Once the quilt top is finished , the backing fabric has to be chosen. Since this project is going to be a baby quilt I want it to be nice and cozy so I wanted it to be flannel. I had this fun underwater fabric in my stash so I used it on the back. The backing fabric needs to be bigger than the quilt top. On a bed sized quilt, the usual advice is add 6″ to each side. Since this is much smaller and I’m quilting it on my home machine, I only added an additional 3″ on each side.
Batting is the next consideration. Once again, the idea is to consider the use. I chose a polyester batting because a baby quilt is usually going to be washed repeatedly and needs to be able to stand up to a lot of use. Polyester gives the finished quilt a bit of poof or loft which I like in a baby quilt too. Batting can either be purchased in a package as I did or on a roll in a fabric store.
Now you have a quilt sandwich. Basting it all together can be a problem. Some people pin it with safety pins. Other people baste it with needle and thread or on their sewing machine. For this small project, I used a spray adhesive. The trick is to lay out the batting, spray it and then roll out the backing fabric over it. You can smooth out the wrinkles as you go. After that, you flip it over, spray the other side of the batting and roll the quilt top over it. Be sure to spray the batting and not the fabric. After the quilting, I will wash the quilt to get the adhesive out of the quilt.
Once the quilt sandwich is assembled it is time to quilt it on the machine. The best way to do this is to use a walking foot as shown in the photo. I know it looks strange but the bottom of the foot has a tread on it and this reduces drag on your project as you sew it. If you don’t have one of these (and they don’t always come standard with a sewing machine) you can use a regular foot but watch out for the fabric bunching up under the foot.
You also want to set your stitch length to a bigger stitch. I set my machine to 3.5 or 4 length. For this quilt, I just stitched in the ditch or along the seam lines. It makes the blocks ‘pop’ out and secures the quilt top and batting and backing together. ** The standard rule is to quilt no more than a handswidth apart.** This prevents the batting from separating and bunching up after repeated washings.
So here is the finished project. This photo shows the binding on but not sewn down to the back. I will do a future post on binding quilts.
Next week, however, will be a video that I filmed about how to put a more complicated quilt block together.