Remember the Batting

Remember to get the batting, choose it according to care, how the quilt will be used and frequency of washing. Both back and batting needs to be at least 4″ wider on all four sides than the quit top.

The first step is pressing the back and either pressing the seams to one side or open. Neither way is “wrong”. I decide the issue of which way to press the seams based on how many seams are in the top. If the top is not heavily pieced or made of non-pieced blocks, I am okay with pressing either way. Heavily pieced tops are bulk enough for the machine or hand needler, so press the back seam(s) open.

make a sandwich

It is finally time to make a sandwich. This is a long blog, so you may need a real sandwich to continue! In fact, it sounds good to me. Meet you back here soon with sandwich in hand!

The back and seams comprised in the back have been pressed. If you have a table that can accommodate the full size of the back and batting that is ideal. A ping pong table is great for larger bed quilts. Some quilt stores that offer classes may have an open table you could use. Your local library may be able to accommodate you as well. Same with your church.

The floor is another option. Smooth the backing, right side down. It may help to use painter’s tape to hold the edges in place. Don’t stretch it, but it works best if taut.  On top of the secure backing, you now place the batting.  Batting with lots of wrinkles or heavy creases can be tossed about in a dryer to relax it.

time for the quilt top

It is time for the quilt top now that the backing is snug under the batting. Press the top then square it up.

The quilting may get the quilt a bit out of square and it will need to be squared when trimming.  If you square before starting to quilt, you are less likely to need to do it again to any degree.

Carefully lay the squared and pressed top right side up on the first two layers of the sandwich. Position it so you have equal (or close) borders of backing and batting around all sides. You now have a quilt sandwich, but do not move it. Basting comes next!

Using a longarm quilter

If you are using a longarm quilter to quilt for you, ignore the instruction below about building a quilt sandwich. Contact your quilter and prepare your top and back per their instructions and other requirements they may have.

Basting Your Sandwich

Basting choice may differ with the size of the quilt and how it will be quilted.

There are several ways to baste a quilt:

  • by hand with basting stitches,
  • curved safety pins designed for basting
  • straight pin basting using point caps,
  • little plastic red tags through the three layers applied with a basting “gun” and red tags,
  • spray temporary adhesive made for fabric – this works best with a design wall.

Spray Adhesive

For those with design walls and want to try spray adhesive, follow these directions.  Prepare the back by pressing.  Spray the wrong side of the back with a temporary adhesive made for fabric. Outside is the best place to spray, if possible.  Taking it back inside, place the right side against the design wall, avoid stretching.  Attach the batting to the adhesive, again careful to not stretch.  Next the top should be squared and pressed before it goes outside for spraying on the wrong side. The top is placed on the batting, leaving the appropriate edges around.  This is where you can use your long quilt ruler to smooth the top.  Work from the center to the outside edge. Use the side of a large ruler to smooth the top and remove any wrinkles.  No further basting needed unless you want to be sure it won’t come apart.  Then see how to do that in the following paragraphs.

Safety Pin Basting

If safety pin basting is your favorite way to baste use the pins specifically designed for basting. I do not bast using safety pins, so I can only speak from information gathered from others. The ease of opening and closing these pins is the most often talked about positive. Start from the center of the quilt sandwich and pin out toward the edges. Smooth the fabric as you go so hopefully there won’t be any folds in the quilting.  Placing your hand next to each pin and use that as your measure for placing the next pin.

Straight Pins

If using straight pins, use the long ones with large heads you can see.  Anyone who knows how to use these pins for basting without getting stuck I would like to hear from you.  Little caps to put over the pin point would be ideal.

Plastic Tags

The plastic tag method requires the grid to hold the guilt off the table when tagging a sandwich. I have one of these set ups and used it several times before I got my midarm and longarm.  It was opinion the length of the tags was not advantageous to hold the three layers snug.

Hand Basting

Quilters throughout history hand basted the quilts they made. It is still the chosen way to baste by many.  After quilting, the long basting stitches are removed.

Quilting follows Basting

Quilting follows basting. Options for quilting are tying, hand quilting, home machine quilting, or quilting on mid-arm or longarm you own. Some quilters prefer paying someone else to do the actual quilting while they can get on with making more tops!

I will be posting hopefully shorter posts on subjects of interest to quilters. Binding, batting choices, piecing batting, thread, and needles, and so many more interesting subjects.  You will find them under the section Education. /looking-at-types-of-batting/ is one link about batting content.