. . . . . . Enjoying the journey of quilting

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tutorial on How to Sandwich a Quilt

The first thing when planning the quilt back is to make sure that it is wider and longer than the quilt top. Generally I add 3 inches to each side. This will make your quilt backing 6 inches wider and longer than your quilt top. This is an important step! Quilting draws in the edges and by having the quilt back being wider and longer will prevent it from becoming smaller than your quilt top.

The next important step is to make sure pet's and children's needs are met before moving forward.  In this case I have a yipping dog who is not relenting.  Once all are comfortable you can begin the next step.

   Move any furniture out of the way and clean the area. 

Next lay the quilt back on the floor wrong side up.

Using 3 inch wide painters tape begin taping down one edge. Go to the opposite edge and tape the backing so it is taut without stretching your backing. Then finish taping the side edges.

My visitor has returned. See how she plants herself on the quilt backing!

This is how the backing should look after all the edges have been taped down. Notice how smooth but yet no stretching of the fabric.

Next take a lint roller to remove any threads, hairs and lint. This is important since my backing and top has white fabric. I want to eliminate the possibility of  threads, lint and etc.showing through to the front of the quilt.

Trim the threads and use the lint roller to lift them up.

The next step is topping the quilt back with batting. Lately I have been using Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 cotton batting that was developed by Harriet Hargrave. She is one of the first free motion quilting teachers and experts. Her quilts are beautiful.

The batting was full of wrinkles!

If your batting has as many wrinkles as mine did you can put it in your clothes dryer where the heat will remove them. Once removed from the dryer layer it over the quilt back and tape it down on each edge. My batting was larger than the quilt back. You may want to cut it the same size as your quilt back or you can leave it larger as I have, making sure is is well centered on the quilt back.

Take your quilt top and center it over the batting.  I could see the edges of the quilt back through the batting and was able to align the quilt top making sure it was at least 3 inches inside from the quilt back edges. Smooth out with your hand all the wrinkles from the center to the edges. You may have to crawl over the quilt top to reach the center.

I pin baste my quilt sandwiches together, pinning about 4 - 5 inches apart. In the picture above I am using regular medium size pins (size 2). It may take anywhere to 200 to 500 pins depending on the size of your quilt. Quilt stores carry curved safety pins which makes it easier to pin baste. The pin is bent upward and  is easier to bring the pin through to the top.

Begin pinning from the center of  the quilt sandwich working toward the edge. Return to center and pin to the other side. Start a new row one down and repeat as above until you have pinned to the top edge. Do the other side exactly the same until you have pinned to the bottom edge. It took about an hour to pin the whole quilt sandwich.  Using the floor versus a table top reduced the amount of time I usually spend pin basting a quilt. Now I am evermore grateful for my flooring. You may not have that as an option.  Check with your church or community center where they most likely have more floor space or even large size tables.
 A fully pin basted quilt. Once you are finished pin basting remove the tape from the batting and the quilt back. Using scissors cut the batting to the same size as your quilt back if you hadn't previously done so. This eliminates extra weight if you plan to free motion quilt on a domestic machine as I plan to do.

 It's beginning to look like a quilt. Next is to decide which design I am going to use for the quilting. That will be for another day.


  1. Great job, Joanie!!

    1. Thanks so much Leslie. Looking forward to the FLAWS gathering! Miss you and all!

  2. Joanie,
    I love this quilt! The tip about the lint roller is great. I had never thought about doing that at that stage. Perfect idea. I would love to feel the 80/20 in the quilt when you are done. I recently tried the Quilters Dream Puff because I wanted a certain quilt to be a bit fluffier than the normal 100% cotton. I will have to try the 80/20 for sure. We missed you at the guild meeting!!


    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I missed being at the quild meeting as well and seeing you! I used the lint roller at this stage as it seems if I do it prior I pick up threads after cleaning it. It is difficult keeping the quilt from touching the floor due to the size of it.

  3. what a beautiful quilt and big.
    I need to get one of those lint rollers.That is the only bad thing about using light solids. I had to go over my recent quilt to cut of stray threads.


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