10 October 2010

Week 3: Sewing It Together & Basting

Now that the blocks are arranged to your liking, it's time to sew them together. The easiest way to do this is to sew the blocks into rows, and then all of the rows together. Generally, you will use 1/4" seam allowance unless otherwise stipulated.  Start by taking the first two blocks of the top row.
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Place them right sides together with the raw edges matching up.   
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Sew down one side, pinning beforehand (if necessary).
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The result:
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Make sure to keep the blocks in order.  Add the next block.
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Keep adding the blocks in order until the row is complete.  Turn over the row and iron open all seam allowances so that it lies perfectly flat. (Note: some quilters like to press the seams to the darker fabric rather than to press them open as I have done.)
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Repeat to sew the remaining blocks into their rows. You should have ten rows total.
Take the first and second row and place them right sides together.
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Make sure that all seam allowances line up and pin in place. Though it is pictured differently, as recent trick I've learned is to stick the pin through both seams to keep them lined up!
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Sew down the rows along the pinned side.
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Iron the resulting seam. Turn it over and iron over the front as well.  
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Repeat to add on the third row, fourth row, etc. until the entire quilt-top is sewn together.  Iron over the quilt-top using a nice heavy starch spray (this makes basting easier).
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Now it's time to baste the quilt layers together.  If you don't know what basting is, it's like making a quilt sandwich. I like to use a sticky basting spray to "glue" the quilt-top, batting, and back layers together to prevent them from shift. You can also use a fusible batting which uses steam/heat from your iron to help glue the layers together. Whichever you choose, the idea behind basting is to prevent the layers from shifting during the quilting process.
I like to start by laying out a large piece of batting and smoothing it the best I can.  The size of batting isn't really important just as long as it is bigger than the quilt-top.  I am using Fairfield's 80/20 blend of batting here. 
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Ideally, you would spray the back of the quilt-top and carefully lay it down on top of the batting, smoothing away wrinkles as you go (a second person is extremely helpful here), lifting up any wrinkled areas and laying them down again.
I don't have a second person to help,so sometimes I lay the quilt-top down onto the batting (without spraying it), flip the top-half down onto itself, spray the back of the top-half, and lay it back down. Then I would repeat with the bottom-half... Otherwise, it's just too hard to try and lay the whole thing down at once. I hope that makes sense.
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Once everything is perfectly smooth on the top, carefully flip the whole thing over so the other side of batting faces up. Baste the back fabric to this side, smoothing away wrinkles once again, also making sure that the back will provide completely coverage to the quilt-top on the other side. You should be able to see the quilt-top through the batting and use that as a guide. It's probably important to mention that most patterns will give you more than enough back fabric so the back is larger than the quilt-top. (You won't have to line up the back piece to be an exact fit, i.e.)
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Once the back is smooth, turn everything back over so that the quilt-top faces up once again.  (I double check the quilt-top for wrinkles again and smooth them out.)  Insert safety pins throughout. This just doubly-ensures that everything will stay in place for the next step.
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Now it's ready to be quilted, so stay tuned for the final tutorial:

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting a tutorial start to finish on a quilt! maybe I can actually quilt mines. I got it up to this step right here afraid to actually "quilt" it & messing up. But I gotta do it sometime right? This quilt is really beautiful! Karin Marie :)

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  2. Thank you so much for these steps! I have wanted to make a quilt for ages but could never find the right steps to get started. Now I am ready to go fabric shopping and see what I can come up with!

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