A fix for the Bias Bulge

As you may recall I have a problem with bias bulging or stretching in the vintage Lily quilt I am currently working on, whoever made it didn’t cut the pieces the best way…see the post where I started it here https://timquilts.com/2014/03/05/now-for-a-little-spring/

Those setting triangles on the edges are puckered because there is such a large bias edge. If I were making a new one I wouldn’t have the problem because I know not to cut the pieces this way but It is fun to figure out how to fix the problems on these vintage and antique tops.

basket of lilies basted 002basket of lilies basted 006

I fixed one of those setting triangles today.  Here is how I did it.

First I had to get the blocks on either side of it quilted so they wouldn’t be distorted as well.  Next I pinned it to the rug with T pins..the idea is that the backing is not on the bias so it won’t stretch.  If I make the backing tight and smooth I can see how much extra fullness I need to deal with.


Next I take out the basting pins and smooth the fullness to the center working from both  sides


Next I pin that extra pleat flat.


Next I baste it and the bottom edge down.



Next I draw in the grid using the pleat as one of the grid lines.


Then quilt it and remove the basting stitches


Can you see it?  here are a few more pictures

DSCN1414 DSCN1415

It isn’t hard to do and sure beats trying to quilt it by distributing the fullness across the whole length of the edge.

Back to work for me

Happy quilting




60 thoughts on “A fix for the Bias Bulge

  1. Anne Kasten says:

    what a clever solution!
    and I love the way you used the fix as the base from which you designed the quilting.
    thank you so much for sharing this.
    and all your other work.

  2. Alison says:

    Light bulb moment! I am so glad I found your blog – the information is priceless, not to mention the encouragement that I too can achieve much more.

  3. Laura says:

    You are one ingenious guy, Tim!

  4. Wow! A perfect solution!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  5. You are flipping brilliant and I can’t wait for your first book!

  6. Irene says:

    I made a quilt set on the bias and it did the same thing. That is why I
    haven’t quilted it. Such a great idea. Thank you.

  7. Linda says:

    Amazing ! I would have never thought of this. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Isabella says:

    Aussie girl says .. Thanks for sharing but no picture of Teddy this time !

  9. Prairie Quilter/Nebraska says:

    Genius! Makes perfect sense, but I doubt I would have thought of it. Appreciate the tip.

  10. Victoria says:

    Clever!!!!! I Love it!!!! Tim, you are just the BEST!!!! Printing this out for future reference. Thank you!!

  11. Eileen Mele says:

    I think you are a genius!!u

  12. glendajean says:

    Many many thanks for that tutorial Tim. I have a couple of 1930s quilts with this same problem and have been putting off quilting them for this very reason. You have made my day. Many thanks again for sharing I enjoy my visits to your blog. Cheers Glenda Australia.

  13. helen says:

    This is simply genious!!!
    Always learning from you, Tim!
    Best wishes!

  14. Connie says:

    Who would have ever thought it?? You are a quilting genius!! What an amazing invisible idea. I need to commit that little trick to memory, even if it uses up the last but if storage space in this old brain.

  15. Suzanne says:

    Ingenious! It’s a simple fix we all overlook.
    Thanks Tim.

  16. Connie Johnson says:

    One always feel proud after solving a quilting problem. Love your no nonsense approach. I’ve learned so much thanks to your generosity’

  17. wanda says:

    Thank you for this explanation. I will try this on my wavy quilt tops.

  18. Vicky Walker says:

    The things you do are amazing! I have learned more from your blog than any other one. So inspiring. Thanks for sharing all your great tips.

  19. Pat Long says:

    What a fabulous fix!

  20. astounding! Thanks for that very useful tip. Makes me wonder where you learned to do it?

