I posted pictures of a vintage quilt top a few days ago
and pointed out how the center is a problem
How does that happen?
The pieces are all diamonds
No matter how you cut a diamond there will be bias edges. Bias edges stretch when you sew them and that distorts the pieces. Multiply the little bit off that they all become by all the seams in the top and you have a problem. Where 6 of them all come together in the center it makes a big bump, or quilt volcano.
How can this be fixed? Here is one way
Press the top and work from the outside edges in to the center. Every top will be off in a different way. For this one all the fullness comes out if I press it all to the center right down the middle.
For some quilts I would have to do this in the opposite direction as well. This one has quite a large pleat down the center after pressing and the rest of the top is pretty flat.
If I pin it in place
I can turn it over and see what it looks like.
That makes the center star somewhat distorted. I think some people would not be able to stand it. We quilters do get rather obsessed with perfection and live in fear of the judgment of the quilt police.
Is there a way to make it perfect? I could take it apart and start over being careful on the bias and pressing and checking frequently as I go. Starch is also a help on bias edges to prevent stretch. The question is do I want to do that. I could also take out the 6 seams that join the center star, essentially separating the top into 6 wedges. Then press and block the pieces and trim to uniform sizes and then sew them back together.
I don’t mind the resulting wonky star in the center, I think it adds character and keeps all the work the original maker put into it intact . It also addresses the issue of making the top flat so that it can be quilted. I have not stitched the center yet, it is still pinned. I want to be sure this is how I want to do it before I sew it. Stay tuned to see what I end up doing.
I did a bit of hand quilting on the applique top to see how the quilting on the edges will look (click pictures to enlarge)
I have a lecture on Monday evening http://www.lighthousequilters.org/ and I am writing the lecture and selecting which quilts to bring. It is hard to decide because there is something to learn from every quilt (when I stop learning I think I will be done quilting). If we had several hours I would bring them all! I love to talk about quilts 😉