2015 Technique BOM - Quilting the Quilt
Prepare your quilt for quilting, then have a ball quilting designs on your finished quilt top!
What you need to make this project
- Backing Fabric
Once you’ve made your quilt top, it is time to prepare it for quilting! If you are new to quilting, you might want to send your quilt to a long-arm quilter to have them quilt it… or you might want to quilt it yourself. Either way, you’ll want to start by stitching the backing.
Measure your quilt. Our pink BOM quilt is 54″x68″. Standard quilting cottons are 42″ wide, so we will need to piece two pieces together to make the back. Also, you’ll want your backing larger than your front – regardless of if you are quilting it yourself or sending it off to be quilted. A good rule of thumb is at least 4″ on all sides. So our backing needs to be 62″x76″.
Cut two 62″ lengths from the bolt, trim off the selvedge on one side of each, then pin and sew together. Press your backing seam open to reduce bulk.
If you are bringing your quilt to a long arm quilter, press your top and backing, fold carefully or hang on a hanger, and bring to your quilter.
If you’re quilting the quilt yourself, it is time to make the quilt sandwich!
Start by laying your backing on the floor (or a large table), right side down. You’ll want to make sure whatever surface you are basting on is clean.
Place your batting on top. Then your quilt top on top of that.
Make sure everything fits, and is the right size. Now, lift up the quilt top, and put it aside. Put your batting on the floor (or table), with the backing on top (right side up). Smooth out any wrinkles. If your batting has big wrinkles or creases, you can put a cotton or cotton-blend batting in the dryer with a damp towel for a few minutes to steam out the wrinkles.
Lift the backing away from the batting, spray the basting spray as directed on the can, then place the backing fabric back down. Do this in sections until the entire backing is basted to the back. Turn over and repeat with the quilt top on the front.
Your quilt is ready to be quilted! Now, prepare your machine.
You will want to put a quilting or free-motion foot on your machine. Put your feed dogs down. I like a silicone mat on my quilting surface (The Super Slider – available at most quilting shops or online) to help move the quilt more easily, but this is optional.
If you have never quilted before, you might want to practice on a scrap of batting with scrap fabric basted to the top and bottom, before quilting your quilt.
Start in the center of your quilt. If your quilt is well basted, you can start anywhere, but starting in the center can reduce puckers.
Bring up your bobbin thread by holding on to your top thread, lowering the needle once, raising it back up, lifting your presser foot (to disengage the tension disks), and pulling on the top thread to bring up the bobbin thread.
Hold the thread tails off to the side as you begin quilting.
Once you’ve quilted a few inches away from your tails, you can bury them. Tie them together to make a double knot, then use a self-threading needle (you can use any needle, but a self-threading needle is much easier when you’re burying tails) to insert the threads back in the last hole they came out of, running the needle in the batting, and then back up again an inch or so away. The needle should not go out the back. Pull the threads tightly, and cut off the excess.
Quilt whatever designs make you happy. Slowly move the fabric under the needle as you press on the presser foot. It will take a little time for you and the machine to develop a rhythm. Once you do, it is like magic!
Quilt all your blocks, and in your sashing and borders.
Next month we’ll trim up the quilt, and bind it – it will be ready for snuggling!