    • timquilts says:

      Most of what I do is just figure it out as I go, when I layered and basted this quilt I knew it was going to be a problem so I thought about how to fix it and I came up with this. That is the reason I did a grid pattern quilting, I knew that would help hide it

  21. Jan Masenthin says:

    I don’t what I can say that hasn’t been said, but I do think this is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen anywhere. I have spent my entire quilt life avoiding bias edges, and for outside edge settings, I always use quarter square triangles, starch them to death and then sew, but for a top already created, this is the best idea ever.

  22. Kate says:

    You’re such a clever chap! Enjoying the blog as always, and if you bring out a book, please put in a picture or two of your beautiful Tree quilt. Thanks for this great tip.

  23. sara says:

    You are a magician!

  24. audrey says:

    Wow! Utterly brilliant solution! Very inspiring.:)

  25. Julie Porter says:

    Wow! I cannot see where you put the pleat no matter how large I make the photo. As usual I am in awe. Well done Tim

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Julie
      it is pretty amazing how a row of quilting can hide that pleat……Of course it works best on a solid fabric, I have not tried it on a larger print

  26. Hi Tim I discovered your blog not too long ago and have been slowly going through the archives at lunch time,etc. Your work is just amazing. Anyway, I’d made a mental note to comment on this post as you might enjoy a vintage grandmothers flower garden quilt that I have with these sort of bright colors / most likely from the 1930’s or so : I did a post about it awhile back and the link is here http://www.frugallittlebungalow.com/tuesday-treasures-vintage-grandmothers-flower-garden-quilt/
    It’s a treasure 🙂

  27. […] have been a problem but since they did I had to fix it. You can see how I did that here https://timquilts.com/2014/04/05/a-fix-for-the-bias-bulge/    The fix virtually disappears .once the quilting is done..after it is washed it will be even […]

  28. […] as the pieces were stitched together.  I did a post a while back about fixing that bias problem https://timquilts.com/2014/04/05/a-fix-for-the-bias-bulge/.  This quilt will need more than that simple fix.  I think I will end up taking out all the white […]

  29. […] And here is the post about how I tackled the bias edge problem that caused ll those puckers. https://timquilts.com/2014/04/05/a-fix-for-the-bias-bulge/ […]

  30. Cecile Uhry says:

    Tim-wondering where you find quilt tops to finish. I have made so many quilts since the late 70’s that I would love to preserve some of the older ones. I frequent many yard sales, estate sales etc, but never have found one quilt. I know there are many old tops at most of the quilt shows, but the prices are way too high. Any help. Your blog and ideas are great. Thanks for sharing. Many quilters keep some of this stuff to themselves, and thank goodness you are a sharer.

    • timquilts says:

      I find most of them on eBay I have almost 300 now so I will likely never run out. I find them for various prices but I look for those that are pretty but need some work…they are the ones that are affordable….often under 50 dollars….

  31. […] I worked on it off and on since then.   The vintage top had some problems and you can see how I fixed that here https://timquilts.com/2014/04/05/a-fix-for-the-bias-bulge/ […]

  32. donna says:

    Hi Tim! Great post – this bias edge issue has been plaguing me for a while with a vintage lone star quilt top that my great-grandmother made, and then was just too frustrated with the bias issues and distortion to continue on with it. I totally understand now why she left it unfinished 🙂

    I initially corrected my center star and bias edge pieces, tapering down each the seams where the star points join and removing/re-attaching the corner squares and side triangles. Similar to one of your posts on a star quilt. I then carefully attached a nice square border to that being very careful to not cause further distortion. I made a really rookie mistake though – I steam pressed after I made all of my corrections and added my border and now i have distortion again 😦 Arrrgggh!

    Any ideas on correcting the steam distortion at this point? I considered wetting the star portion and carefully smoothing and laying flat to dry. not sure if that will help. Have you ever encountered anything similar?


    • timquilts says:

      I think your wetting and air drying idea will work. I have had luck with that before. you will need a big space to let it dry flat and maybe even do some pinning to hold the edges in place but I do think it will work


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