Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Quilt Sandwich"

To prepare your quilt top to be made into a full blown quilt, you'll need to make a "quilt sandwich." And basically what that means is putting all your quilt layers together in preparation for quilting them together (either by hand or machine.)

Sorry I didn't take many pictures of this process, but it's pretty easy so hopefully you'll still get the idea.

To start, lay your backing fabric face down. Since we are working on a small doll quilt, your cutting mat is a great spot to use. If you are working on a larger quilt, use the floor or a large tabletop (but make sure the floor or table are surfaces you don't mind getting scratched up.) Smooth the fabric out. Then place pieces of blue painters tape around all sides, taping the fabric to the work surface, to hold the fabric taut. Be careful not to stretch or pull the fabric. You just need it taut so it doesn't wrinkle or move around under the other layers.

Next smooth out your batting on top of the backing fabric. Batting and cotton magical "stick" together, so no more tape will be needed.

Now lay your quilt top on top of the batting, smoothing it out. Be careful to keep all your pressed seems in their proper place and not flipped over. Also double check to make sure the backing fabric and batting are underlying the entire quilt top. It's important to always cut your batting and backing fabric 2-4" larger on each side to allow for any variance, especially once it's getting quilted. (An easy way to do this is simply lay your quilt top on top of the batting or backing fabric, then using hand scissors, eyeball the extra 2-4" on each side and snip away the batting or backing. It doesn't need to be perfect, because the excess with get trimmed away later.)

The final step is to pin it all together. Using bent quilting safety pins, pin through all the layers.
Place pins approximately 5" apart, which is about the size of your fist. Also, vary the pin placement, row by row. See picture below.

Again, if you're sandwiching anything larger then a doll quilt, this next tool is your best friend. It is used to close the safety pins. Do it once without it, and you'll know what I mean when you wake up the next morning with busied finger tips. It's very inexpensive and can be found at every quilting store.

And that's it. You're done. Just remove the tape from the backing fabric.

In my next couple posts, we'll talk about machine quilting. This is a new topic for me, so I'm in that exciting and giddy phase.

Also if you took a closer look at my quilt sandwich above, you may have noticed that I pieced my batting. We'll talk about that later too.

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