Have You Noticed Quilting Shrinkage?

by Nicole

The weather is turning cooler here in North Carolina. It’s a good thing I had a piecing party this weekend with my Anna Maria Horner flannel blocks.

Anna Maria Horner Flannel Blocks

After laying out the blocks, I decided to add 22 more blocks to make the quilt bigger. I figured that I had the extra fabric so why not? Plus, I’ve noticed that dense machine quilting tends to make the quilt shrink. Have you noticed that?

Quilting shrinkage is not from the fabrics shrinking because you didn’t pre-wash them or from the batting shrinking when the quilt is washed. Both not pre-washing fabrics or batting can create shrinkage, but there is also shrinking that can happen from dense machine stitching. With dense quilting, the stitches in effect “pull” at the fabrics and create shrinkage.

It’s difficult to estimate just how much shrinking will occur from machine quilting, so I like to make the top a little bigger to account for the quilting shrinkage so that the quilt is large enough after quilting. For this quilt, I made an extra column and row, which meant an extra 22 blocks. In total, I pieced 132 blocks.


Now I’ve got a top ready for quilting.

Let’s see if I can get it done before the temperatures drop even further!

Linking to W.i.P. Wednesday and Needle and Thread Thursday

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Laura September 24, 2014 - 5:31 pm

This is a great reminder about shrinkage from dense quilting! Thanks for sharing!

Myra September 24, 2014 - 8:37 pm

The most shrinkage I had on a quilt was when I floated the quilt top rather than attaching it to a rail, keeping consistent tension on it. I had read about floating the quilt top online and decided to try it. The quilt was originally a queen size and shrank down to a full size. Never again will I float a quilt top!

charlotte September 24, 2014 - 11:02 pm

I am loving this quilt so far. Can't wait to see it finished. Such pretty colors.

Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl September 25, 2014 - 1:29 am

I agree that dense quilting shrinks quilts. I have been taking measurements of my flimsy, the quilt after quilting, and again after first wash. My more densely quilted tops shrink up to 4% just from the quilting! If I really need to nail a quilt size, I have started to use 9% shrinkage as an estimate.

~Diana September 25, 2014 - 3:29 am

Fun colors Nicole! Looking forward to seeing more!

Kim B. September 25, 2014 - 5:29 am

that looks so enticing — soft and sweet. I'm ready for fall to arrive here. My favorite season!

Heather September 25, 2014 - 10:13 am

This will be so cozy! It's beautiful, too.

Heather Graves September 25, 2014 - 12:37 pm

The colors you have chosen are so beautiful! Can't wait to see the finished quilt

curious September 25, 2014 - 12:50 pm

I noticed you pressed your seams open, did ypu do that because it is flannel?

Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation September 25, 2014 - 3:06 pm

whew! that is a LOT of piecing! gorgeous colors, and the flannel will make it so snuggly!

Thank you so much for sharing at Needle and Thread Thursday!

🙂 Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

gibbygoo56 September 25, 2014 - 7:35 pm

Beautiful colors and I love the idea of flannel!

LA Paylor September 25, 2014 - 9:51 pm

I love a flannel quilt. The flannels available right now are so stable. LeeAnna at not afraid of color

Leanne September 28, 2014 - 4:35 pm

I love the flannels you are using. Really it is only geometry. When you sew a line of stitches to pull in the fabric and batting together, it pulls in the top from its width, just the tiniest amount. If every line pulled in 1 mm, and you had 50 lines of thread, that is 50 mm (or about 2 inches). There is no way to avoid this if you add quilting and the effect will show more when the quilt is first washed. If size is important, I too add more to the quilt. (I also take into account the shrinkage of the fabrics, the batting and the thread on the washing).

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