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help My flag is curving?

shaba | Posted in Talk With Us on

HI I’m Sheba.

I’m not sure this is where I can get HELP quick, but here goes.

I’m making an American Flag by strip peacing the strips.

(Say that three times fast) Anyway it’s curving upword, I’m useing the 1/4″ foot and can not understand why the curve?

Can anyone help my fourth of July party is on the fifth.

need a quick answer.

Thanks Sheba

[email protected]


  1. rekha | | #1

    What sort of material are you using for all strips?

    Are you using the correct needles and tensions?

  2. Ralphetta | | #2

    It sounds like maybe the fabric is stretched. Did you press the strips before sewing? Did you press after sewing each strip so that things were straight and aligned? I think I've had similar problems because I was holding the fabric too tightly as I approached the end and stretched it out of shape.

  3. Josefly | | #3

    Hi, Sheba, and welcome to the forum. This is usually just the place to get help.What kind of fabric are you using, and how long are the strips you're using? Are they cut on the lenthwise grain? What kind of stitching are you using to join the stripes?I'll bet Betsy Ross had the same problems with her stripes!How do you plan to do the stars?

    1. shaba | | #4

      Thanks everyone for your quick responses!

      I made the big mistake every beginner makes I forgot to shrink the cotton fabric first!

       Betsy Ross would kick me you know where!


      Ps the stars are a simple square of navy blue fabric with a bunch of white stars on it. No piecing involved!

      Edited 6/19/2008 7:38 pm ET by shaba

      1. Josefly | | #5

        It may be that your cotton fabric needs to be straightened by pulling diagonally at the corners of your yardage. Often the fabric gets distorted when it's put on the bolt, so if you were cutting stripes across the grain, that crosswise grain might be curving from the center outward toward the selvages. If you tear, instead of cut, the fabric across from selvage to selvage, you will be better able to see how the grain-line goes, and can perhaps tell where to pull to correct the distortion. I'm assuming the fabric is an ordinary cotton weave?

      2. jjgg | | #6

        is it just bowing in the center of the long strips? (How long are the strips). This is actually a fairly common problem with strip piecing, and is often a pressing issue (pun intended there!) Use a lot of steam and tug the grain straight. Press with the straight grain (along the long edge of the strips).One reason for the bowing in the center of the strips is that when the strip is sewn one to the next, and pressed, (I will assume here you are pressing the seams to one side like in a quilt), the tendency is to use more pressure on the iron in the center of the strip than at the edges because you can't grab onto it as well at the tips of the strip. Thus, your seam is pressed sharper and more open in the centerThis is assuming that the fabrics were cut with the straight grain. Pre-shrinking the fabrics is not as big an issue unless one fabric shrank a lot more than the other.But, since you are using red and white strips, I would certainly have pre-washed the red to make sure it doesn't bleed onto the white. (that would be my biggest concern).Good luck

  4. BernaWeaves | | #7

    Just another thought:   Since this is a flag, I'm assuming that you're doing some sort of flat fell seam for the stripes, so you don't have a raw edge on the backside of the flag, right?   Make sure you sew all the seams in the same direction.  If you sew up one way, and then down the other way to finish the seam, you'll get a slight twist in the area of the flat fell.  Multiply that by 12 seams and your whole flag is going to curve.


    1. shaba | | #8

      Thanks to everyone who sent replys.

      I am going to make a pillow out of this Flag, so you will not see the back.

       Next I am going to gather all these replys and make a true Flag, My Hubby was not too happy that I "cheated" on the stars anyway.

      Again Thanks to all!


      1. Pattiann42 | | #9

        All bases where touched except for the actual cutting.  Where the strips straight before they were sewn.   Where they cut with scissors or rotary cutter?

        I get straight strips by first, gently washing (just a couple of minutes), drying and ironing the fabric.  No pulling or toughing the fabric.

        Before cutting, fold fabric lengthwise, aligning the selvages until the folded edge is smooth.  If the fold is not smooth, rearranged one selvaged edges to the left or right until the wrinkles are gone.  I do this by holding the fabric up in front of me.

        Once straight, I rotary cut the raw edge to get a straight edge to work from.  Place the rotary ruler on the fabric, aligning one of the lines on the ruler so it is square with the folded edge of the fabric.

        The rest will be a piece of cake.  I have made several strip quilts and "flag" wall hangings this way without nary a wave.

        These pictures may help (not my site) - http://www.how-to-quilt.com/articles/6106-cutting-fabric-straight.shtml

        Edited 6/21/2008 5:41 pm ET by spicegirl1

      2. Teaf5 | | #10

        When you get to piecing the real flag, check on the internet for the instructions on how to make the Betsy Ross five-pointed star. 

        George Washington was going to have six-pointed stars until dear Betsy showed him her clever way of folding paper and snipping once to produce a perfect five-point star.  It's often used in geometry classes to demonstrate the simple basis of a complicated figure.

        And to your husband, be sure to quote Flag Etiquette, which says that real flags should never be sewn into clothing or items for uses other than proper flag display; thus, your "fake"stars have prevented you from violating a patriotic symbol!

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