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    FMQ'ing shrinks/pulls fabric to make piece smaller?

    Awhile back I noticed this but stopped doing what I was doing and moved on so I never got back to figuring it out..but now...it is happening again. I was making mug rugs and kids totes and doing FMQ meandering on them. I couldn't figure why if I cut the size I wanted and when I FMQ'ed them, the piece was smaller! I just used them as is and then stopped making them.

    Now.. I am making a zipper pouch that I wanted to have batting behind the front parts and a lining inside. So I cut 9.5"x7.5", front fabric and batting, then FMQ'ed it. I went to put the zipper on and I looked at it and it looked to small so I figured I cut it wrong. I cut another one, this time I cut it 11x9 and also cut the batting that size and the lining that size. I FMQ'ed the front with the batting and trimmed off the extra batting, and looked and it looked smaller and I measured...and now the piece was 9x7. I layed it on the lining piece I cut and sure enough, it was smaller. So investigation showed...apparently FMQ will "shrink" the size of the fabric by 1-2 inches! In thinking about it, I guess there is some pull of the fabric as where there is no FMQ stitching, it creates a hump in between all stitches so that apparently takes up some of the fabric size.

    Has anyone else noticed this or experienced this? Am I missing something or doing something wrong to make the piece pull up so much? Is it shrinking like this because I didn't have a backing on it? Would it have not shrunk if I had a backing on it? When I did the mug rugs, I did it with the back fabric on and then did binding..and they still "shrunk".

    And in further thinking, if it does this on a small piece sandwich...if you are doing it on a full size quilt..does the FMQ stitching pull up the fabric like this, thus "shrinking" the quilt...meaning if you cut everything in the blocks to get a 12x12 finished blocks and sew them together, once FMQ'ed...if you were to measure the blocks, would they now be 11x11? I don't have one here so I can compare or measure. If this is what happens, is that why those "puckers" show up on a quilt? I always thought they were because the fabric was not pre washed..but now I wonder...are the puckers due to fabric shrinking on its own, or the fabric being pulled up between the FMQ stitches?
    Hope that all made sense. I need to get some kind of answer so I can always cut my fabrics the bigger size to get them to be the right size, once FMQ'ed.
    Cheri

    www.fabricandmemories.blogspot.com

    #2
    Re: FMQ'ing shrinks/pulls fabric to make piece smaller?

    There is always some "shrinkage" when you FMQ, which is one of the reasons you always cut the back and batting larger than the front, then trim and square it off. I never noticed it was that drastic though. I wonder if you have your tension set too high .....and is the shrinkage happening before or after you wash it?
    My soul is fed with needle and thread, my body with chocolate!

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      #3
      Re: FMQ'ing shrinks/pulls fabric to make piece smaller?

      The tighter you quilt the more it draws up. My suggestion when making smaller items is to start with a much larger piece of fabric and batting, quilt it and then cut your piece to the size you need.
      K is for Karen 😊​..................
      Cremation - My last hope for a smokin' hot body.


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        #4
        Re: FMQ'ing shrinks/pulls fabric to make piece smaller?

        I always leave about 2" or more of batting larger than my piece and FMQ. For a small piece for purse, an inch should be ok. Depending on the batting that you use, the shrinkage will vary, so always make sure you have sufficient batting extending over your piece of fabric. If you do tight stitches, you may need more batting extending or set your presser foot tension a little less.

        My experience has been that the larger the top, the more batting I need. If I'm making a quilt, I will always make sure that I have enough extended past my top fabric. Any leftovers can be used for tote bag handles and small projects. I just finished a comfort quilt and believe it or not, I had 2" batting around and ended up in one corner just a hair short............so my remedy will be to round the corners! I used a serpentine stitch and 80/20 batting.

        I know that I probably err on the side of caution, but batting is cheap and after all my work, I don't want it to end up shifted and short on the tops.

        In answer to your question regarding 12" blocks, be sure you have at least 1 1/2" - 2" around your block before FMQ and you won't have any problem, no matter what kind of batting you use. After you FMQ, you should still have a 12" finished block after you trim away the batting. Hope this helps.

