by crazystitcher 15 Jan 2014

Question please about patchwork or quilting:

Does any-one overlock the edges of their squares before or after joining them together?
Just wondered as it would be awful to have something that had a lot of work in it fray badly and start to fall apart with fequent laundering.
A lot of the quilting how-to's that I have seen make no mention of how to protect the edges and I am guessing that this is probably because of the risk that overlocking the edges of small squares could distort the perfect shape of pieces prior to assembly.
Would very much appreciate any advice on this subject.


by Patricia109 01 Feb 2014

The only time I regretted not having overlocked edge on a quilting project was when it was a bag made from very loose weave silk.
The 1/4 seam just pulled through the seam line after a year or two of use.
So the answer is NO to overlocking the edges. You will be stitching over most of those edges/seam lines when you quilt your project -- if that makes you feel better.
It is a hard concept fro a sewer to face. :-)

by jenne 29 Jan 2014

I have seen "Eleanor Burns to this one time when she was on TV a pbs station.

by clawton 26 Jan 2014

I think they recommend that you not serge the edges because of the bulk that it would create especially at the intersections of the seams. Also those threads may shrink differently than the seams and cause ripples or pulling of the fabric.

clawton by clawton 26 Jan 2014

I see that I am really late in writing a response but I don't always look at this section. Hopefully you have figured out what you wish to do.

crazystitcher by crazystitcher 26 Jan 2014

PLEASE Don't ever worry about being late replying to one of my questions - I am so grateful to every one for their advice and the more suggestions I receive, the more likely I will weigh everyting up for the best outcome, and /or try a few small experiments with everyones different ideas. Thank-you so much, every one who has taken time to offer advice and flowers to you all.

by castor 18 Jan 2014

I belong to a Quiltingroup and have made quit a few Quilts.No serging! Accurate Seam,smal Stiches and good ironing are the most importend steps.There are a lot of Magazines available ,to learn from or join a Group,they are just as welcome to newbes as Cuties.Hope you enjoy the Journey Hugs Ursula

by jburtonbr549 17 Jan 2014

Hi! I have made lots of quilts :) !!! and never had a problem with fraying using a regular 1/4" sewing machine seam. I made one quilt top with all seams sewn with a serger and after 20 years it is still in use on my nephew's bed, so my fears for the overlock stitch not being strong enough for seams was unfounded. Other than the serger being very fast, I much prefer the sewing machine 1/4" seam. Great luck with your quilt.

by marjialexa Moderator 17 Jan 2014

If you're using good quality fabric, it's really not necessary. Although there are a lot of pieces and seams in a quilt, it is the actual quilting, the attaching of the top, batting, and backing together that will prevent putting too much pressure on any one seam and causing it to pull apart. If you're doing a wall hanging or something purely decorative, the quilting doesn't need to be as close together. But if you're doing something that's going to be used a lot, your best bet would be something like an all over stipple to make it strong. Also, pay attention to the batting you use, each kind will tell you the farthest apart that it can be quilted. I would think serging the seams would distort the pieces, and cause a lot of extra bulk and weight in the quilt. Best of luck in your project! Hugs, Marji

1 comment
crazystitcher by crazystitcher 22 Jan 2014

thanks for that helpful hint about the batting, but I bought some off a roll at Spotlight and did not notice any advice about how closely it should be quilted, - I will look more closely at the tag on the roll in future.

by dollygk 16 Jan 2014

I've seen several quilts that had opened seams and when I did my first and all that followed I always top stitch every seam!! Might not be real quilting work but my seams will never undo!!

by elemausi 16 Jan 2014

I think, to overlock the edges is not a good idea. This makes the quilt stiff, because the seam allowance will be bulky after putting to one site.
I take some spraystarch after finishing the top on the backsite of the top, remove the fray bevor I put the top, batting and back together. (Thats wy may be you can see the fray after quilting a light fabric). After quilting by maschin or by hands the seams will not move and also not fray. You can see in my example, that overlock this seams maks no sense

by vickiannette 16 Jan 2014

No, this is not necessary. The idea is to be very exact when sewing your pieces together. ( and cutting) The seam allowance is always one-quarter inch. The seam allowance butts against each other to make perfect patchwork.

getEdited - SELECT
by danababes edited 16 Jan 2014

When I'm making a quilt I iron all the seams so they lay flat then use temp spray glue to layer the top, batting & back. Once it's all flattened out neatly as a sandwich I go around the edge with a large machine basting stitch but this isn't always necessary as all the layers are being held together by the glue. I can go ahead and quilt (either free-motion which I prefer or stitch-in-the-ditch) then trim up the quilt so it's squared, then bind.

I think the reason most quilters don't mention treatment of the individual quilt blocks' edges is because once the blocks are quilted and bound, there should be no movement of the blocks to cause the fraying. At least that's how I see it :)

You can indeed piece each block using your overlocker, just be sure that your seams don't get bulky. After joining blocks into rows and then joining rows, you can alternate the direction the seams will lay when you cross one by flipping it under the foot just before you get to the seam, rather than letting the previous seam flip toward you (hrm does that make sense? lol easier to show you but I can't). Alternately, to make the seams lay flat, a tiny nick in the seam at the join won't affect the seam provided you don't cut through the needle threads (think garment making clips/cuts). I'd also use a 3 thread seam just to make it smaller if I were joining blocks with my overlocker. :) hth xXx

by bevintex 15 Jan 2014

I am not a quilter but have done some small projects, If you use a quality cotton fabric you should have no problems with fraying and coming apart at the seams. The quilts that our Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers made were done without a serger.

by dragonflyer 15 Jan 2014

I have never used a serger to piece my quilt squares...although I have seen and heard of some that have...I questions whether it would add too much bulk or distortion to the seams when you went to quilt it...especially if you were going to quilt in the ditch...there are no "rules"...