my quilt is falling apart

lola99April 29, 2012

Now that I have washed my quilt and I'm starting to like it better and better, my only problem is that it is falling apart!

Many of my circles are starting to come apart.

I am going to zig-zag over the edges, but why did this happen? Should I have used a wider zig-zag when I appliqued them in the first place?


P.S. Here is a picture of the whole quilt if you didn't already see it on my Petri Dish thread. :)

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Lola, you should have probably used a wider and tighter zigzag. Also make sure the stitch is mostly on the applique piece. Straight stitching near the edge before zigzag may help, too.

As a fellow quilter who has had a quilt come apart, I know how you feel! All those hours of work! Hopefully yours can be repaired. Mine was a hand sewn cathedral window and it literally fell apart in the washer. I just hauled it out of the dryer and into the garbage can. :(


    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 4:51PM
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Oh Donna, that's a heartbreaking story!!!

Lola, I think you'll be OK with this one but you may have to sew over all the circles to be sure you don't lose more or them. Tighter zigzag, for sure, to stop it from fraying.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 5:49PM
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Oh, my, and what a wonderful, colorful quilt! Take Kate's advise and re-sew the circles. Is that fabric by chance a loosely-woven decorator fabric or something? The reason why I ask is that it looks like a more loosely woven fabric. I had made a quilt using some decorator fabric samples and some of them were very easy to unravel at the edges like that.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 7:23PM
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Good advice so far. Wider, tighter zig-zag with most all the stitch on the circle.

Did you use a fusible product when applying the circles? I would think a fusible would have helped to hold it in place and stabilize it. (for the "for what it's worth" category)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 7:26PM
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Thanks for the comments and information.

I will re-sew all of the circles. I thought I was supposed to catch part of the applique and part of the back ground with my zigzag. Now I realize that idea, coupled with a narrow zigzag resulted in very little stitching holding down the circles. I'll make a wider stitch and focus on stitching mostly on the applique. If I ever sew this pattern again, I'll straight stitch near the edge, before zigzagging. Good idea, Donna.

Donna, I'm so sorry your cathedral window went from the dryer to the garbage. How frustrating. I really like the look of cathedral window quilts, but I have not attempted that yet.

Rita, the fabric is high quality quilting fabric that I bought at several LQS. But, I did wash it 3x in a row (to get all the red dye out) so I'm sure that contributed to the unraveling.

No, Jennifer, I didn't use a fusible product. I used a stabilizer on the back when I first stitched the circles. I was afraid a fusible would make it stiff, but I'm under the impression that some fusibles are now quite soft. So maybe that is the way to go next time.

This is definitely a great learning project! Thanks again for sharing your advice.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 10:32AM
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Kind of heartbreaking but I'm sure it can be salvaged. Very pretty quilt.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 2:33PM
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Lola, I agree, this is heartbreaking!!
I suggest you use a fusible in fixing this or it will continue to come apart. The fusible prevents the fabric from raveling. Looking at your zig zag stitching, I think they are fine in securing your circles. It is the unfinished edges of the circles that frayed away from the stitches.

I have taken some machine applique workshops, and what they all had in common was the use of fusible.

To fix this, I would cut away the existing circles, leave the zig zag stitches, cut new circles, slightly larger using fusible following the directions where you fuse first, then cut your circles with the fused edges and re stitch. Since the circles are a bit larger than the frayed ones, you will be covering the existing zig zag stitching.

Basically you only have a ring of fusible around the edges, so it is still very soft. This will prevent the fraying.

You are having a time with this quilt, but it looks great.
Thank goodness you washed it before giving it away.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soft Fuse

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 5:23PM
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Oh, I don't have the energy to cut out all of the existing circles. I think I would only do that if I really loved the quilting (which I don't really like at all!). Also, I only bought 1/4 yard cuts of most of the fabric, so I don't even have enough to redo the circles.

I'm going to try to sew a very wide, tight zigzag and see if that holds it. I did one circle this evening. It changes the look, but if it can salvage the quilt than that is okay. If this doesn't work, then this quilt will officially be declared a learning piece and I'll be done with it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:12PM
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Lola~I'm with 'ya on this one! I admire your perseverance to get this done & gone! :)

And.....not having more fabric saved you from my suggestion~lol

Your satin stitch looks very good. That should hold it!

I still like your quilt alot and all the bright colors.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 8:48AM
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Lola I love the quilt!! You should be able to repair it.

When my granddaughter's first quilt (she made) came aprt in some areas I just ironed them as flat as I could and glued them in place to applique them back down.

It doesn't look as pretty on the back BUT it does on the front lol!!!!!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 11:02AM
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This is a learning lesson for me too, Lola.

I can feel your frustration with the fraying circles, but I can also sense the uplifting feeling you must be getting from the helpful suggestions from this group of wonderful gals.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. You may never know how many others you will reach with this learning project. I'm making notes for the future when I start the applique adventure.

I like everything about the design of your quilt, from the circles to the narrow border to the strip-pieced border to the lovely backing. I also like the excellent photography in your third photo. It looks like it came from a magazine! Love the way you draped one corner on the edge of the moss covered stump.

Keep us updated on your re-do progress.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 1:15PM
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Lola, I think your quilt is very bright and pretty, and I'm so sorry you have been so disappointed by it. I think your satin stitch around each circle should take care of your problem, and I think it looks fine.

When I started my baby sail boat applique quilt, I intended to use a blanket stitch as I had in the machine applique class I had taken. Then I realized that I was working with a more coarsely-woven fabric than the batik we used in class. I was afraid of raveling, so I used a zig-zag. I also used a very light fusible product, and I sewed so that the right "zig" always landed right at the edge of the applique and the left "zag" went well into the fabric. I also had the LAQ quilt over the appliques for security. I hope there won't be an issue with the quilt. In fact, I hope they use it as a wall-hanging so it doesn't get washed too often.

I think your quilt will be lovely.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 5:01PM
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I haven't been on in a while, I lurk now and then but I feel I need to comment here.

Your quilt is BEAUTIFUL!!! Please do not give up on it. It was and is a learning process and the ladies on the forum have given you just the advice I would have given you too, fusible under the appliques.
Your quilt as inspired some ideas in my head for some fabric I didn't know what I was going to do with. Thanks!


    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 6:52AM
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Thank you again, my friends. Julie, you are SO right, I feel so much better talking this through with this group and getting suggestions, input, and condolences!

Vicky, so nice to see you here and thank you for your encouragement.

Last night I saw the woman who is to receive this quilt. I showed it to her and she loved it. She told me that she has never made a quilt and she has never owned a quilt before and she is thrilled. I told her that I tried some new things and some worked better than others (obviously she saw where it was falling apart) but I didn't point out all the faults and she told me that she really liked the fact that I experimented. Ironically, she was particularly impressed with the machine quilting. One of her colleagues quilts and sends all of her tops out to be quilted, so my friend had in her mind that quilting a top is a very difficult, impressive thing to do! Ha, if only she knew how I felt about MY quilting. But I kept that to myself and just told her I hoped it would hold up to the wash after I finished re-sewing all the circles.

Anyway, thank you all again for listening and participating in my quilting saga.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 3:29PM
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I'm so glad it's turned out to be a good experience for you! Truth be told, most of our quilt project can probably be thought of as sagas. So often I run into something unexpected, then feel a sense of accomplishment when I figure out how to fix it. Your quilt is beautiful, the colors are exciting and your friend should be impressed with your quilting!


    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 5:50PM
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And I forgot to say "Hi Vicky!" You are missed and it's nice to see you!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 5:51PM
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