Solving the Wavy Edges Problem

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This post is part of a series about sewing NotQuilts. If you’re unfamiliar with this method, The NotQuilt series begins here.

Not all breaks are bad. Purely by accident, I discovered a way to solve the wavy edges problem.

I have finished sewing dark pink fabric all the way around Dragon Princess. Two things happened. I ran out of fabric, which was not really a surprise. I dug into the stash and found a solid darker pink, closer to purple, and it coordinated well enough. There was only a small rectangle left to cover along the bottom edge.

wavy edges problem

Here’s the gap I needed to fill.

While this might, under normal circumstances, be very noticeable, along with the irregular width of the dark pink border, the big flaw running up the middle of Dragon Princess makes the viewer not notice as much. Fortunately, this NotQuilt will never be shown at the county fair. I would win last place for sure.

The other thing that happened, quite by accident, is that I was able to fix the wavy edges of the blue blanket.

Dragon Princess is very large, about 98 by 94 inches. It’s so large that, in order to work on its edges on the ironing board, I have to throw most of it over the adjacent couch. I was pressing and testing my pieces of dark pink fabric, I had no room, and I got tired of moving it back and forth, from the back of the couch to the ironing board.

I left Dragon Princess in place, as though I was going to pin on a pink section, and pressed the pink fabric on top of the blue blanket.

Lo and behold, the steam began to shrink the wavy edges of the blue blanket. Once I realized this, I took advantage of this miracle and pressed every bit of the edges, shrinking the blue blanket into submission.

This worked really well. I had read about shrinking fabric with a steam iron, but I had never done it. I don’t buy the kind of fabric that can’t be machine-washed and dried, which does a fine job of shrinking fabric all on its own. I machine-wash fabric that probably shouldn’t be machine-washed. If the finished object has to be machine-washed, then I pre-treat my fabric by machine-washing it and getting it used to the way it will be cleaned. If I can avoid having to dry-clean a project by how I make it, I’ll do that.

Shrinking the blue blanket edges took care of the waviness, the ripples, and made the finished edge of the NotQuilt much smoother than I expected them to be.

In the future, if I have problems with the edges of a blanket, I’m going to steam it flat and tight, probably before I get out the measuring tape and find out how big the blanket is. Steaming will change the measurement and that changes everything else.

The edges of Dragon Princess are now tight and smooth. They are sewn all around with dark and darker pink solid cloth. Dragon Princess is ready for the next phase: laying out the fashion face.

wavy edges problem

The finished backing.