        Comment


          #5
          Re: FMQ'ing shrinks/pulls fabric to make piece smaller?

          This is the reason that the quilt I'm working on now seems like it has a mind of it's own! I did all major seams first with a stitch in the ditch. But going back to free motion in the center and it's drawing up. I have pleats in my border that I'm going to try to fold over and stitch down to look like seams. This is the first time I have used this particular batting. My last quilt was for my DH and it was flannel with very soft batting. It's the window pane D9P. I thought I would have problems with it shifting but it did just fine. Argh, I will finish it and take it to the laundromat and see if washing and drying it will cover up all the boo boo's! Really upsets me about the borders since I cut them on the length of grain - the least amount of stretching that way. Argh!
          Vonnie

          Comment


            #6
            Re: FMQ'ing shrinks/pulls fabric to make piece smaller?

            Originally posted by Annav View Post
            There is always some "shrinkage" when you FMQ, which is one of the reasons you always cut the back and batting larger than the front, then trim and square it off. I never noticed it was that drastic though. I wonder if you have your tension set too high .....and is the shrinkage happening before or after you wash it?
            Annav...I pre wash EVERYTHING. Goes from the store straight to my laundry room. Even pre cuts. So shrinking after the fact is not a problem for me. It was only an 11x8 fabric piece, and I cut the batting about an inch bigger...then strayed with 505 and pinned. Usually on a size this small, I usually only use pins but I wanted this perfect as it is a gift for my grand daughter and it was going to be a zipper pouch and I wanted to make sure it was right. So I then FMQ'ed it.. I do a test piece and the stitches were fine. I very seldom have tension problems. Not sure why as many say they do, but I'm not complaining! I made sure I kept the fabric piece moving at a slower pace as with that small a size.. I tend to move faster than with the bulk of a quilt.
            Since this was the second time I had tried this, the first "shrinking" so much, I purposely cut it 11x9 instead of the 9x7 that I wanted the finished piece to be. When I was done, I trimmed 1/4-1/2 inch of batting off and measured it and the piece was 9x7...the size I actually wanted, but intended on having to trim the whole piece down to that size when I was done FMQ'ing.
            I figured it'd do a little "shrink/pull up" because of the humps made by the meandering stitching, but 2 inches? And I have not seen this happen on a quilt... an inch at the most and even then...we are talking about 60x80 in size so an inch off that is nothing. So I can't figure it out. Do you know why you cut the batting so much bigger? I mean, is this why? I always thought it was because it was near impossible to make top and batting exact measurements and just to have a little extra, just in case kind of thing. Which is what confuses me as if this happens on a quilt...why bother making hte batting bigger...the top will "shrink/pull' enough to be smaller than the batting when done anyway...
            Cheri

            www.fabricandmemories.blogspot.com

            Comment


              #7
              Re: FMQ'ing shrinks/pulls fabric to make piece smaller?

              Originally posted by K. McEuen View Post
              The tighter you quilt the more it draws up. My suggestion when making smaller items is to start with a much larger piece of fabric and batting, quilt it and then cut your piece to the size you need.
              K - I had just done this with the same fabric, cut to the size I wanted and it "shrunk" nearly 2 inches, so the second time I did cut it larger - 11x9 - and it "shrunk" to 9x7 which is the size I wanted. Are you saying the tighter I quilt as in meandering as opposed to stippling.... that "tight" of quilting? I was meandering, but because the piece was small, I guess I was stitching it all closer...nearly stippling I guess. I'll do another one and watch the quilting and see what happens. I can see your point
              Cheri

              www.fabricandmemories.blogspot.com

              Comment


                #8
                Re: FMQ'ing shrinks/pulls fabric to make piece smaller?

                Originally posted by Sharyn J View Post
                I always leave about 2" or more of batting larger than my piece and FMQ. For a small piece for purse, an inch should be ok. Depending on the batting that you use, the shrinkage will vary, so always make sure you have sufficient batting extending over your piece of fabric. If you do tight stitches, you may need more batting extending or set your presser foot tension a little less.

