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Tucks on the back of my quilt

by Elaine DeFoor
(Stuart, Florida)

I am working on quilting my first king size quilt having made several queen-size.

I have never had problems with tucks on the back. But this time, I have re-pinned and still have tucks. Is there anyway to fix these without removing all the stitching. I am afraid I will ruin the fabric.

My husband has made a large surface that goes on top of our dining rm table to sandwich my quilts. It worked great for my first large quilt - (Amanda's Quilt on your Share Your Quilts). I don't know what to do.

This quilt is for my daughter's 25th wedding anniversary and the top is stunning.



Since you have quilted several large quilts without a 'tuck problem', I don't think it's a problem with how you've pin basted your quilt sandwich. (However, I do have to admit that every once in awhile, I'll get some tucks on the back out of is aggravating to say the least, so I know where you're coming from!)

I have two suggestions to try...

Reduce your presser foot pressure setting

If the pressure is too high, even with your walking foot on, the foot can force too much fabric ahead of it, causing a tuck to form...on the back or the front.

This video is a bit long, but does a good job explaining about reducing presser foot pressure. About 6 minutes in is where you'll see the difference that just changing this one setting can make to your quilting.

If you're using a different batting or different fabrics that are thicker than your previous quilts, this pressure setting is most likely the culprit.

So reduce the pressure setting and test on a practice sandwich. Make sure that the sandwich has a couple of lines quilted on the horizontal so that when you stitch vertical lines, you are truly testing whether or not this new pressure setting is working for you.

Add more pin basting...

...with straight pins in only the small area of the quilt where you are working. Add just enough to help you, not so many as to stick you.

These pins help to stabilize and control the layers, plus they're easy to put in and take out as you are quilting. (My favorites for this are the flower head pins. The flat head doesn't distort the quilt sandwich.)

Camouflage the tucks

The only way I know to remove the existing tucks is to remove all the stitching...not what you wanted to hear. Is there anyway to applique something over them on the hearts? If there are just a few places, this might be a nice fix without too much extra work. Certainly less than ripping out all the stitching.

There is another possibility...

...did you use a 100% cotton batting? What kind of shrinkage does it have? Did you pre-wash your quilt fabric? Or pretest for bleeding?

If the quilt batting is going to shrink 5% or more when it's washed, perhaps washing the finished quilt will camouflage the tucks?

You could finish off the edges of your practice quilt sandwich (made from the actual fabrics in your quilt) that you used to test your pressure settings and then wash it to see what happens.

If you haven't pre-washed your quilt fabric, but only pre-tested it so you know it won't bleed, there'll be shrinkage in the fabric, too.

Heart to Heart

If this quilt is as stunning as you say (and I'd love to see a picture when you're finished!), then having tucks on the back will mean way more to you than your daughter.

If you have tried everything and you're still getting tucks, then take a deep breath and let it all go.

The quilt will still be beautiful, it will still be a stunning gift to celebrate a wonderful occasion and you will still be a generous and loving Mom for creating such a gift. And your daughter will still be lucky to have you for a Mom.

A quilt is love, and love needn't be perfect to be heartfelt and true.


Julie Baird

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Backing Tucks
by: Elaine DeFoor

Thanks once again, Julie, for your great help and moral support. I did applique a small heart on the back of a previous quilt that mistakenly cut a small hole into when snipping threads. It is the same color as the backing and the receiver of that quilt has never mentioned it. My signature piece is a lopsided heart (design by husband) that I hand embroider my name and date on - so hearts would be expected on all my quilts.

I will post a photo of just the quilt top. It is the first quilt I have done without help from one of my many more experienced quilting friends. I selected the pattern from a book, my husband modified a template (great that he is an engineer, I choose the 55 different fabrics myself. My daughter and I are very close and we adore her husband so I hope this is my most beautiful quilt. She is the one who said she didn't like a "quilty quilt". I think I accomplished it.

Thanks again

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