Friday, March 13, 2015

Quilt Top

It was time to put the quilt top together.  This is a fun step.  As you go, you get to see the whole quilt come together and get an idea of how the finished piece will look.  It is also scary if you find something you hate.

I placed all the quilt squares on a bed to make sure they were all going the correct way.  I took all the ones in one row in to the sewing room and started sewing them together. Then I did the next row.


Once I got all the strips sewn, I started to sew the strips together. 


It is important to line up the seams.  I pinned the sections together at the seams and worked my way out.  If there was a spot that didn't quite work I would try to pull and pin to make it work.  After sewing each strip together, I ironed the seams open and flat.  There will be places where there are many layers of fabric, so it is important to limit the layers when you can.


After ironing the seams open, it helps to turn the project over and iron the top as well.  This is an important step.   Once you sew all the strips together the quilt top is done.  But you aren't finished.


The next step is to put the quilt together.  Some people hire this next step out.  I completely understand it if you do.  Who wants to ruin all the work you have already done?  But for me, it is part of the process.

I have basted a quilt together on the floor, but it is very hard on my back.  The local library has large tables and they allowed me to put several together and baste the quilt on them.  It took me several hours and I don't think I could have survived doing that on the floor!


First you place the fabric for the back of the quilt wrong side down.  Use your hands to smooth it out and then tape it firmly to the table.  Place the quilt batting on top of the backing.  Press it with your hands.  Then place the quilt top, right side up, and smooth it out.  It helps to have someone to assist with this.  This is the first time I did it by myself.


The object of this exercise is to baste the entire quilt together to keep things from shifting.  You can baste it with thread or use pins.  I use pins.  They make pins with a bend in them to dip down and come up through the three layers.  There are large pins and small pins.  I bought the small ones first and hate them.  Now I have a lot of the large ones, but I ended up having to use the small ones, also.  I will buy more large ones and discard the small ones before the next project!


Try to place the pins every 3 or 4 inches all over the quilt.  If you know how you intend to quilt the project, avoid placing pins where you will be stitching.  My plan is to quilt through all the stitch lines, at the very least, so I left these areas without pins. 

I now have a quilt sandwich and the next step is to spend many hours and days doing the stitching.  Any one who calls and invites me out for a drink or coffee will be my very best friend.  I will need a few breaks in this process!