                My experience has been that the larger the top, the more batting I need. If I'm making a quilt, I will always make sure that I have enough extended past my top fabric. Any leftovers can be used for tote bag handles and small projects. I just finished a comfort quilt and believe it or not, I had 2" batting around and ended up in one corner just a hair short............so my remedy will be to round the corners! I used a serpentine stitch and 80/20 batting.

                I know that I probably err on the side of caution, but batting is cheap and after all my work, I don't want it to end up shifted and short on the tops.

                In answer to your question regarding 12" blocks, be sure you have at least 1 1/2" - 2" around your block before FMQ and you won't have any problem, no matter what kind of batting you use. After you FMQ, you should still have a 12" finished block after you trim away the batting. Hope this helps.
                Sharyn - I did cut the batting larger that the 11x9 the fabric piece was. (I cut the batting larger when I do a quilt too as you mention. ) I did cut off about an inch of batting when done. But this makes me wonder....if you (well not YOU you...anyone!) cut the batting bigger than the top...but if the top is what is doing the "shrinking/pulling" to become smaller...and there is always some of the batting to be cut away when done..why does the batting need to be cut bigger? Why not cut it the same size, knowing the fabric will be pulled up and inch or two of batting left to be cut away? I try to error on the side of caution too...I will continue to do this, but just isn't making any sense as to the "why's" of it all!
                Cheri

                www.fabricandmemories.blogspot.com

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: FMQ'ing shrinks/pulls fabric to make piece smaller?

                  Originally posted by Vonnie View Post
                  This is the reason that the quilt I'm working on now seems like it has a mind of it's own! I did all major seams first with a stitch in the ditch. But going back to free motion in the center and it's drawing up. I have pleats in my border that I'm going to try to fold over and stitch down to look like seams. This is the first time I have used this particular batting. My last quilt was for my DH and it was flannel with very soft batting. It's the window pane D9P. I thought I would have problems with it shifting but it did just fine. Argh, I will finish it and take it to the laundromat and see if washing and drying it will cover up all the boo boo's! Really upsets me about the borders since I cut them on the length of grain - the least amount of stretching that way. Argh!
                  I wish you luck on it Vonnie! I have not noticed this problem on my quilts! That is what is confusing me....I cut the batting 2 inches larger than the top and I still cut about that much off when finished FMQ'ing.
                  Cheri

                  www.fabricandmemories.blogspot.com

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: FMQ'ing shrinks/pulls fabric to make piece smaller?

                    Originally posted by coffeebreak View Post
                    K - I had just done this with the same fabric, cut to the size I wanted and it "shrunk" nearly 2 inches, so the second time I did cut it larger - 11x9 - and it "shrunk" to 9x7 which is the size I wanted. Are you saying the tighter I quilt as in meandering as opposed to stippling.... that "tight" of quilting? I was meandering, but because the piece was small, I guess I was stitching it all closer...nearly stippling I guess. I'll do another one and watch the quilting and see what happens. I can see your point

                    Yes. The closer together the quilting is (ie a stipple vs a meander) the more the fabric draws up.
                    If you took the exact same size pieces and stippled one and meandered on the other, the stippled piece would be smaller afterwards.

                    And the reason you are cutting off the same amount of excess batting is because the fabric and batting both draw up when quilting. The batting on the edges contains no quilting, therefore it doesn't draw up.
                    "You've never really learned to live until you've done something for someone for which they can never repay you." ~Ralph Hall

                    "Party like a BLOCK-STAR"

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: FMQ'ing shrinks/pulls fabric to make piece smaller?

                      Originally posted by Mchelem View Post
                      Yes. The closer together the quilting is (ie a stipple vs a meander) the more the fabric draws up.
                      If you took the exact same size pieces and stippled one and meandered on the other, the stippled piece would be smaller afterwards.

                      And the reason you are cutting off the same amount of excess batting is because the fabric and batting both draw up when quilting. The batting on the edges contains no quilting, therefore it doesn't draw up.
                      AH. It is one of those obvious to the eyeball but inobvious to the brain! What is under the fabric is drawing up,,,not what is NOT under the fabric. Good grief...something so simple yet so complicated! Thanks for the information Mchelam. All is not lost as... Lesson learned!
                      Cheri

                      www.fabricandmemories.blogspot.com

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