newbie question

vvesperDecember 10, 2012

I haven't done much quilting, but I'm learning! Along with some machine piecing and quilting that I'm learning, I want to make a cathedral windows quilt. (I know, I know - not for beginners!) But I have some questions!

I made a cathedral windows pillow last year for my sister. Our mom had died recently, and I used fabrics from her sewing box for the windows. In general, it turned out well. The one thing that did NOT work well was the points/corners. Part of this was due, I'm sure, to my being new to quilting and not nearly precise enough. Part of it was also due to using a "shortcut" technique. In this technique, you don't totally sew together all the raw edges of the background squares, so when I started sewing in the windows, some of the points had raw edges showing where the curved edge is folded over. For the pillow, I fixed this by sewing buttons on each set of points, from my mom's button box. Don't want to do that on a quilt!!

So, one lesson learned. Sew the background blocks the traditional way (though I plan to sew them on the machine)and measure/square them exactly!

My other concern is strength. I know one of the posters on this board had a cathedral window quilt she'd made that fell apart the first time she washed it. I think it's Donna? Donna, could you please give me any info you can on where you think the sewing weaknesses were?

Anyone else have any ideas? I found with the pillow that sewing through all the layers rather than just the top when placing the windows was easier. I sort of think that will contribute strength, kind of like quilting the whole thing.

Other thoughts? Thanks in advance!!!

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rosajoe_gw

Welcome Vvesper! I think a CW is fine for a beginner, it is a chance to practice hand sewing skills. I also have a pettern for machine sewing a CW and I used it on a denim CW, but I prefer the look of hand sewn. My blocks are machine sewn together. It takes long enough just to sew down the windows lol!!!

After I machine sew the block I use lots of starch and press to make the points match up. Even in the link I attached she says her points do not always match up. Looking forward to seeing your progress, mine is on the back burner.
Rosa

Here is a link that might be useful: Cathedral Window

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:53PM
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vvesper

Thanks - I will check this out. I prefer the look of the handsewn windows, too. But as you say it will be quicker to machine sew the squares. Starch is my friend! I've learned that so far. :-) I don't mind so much if the corners aren't absolutely perfect, but raw edges showing was not cool! Not going down that road again.

The secret garden variation you are showing is very pretty! I am debating using that along the edges or something, for some variety.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 4:13PM
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vvesper

Thanks - I will check this out. I prefer the look of the handsewn windows, too. But as you say it will be quicker to machine sew the squares. Starch is my friend! I've learned that so far. :-) I don't mind so much if the corners aren't absolutely perfect, but raw edges showing was not cool! Not going down that road again.

The secret garden variation you are showing is very pretty! I am debating using that along the edges or something, for some variety.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 4:21PM
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msmeow

Vvesper, it was indeed my cathedral window that fell apart when I washed it. The main problem was that most of my background blocks were made of fabric that was much too heavy. My quilt was queen size and it weighed a TON! LOL I also probably didn't sew small enough stitches.

Rosa, how do you sew the blocks together by machine? That would definitely have helped my quilt.

Donna

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 8:26PM
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vvesper

Thanks, Donna! How heartbreaking! I can't even imagine. I've had projects go wrong, but not when it was finished and just being washed.

So I'm thinking maybe a relatively lightweight muslin (but not cheap and cheezy) would be good for the background intead of a heavier, higher thread count fabric?

The tutorial I found (link below) has you machine sew the background blocks into the square that you fold. Then you sew them together by machine before stitching down the flaps in the center of the block. Does that make sense? If not, the tutorial explains it very clearly and even gives instructions to make windows of other shapes besides just square.

Here is a link that might be useful: cathedral window instructions

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 11:22AM
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msmeow

Yes, I think muslin is the traditional background fabric. I used scraps I had on hand and it was back when I sewed clothes all the time. Most of my solids were heavy fabrics you'd make pants out of. Not denim, but pretty close! They were hard to hand sew as well as being very heavy.

I haven't yet tried it again, but I really love the pattern so I probably will try it again some day. :)

Donna

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 12:00PM
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vvesper

Well, kudos to you for being willing to try again! You have a good attitude. :-)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 12:48PM
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