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Seam Allowances on Batik Fabrics

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Kristin (KAlbrecht) posted on Fri, Nov 30 2012 7:26 PM

I am working on a man-cave quilt made entirely of Batik's.  I am very meticulous when it comes to cutting my pieces . . . I measure, and then measure again . . . and when I make my cuts, I remeasure the cut pieces to make sure they're the right dimensions.

My seam allowances are set to 1/4".  I have measured and confirmed where my fabric needs to be to sew a 1/4" seam allowance.  When I measure the seam allowance, it is 1/4" from the center of the stitching, to the edge of the fabric.

So what I have going on is, after I sew two Batik pieces together and remeasure everything, I've lost an 1/8" from the completed piece.

For example, I start with a 9-1/2" block . . . A cut piece from one fabric.  Measures to 9-1/2".  I sew on a 2-1/2" piece and expect to end up with a 11-1/2" block.  But when I measure it, the block is only 11-3/8".  When I remeasure the 2-1/2" piece that I just sewed on (measured on the wrong side, so I can measure the full width of the fabric), that piece now measures 2-3/8".

Where is my 1/8" going?  Is there something with Batik's that I'm missing?  Should I shrink my seam allowance by 1/8" to accommodate this 1/8" loss?  I see this happening whenever I am working with Batik's.

Any help to a newbie would be appreciated.

Thank you. :)

Kristin Lee WICKMAN Albrecht  

(I'm a WICKMAN . . . Don't let anybody tell you any different)

 

 

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Answered (Verified) Sidlow replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 7:37 PM
Verified by Kristin (KAlbrecht)

Scant 1/4" seems to be the way to go these days, ,so move your needle to the right a smidge - or however you set the seam allowance.  I use a thinner thread i.e. So Fine. Some threads are thicker and takes up space in the seam allowance.  What kind of thread are you using? Then finally, persuasive pressing is essential so you dont have little folds in the seam allowances.

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Answered (Verified) Agnes replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 7:41 PM
Verified by Kristin (KAlbrecht)

Batiks are no different than other fabrics though they are often far more tightly woven and therefore don't have the give that other fabrics might. Generally your seams should be shy of the quarter inch--term used is scant-- so that when you press the seam the seam line makes the quarter inch. Two seams means you are losing 1/16" from each piece. The sewing thread takes some of that space and a few threads on either piece soon adds up to that amount. You may have to set a sewing line with tape. sticky notes, etc on your machine bed once you find the measurement that gives you that true 1/4" line. I can only think that in your pressing your fabrics you are creating a bit of stretch in more loosely woven fabrics and therefore the problem isn't showing up until you press batiks that have no give. Hope something in all my rambling might be helpful.

Agnes in NW Ontario

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Answered (Verified) Sidlow replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 7:37 PM
Verified by Kristin (KAlbrecht)

Scant 1/4" seems to be the way to go these days, ,so move your needle to the right a smidge - or however you set the seam allowance.  I use a thinner thread i.e. So Fine. Some threads are thicker and takes up space in the seam allowance.  What kind of thread are you using? Then finally, persuasive pressing is essential so you dont have little folds in the seam allowances.

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Answered (Verified) Agnes replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 7:41 PM
Verified by Kristin (KAlbrecht)

Batiks are no different than other fabrics though they are often far more tightly woven and therefore don't have the give that other fabrics might. Generally your seams should be shy of the quarter inch--term used is scant-- so that when you press the seam the seam line makes the quarter inch. Two seams means you are losing 1/16" from each piece. The sewing thread takes some of that space and a few threads on either piece soon adds up to that amount. You may have to set a sewing line with tape. sticky notes, etc on your machine bed once you find the measurement that gives you that true 1/4" line. I can only think that in your pressing your fabrics you are creating a bit of stretch in more loosely woven fabrics and therefore the problem isn't showing up until you press batiks that have no give. Hope something in all my rambling might be helpful.

Agnes in NW Ontario

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Sidlow replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 7:42 PM

Also sounds like you may have a cutting problem.  Dont use the lines on your mat if you are doing that. The can be off.

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Thea replied on Fri, Nov 30 2012 7:51 PM

Kristin - batik fabrics if anything would not shrink and you should not lose anything 

When you are cutting your fabric - what line are you using on your ruler?  Are you using the same ruler after you sew it together to measure?  Are you pressing the seam so that there is no fold in there - and it is a tight seam?  Press into the seam - first on the wrong side - set the seam by just putting the iron down on the stitches - then turn it over and press into the direction you want the fabric to go - press down on this seam to make it lay flat.  If you still are under the width that you want - then you need to take the stitches out and go back and stitch what is called a skinny 1/4" - which only means that you have to move over 1 thread... or sometimes 2 threads - you are still doing almost a 1/4" seam.  

You should take 3 pieces of material - you can use any size I recommend 3' - sew all 3 squares together - then measure and see where you are - this should give you an adjustment so that you know what you are looking at on your machine -each machine is different and 1/4" on my machine may look totally different from your machine  

It also makes a big difference what kind of ruler you are using - and you should always use the same type of ruler for all your work on the same quilt.  Although the manufacturers try to make the rulers all the same - the lines are a different thickness and some people measure to the middle of the line - some measure just before the line and some just after - what ever way you measure is the way you should always measure.  Some rulers have small openings along the line and your fabric should go right through the middle of that opening.  

1/8" is too much to shrink a seam - a thread or maybe 2 threads is the most you should shrink and this is because of the shredding a fabric does - you never want to shrink your seams so much that if they shred that you then have a hole.  

 

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Hi Kristin, it is nice to meet you. Looks like you got several good answers so I will just say Hi.

Life is like a quilt...bits & pieces, joy & sorrow, stitched with love

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Wow.  I love this forum.  Everybody is so helpful.

I never really understood what a SCANT seam is . . . I did just find this link so I read up on it . . .

 http://www.diaryofaquilter.com/2011/10/quilting-tip-scant-14-inch.html

Thanks everybody for your comments.  I will be giving this a try to see what I come up with.

I will post an update when I get into my sewing tomorrow.

Thank you!

 

Kristin Lee WICKMAN Albrecht  

(I'm a WICKMAN . . . Don't let anybody tell you any different)

 

 

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Thanks everybody for the tips.   I played with my machine today and finally came up with the proper needle and fabric position to get a 1/4" scant seam.

Now another problem.  As I'm sewing I notice that the fabric is shifting to the left slightly from when I start to the end.  I'm sure I'm doing something wrong, just not sure what.  This happens regardless of where I place my hands.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Kristin Lee WICKMAN Albrecht  

(I'm a WICKMAN . . . Don't let anybody tell you any different)

 

 

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I also havd the shifting problem, as did my sister.  I found that I needed tadjust my presser foot to less pressure.  That fixed the problem.

 Elizabeth

From Sunny Southern CA

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