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Echo quilting is creating pleats

My first attempt at echo quilting...

My first attempt at echo quilting...

When I'm echo quilting, I am getting pleating in the center. How do I avoid this?


I have two suggestions. The first is for this quilt; the second is for future quilts.

For this quilt...

Especially if you are using dense echo quilting (like my first attempt shown above), there is indeed a tendency for little 'pillows' or 'puffs' of fabric to form between the lines of quilting. I have found that if I pull the quilt sandwich taut between my hands as I quilt, I can minimize a lot of that 'puff'.

Make sure that your free motion foot glides over the top of the quilt sandwich and doesn't do anything to create these pillows. Reduce the presser foot pressure a wee bit if you need to.

If you are using your walking foot for your echo stitching and puffs are forming in front of the foot, try stopping with the needle in the down position (piercing the fabric). Then raise and lower the presser foot. That will help the foot gradually sew in the puff. Raise and lower the walking foot in this manner several times until the extra fabric has been quilted into the quilt. I also suggest holding the quilt sandwich taut to help disperse the puff into the quilting.

Click here for more information on presser foot pressure settings. The video does a good job showing the effects of too-high of a pressure setting at about 6 minutes in.

Flowerhead pins

Clover Flower Head Pins

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Add more pin basting...

It's O.K. to add extra pins to control the fabric pillows. I do this frequently because the pins are like having an extra hand.

You'll want to be able to do this while the quilt is under the needle so safety pins aren't the ideal choice.

I use flower head pins (shown to the right). They're easy to insert and because the area is usually small, I don't have to worry about sticking myself.

I particularly like these pins because they lay so flat...there is no round head to distort the sandwich. They're also easy to quickly insert and remove. Given that the area is so small, there isn't a danger of sticking your fingers either.

For your next quilt

If there's a lot of dense quilting in your quilt, I enthusiastically suggest using a 100% wool batting like Hobbs Heirloom Wool.

It is quite puffy when pin basted into your quilt sandwich. Don't worry though. It quilts down to almost nothing where there is dense stitching and poofs nicely to give dimension to feathers.

I think the batting, in general, is much more forgiving of uneven quilting across the top of your quilt. When the stitching is complete, you can easily block the quilt into shape.

However, if there is not a lot of quilting in your quilt, I do NOT recommend the 100% wool, because then there is nothing to rein in the poof. The resulting quilt looks to puffy for my taste.

I hope these suggestions are helpful to you in finishing your current quilt.

Readers...please add your suggestions with the 'comments' link found just below!


Julie Baird

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