We are back with our fourth segment of the Beginner Quilt Series today, and I’m so excited! Today I’ll be showing you how to prepare your quilt layers, baste them, and quilt!
If you purchased one of the kits from Jones & Vandermeer, your backing piece ought to be cut perfect already. (There are just a few of them left if you want one. Click here, here, and here.) If you are working with your own fabric, you should lay out your backing fabric, then lay your quilt top on top of it. You will want your backing fabric to be a couple inches larger than the top on all four sides. Cut your backing fabric. Set the quilt top aside.
Now you need to cut your backing. I like to lay the backing fabric out on top of the batting, and cut it to the same size.
Use a table or floor, and lay the backing fabric out flat. You may want to iron it if its especially creased or wrinkled. Use some masking tape or painters tape (I wouldn’t use duct tape, and washi tape isn’t going to do a thing), and tape that backing to the floor so that it’s taut. Start in the center of the quilt and place some tape. Then do the opposite side on the center. Then do the other two sides on the center, and work your way out. Do not pull on the corners and warp them.
Layer your batting on top, and smooth it out starting in the center and working your way out.
Place your quilt top on top of the batting, and like you did before, smooth out the quilt top from the center out. The quilt top should be centered on the batting and backing.
Now we are going to mark our quilting lines on the quilt. I’m going to take special care to keep everything still as I mark since the quilt has not yet been pinned together. I am going to quilt in a cross hatch design, so I’m holding my ruler at a 45° angle. You’re going to hold the Hera marker like you hold a rotary cutter, butted right up against the ruler. Put pressure on your ruler so your fabric doesn’t shift as you trace out where you want to quilt. The Hera marker will crease the fabric so you can quilt along those lines. If you have an especially busy fabric, or if you have a hard time seeing the creases, you can certainly use a chalk marking pencil, tailor’s chalk, or some marking tool that can come off easily.
Once you have finished marking you lines, you can pin in the areas that you won’t be quilting. I like to alter the direction of my pins so that it lessens the likelihood of my layers shifting about.
Once your quilt top is pinned and secured, you can remove the tape around the backing fabric. You always want to start quilting in the middle of your quilt, so I’m going to begin with the center line. Roll up the right right side to the line where you want to sew, so that the quilt will fit under the arm of your sewing machine.
Make sure your machine is fitted with a walking foot and that the needle is in the center position. You will also want to begin with your bobbin full of thread. I’m using Wonderful Specialty thread in my bobbin, and Coats all purpose thread on top. Both are polyester, and work together splendidly. Use a longer stitch length to quilt that you would to piece fabrics together. I sew with a 2.4-2.6 normally, but when I quilt, I like to lengthen my stitch to 3.5 or 4.
Begin quilting on your marked line. No need to rush. Just find the speed that works well for you. You may want to pause every now and then and put a hand under your quilt just to be sure you don’t have any fabric shifting or bunching up underneath. You’ll really get the hang of it the more you practice!
After you’ve quilted your first line work toward the right → and unroll your quilt as you make our way to the outermost lines. You can then flip your quilt around, and work from the center to the other side (keeping your working side on the right).
I’ve completed all the lines in one direction here. I’ll complete the rest on my Facebook LIVE video tonight at 6pm EST. I’m saving my other quilt top to demonstrate hand quilting which is my specialty and real passion! Perhaps you can leave me a comment to let me know what day would be best to do a video on hand quilting. We will be moving ahead with binding our quilts next Friday!
As always, let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below, and I would be so happy to help out in any way I can. You an also use #ojhbeginnerquiltseries on Instagram so I can see your gorgeous work in progress!
See you next week!