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Where Did I Go Wrong!?

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    Where Did I Go Wrong!?

    Yesterday, I finished my first quilt, a patchwork pattern called "Vintage Ties" that I downloaded for free from MSQC and executed using Woolies II flannel 10" squares and yardage from the same family. I starched the flannel before cutting it because I'd been told that was necessary to work with flannel to help keep it from shredding. When I cut out my 5" square blocks and my 5"X10" blocks, I ran into trouble because I discovered the 10" flannel precut fabric wasn't always 10" or even always square, and when it was, in many cases plaid patterns were off-kilter. I ended up having to cut things down a bit to make them all square and my resulting 10" squares became 9" squares after sewing the blocks together with new 50-wt cotton thread. When the quilt top was done, I placed the backing and the batting on and pinned it with quilting safety pins, then tied each square with yarn and finished up binding the quilt. It looked pretty good. This morning I took it to the laundromat and washed it in their oversized washing machine with a commercial color grabber to prevent the dyes from running and ruining the quilt. So far, so good. But when the quilt finally came out of the dryer, a good 25% of the squares had shredded at the seams. I've just spent nearly 7 hours hand-stitching the shredded seams together and wondering why this happened. Any ideas?

    #2
    Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

    I don't know but oh my you have my sympathies! What a lot of extra work to put in after washing, not to mention having to cut so much off to square them up. Hope someone hete has an answer. I'll have to remember this in the future if I am ever temted to use wool flannel precuts. The woolies selection out there is pretty nice so it's too bad this happened to you.

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      #3
      Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

      After doing a little research...Woolies II Flannel 10" Squares by Bonnie Sullivan for Maywood Studios is 100% cotton flannel designed to look like wool. Flannel must be pre-washed on a warm or hot water temperature and high heat dry; it also means, 2-6 inches of shrinking will and could happen, so you should by extra to allow for the shrinkage and have enough to finish your project...

      when I use cotton flannel, I buy yardage...it's easier to wash and I then cut my pieces.....it saves a lot of grief that way....
      Sherri

      "Don't let someone else's ugly spoil your beautiful. " Thanks, Bubby!!!!!!

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        #4
        Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

        Good advice! I always pre wash when I quilt and sew.

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          #5
          Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

          the flannel is a considerably looser weave than most quilting cotton, and really needs a larger seam allowance. I prefer a good half inch with that stuff.

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            #6
            Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

            I'm sorry you ran into so much trouble with this quilt, especially for your first quilt.

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              #7
              Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

              I think you're right about that, ShirleyKnot. Some of my seam allowances were scant 1/4", if that.

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                #8
                Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

                1stQuilt77X43.15.25.09.jpg Apart from perhaps not having a large enough seam allowance for flannel (live and learn!), something came to me as I was sleeping and I woke right up at 2:30 this a.m. and said to myself, "I SHOULD HAVE USED PINKING SHEARS!" Perhaps that would have helped the edges of my blocks hold up better against the strain of washing... Next time...NEXT TIME!!! If I have the courage to try flannel again, I'll either use pinking shears or a pinking blade on my rotary cutter and I'll ensure that my seam allowances are MUCH larger. This whole first quilt has been quite the learning experience! Thanks, everyone, for your helpful comments!

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                  #9
                  Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

                  This is a beautiful quilt.

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                    #10
                    Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

                    I use a lot of flannel in fall and winter, and I've used past year's issue of "Woolies". I never prewash precuts, including flannel. I do prewash flannel yard goods, particularly bright or dark colors. Everything I've been taught or read recommends 1/2" seam allowance for flannel, so I always do this. I also use my walking foot, even for piecing on flannel. I try not to use hot water, or the hottest dryer, just warm. Also watch the agitation in the washer: it's the agitation that tears them up. I usually use a delicate cycle, more soak and less agitation. I also tend to use big squares, etc rather than small pieces, but of course this is a personal choice. Mine have held up fine with hard use. I have on rare occasions had to repair a seam after washing, that was always a place where my seam allowance got a little wonky! Please don't give up on flannel, it just takes a slight amount of adjusting.

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                      #11
                      Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

                      I have no idea, but how terribly frustrating! I hope this never ever happens again.

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                        #12
                        Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

                        Beautiful colors!

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                          #13
                          Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

                          Love your quilt. It looks so soft and warm.
                          http://www.flickr.com/photos/quiltsbytrish
                          http://quiltdreaming.blogspot.com
                          http://pinterest.com/TrishLapp


                          What if you woke up today and the only things you had were the things you thanked God for yesterday? :icon_hug:quilting trish

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                            #14
                            Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

                            That is such a cozy looking quilt. The red binding and ties really sets it off. Makes me think of hot chocolate and good books.

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                              #15
                              Re: Where Did I Go Wrong!?

                              It's a really nice looking quilt.

                              I have used flannel in the past. I have only used it for backing, with a regular cotton top. I never pre washed. Just threw it in the washer on delicate and half dried it, then hung it on a line to finish drying.

                              I am sorry you had these issues. To put so much work into something and then to have to correct it is really frustrating. I am sure the next quilt will go much easier.

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