I've never, ever had any fabric bleed or run from steaming in 8 years, I suppose it could happen. I think there is a lot more danger with getting the fabric "wet" as opposed to slightly damp, but in any case, be cautious.

When I bought my first machine, I made the decision pretty quickly that I was NOT in the business of finishing the piecing job on someone else's quilt. I have NEVER taken off a border and re-sewn it. But I HAVE sent the quilt home with the customer with instructions on how THEY could fix the problem. If they had the quilt top back to me within 3 days, they kept their place in the line up. Otherwise, it went to the "back of the bus".

I never had an insulted customer, but rather many thanked me for educating them. They took classes on a particular pattern at the local quilt shop, but most were never instructed on how to FINISH the job to keep the quilt square.

The quilt pictures posted above were of a quilt top brought to class that someone in the student's guild had made to give away as a "charity" quilt to a wounded soldier. (And THAT's another story! grrr...) I ALMOST turned it down for the class project, but then decided that maybe *I* could learn just how far we could push the magic of steam too. And maybe, just maybe, the recipient wouldn't be utterly insulted when they received this "gift". (From a psychological standpoint, why is it that so many of the human race give their poorest to the BEST of us? I often wonder about this, but that's another topic for another day.)

Once again, the steam trick didn't let me down, except for the last border. And looking back, I think I was just very tired at the end of the 3rd day of teaching, and kind of gave up on it. But by that time, the lesson had been more than learned. :D

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Update

I originally posted this question & thought I would update everyone. I called the customer & explained the problem & her options. I teach quilting classes & she said to bring it back to the next class & she would fix it. I asked if she would mind if we used her quilt as a learning tool for the whole class. She was fine with that.

So we spent quite awhile in class with me explaining the proper way to measure & apply borders & answering their questions.

She has 5 narrow, individual borders which would be alot of stitches to remove & re-do. She thought about it for awhile & decided there was no way she was going to spend that much time on it. She wants me to go ahead & quilt it. Says she learned alot from the whole process & will count it as a learning experience.

It will be a few days before I get back to her quilt but will let everyone know how it turns out.

At the moment, I have the backing on for the next quilt I am doing. It is a top that my aunt cut & pieced entirely by hand. All half square triangles with 2 wide borders & a few 1/2 square triangles appliqued in the borders. Can't wait to get it done for her. Aunt Allie is 90 years old! I should live so long! For the label, I am going to print out a picture of her & I together & all information including her age.

Thanks for all the info.

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