Thank you so much to Mamafitz, Julia, Elaina, Debbie, Mary, Sarah, Alison and Shannon for talking back to my confession last week! I asked if I was the only person who had trouble sewing together big rectangles of fabric without bubbles or mis-alignment of edges, and whether or not anyone had any helpful advice for me.
While the nicest thing about these confessions is always the excellent advice that I get, I must admit that it never hurts to hear that I am not alone in the world when I get confused, have problems and/or make silly mistakes... And that was the case here - pretty much everyone agreed that, even though it seems like it should be easy, it can be difficult if you don't take special steps.
The solutions fell into 3 categories. The first was to use something sticky to hold the pieces together while you are sewing.
- temporary spray adhesive,
- a glue stick (although Sarah recommends the clear glue stick over the purple one!) and
- something that I had never heard of - fusible thread!
So it turns out that there is this stuff called fusible thread, and if you use it with your machine (possibly only in the bobbin - depending on what web site you read) and stitch the outline of one piece of fabric, then you can iron the 2 pieces together and they'll stick, before you sew them together (with regular thread). Isn't that cool? I'm definitely going to have to try that!
ETA: Oops - my mistake in the above paragraph. It turns out that Mary (who recommended fusible thread) just lays it between the layers of fabric and then presses them together. She doesn't actually use the machine to put in a row of fusible stitches, as I mistakenly inferred... Sorry, Mary. And thanks for the great suggestion! :)
The second category includes mechanical (as opposed to chemical) solutions. The first solution, proposed by Mamafitz and seconded by several others, is to iron the pieces together and then pin them extensively, while the fabrics are still cooling.
Other things called out that might help include:
- reducing the presser foot pressure,
- loosening the top tension a bit and
- feeding the fabric through the machine with the fashion fabric on the bottom and the canvas (heavier fabric) on top.
Shannon also follows the edges of the sturdiest fabric - for example, the canvas instead of the cotton - as it is the least likely to shift out of alignment.
The third category was proposed by Elaina - if a project requires sewing blocks of fabric together around the edges with minimal bubbling, place it in the quilting category and "just say no". I didn't go TOO crazy on the laptop case, because I found that using the walking foot helped quite a bit - but when I was doing the potholders (same principle), there were times when this solution really appealed to me! ;)
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to leave a comment! You guys might be a bit sticky, but you definitely rock! ;)