CHAPTER 5: FINISHING THE QUILT
1- Sew borders to quilt, centering each strip on the quilt edge. Border strips should extend equal amounts on both ends. Stitching must stop 1/4” from each end. Backstitch to secure.
2- With wrong side up, gently smooth the left border over the right one. Draw a diagonal line from the inner seam to the point where outer edges cross.
3- Fold quilt, right sides together, until
adjacent border edges are lined up with each other. Stitch along diagonal line, stitching from outer edge to inner seam. Do not catch original border seams.
4- check corner shape--should form a 90 degree corner. Trim seams to 1/2”. Press open.
You’ll need a large, flat surface. Mark the center of this surface and the center of your quilt backing. Matching these centers, lay the quilt backing, wrong side up, on the table.. Center the batting on top of the backing. Center the quilt top, right side up, on the batting.
To be sure there are no folds or wrinkles, on the bottom, pull gentley on each of the four sides of the backing fabric. Repeat this every time you reposition the quilt during the basting process.
Starting at the center and working out, pin through all layers, using 1” long pins every 3-4”. Avoid placing any pin
Directly on a line to be quilted.
When the entire area on top of the table has been basted,
carefully slide the quilt so an unbiased area is now on top. Complete until entire quilt is basted.
Check the underside for pleats and wrinkles. You may want to rebaste the area.
Machine quilting is possible today because of the walking foot (or even feed foot) and transparent thread. Here are some hints:
1-When quilting over two or more colors of fabric, use a clear thread on the top. You’ll need to loosen the top tension to get a perfect stitch. For the bobbin, choose a good sewing thread to match the backing fabric.
2-With a walking foot, you will not have to push or pull the quilt through the machine. Be
careful, however, that the weight of the quilt does not create a drag.
3- Where to quilt is personal. Most people pick out specific seam lines and following them. This is easywhen only quilting blocks. Your movement is limited, though, when machine qquilting a large item. You’ll need to choose your quilting lines with this in mind. There are attachments which are available to follow a free movement. Of the fabric while stitching. You may want to experiment.
4-For machine quilting use a longer stitch-6 to 8 stitches per inch-it
feeds through easier and has a puffier look. If you are using a clear
thread on top, loosen your upper tension to prevent the thread from
The trick to quilting the full top is to learn how to handle the
bulk. Fid 1. Roll each side tightly toward the center quilting line.
A few pins help to keep these two rolls together. Fold as shown to
make a manegable bundle to put in your lap. Using a walking foot
and a long machine stitch, sew the entire length of this quilting line.
Reroll the quilt to the next area and stitch. Repeat until quilt is complete.
All of the various layouts may be used when hand quilting
1- Stop the quilting 1/2” from all edges. This provides the necessary room to machine stitch two top pieces together.
2- Construct finished blocks using the piecing diagrams for the unquilted top. Use the same construction as ”Machine Method” except do not catch any backing or batting when joining blocks and lattice.
3- Quilt seams of block and latytice joinings.
4- A thimble is necessary. Try different kinds until you find one you can use.
5- The stitch itself requires practice: Start with a tiny knot. Enter the fabric about one inch from the first quilting stitch. Snap the thread just hard enough to pull the knot through the top layer, catching it in the batting.
6- With your free hand underneath the quilt, insert the needle straight down. As soon as your finger feels the point , “rock” the needle down, at the same time pushing the point up. Repeat these two motions,
using your thumb (upper hand) to push the fabric over the point. To end a thread, take one or two tiny backstitches, then come out about one inch away and cut the thread short, leaving a one inch tail end
anchored in the batting.
Any marking of quilt lines should be done just before basting. Use a washable pen or fine chalk marker. (Pencel marks do not wash out) In general, the less quilting done the puffier your quilt will look.
Extensive quilting will flatten an area.
BLOCK BY BLOCK MACHINE QUILTING
This method is recommended for “blocks with lattice” only.
1- Center pieced block on batting and backing. Pin baste.
2- Machine quilt as desired.
3- Add lattice strips. Place first strip on block, right sides
together. Stitch 1/4” seam through all layers, including batting and backing.
4- Sew second strip on opposite edge.
5- Sew second block to second lattice strip. Sew third lattice strip to second block.
6- Repeat until all rows are complete.
7- On back side: Trim batting so one side overlaps the other by 1/4”.
Then pull batting back so edges butt inside of
overlap. This prevents the batting from separating after use.
8- Turn one edge back under and handstitch in place
9-Sew blocks and lattice strips to fit across rows..
10-Place strip on first row of blocks, right sides together, matching small blocks to lattice strips. Stitch through all layers.
11-Continue to add lattice and quilted rows until block portion of quilt is complete.
12-Sew border backing, right sides together, to the quilt backing. Sew sides first, then the ends. Do not stitch through the basting and top squares.
13-Attach the batting pieces to the batting in the quilted blocks using a loose overcast stitch.
14-Working on the right side, pin and sew side pieces of first border. Stitch through all layers of the quilt. Turn side pieces right side up. Attach end pieces.
15-Continue adding borders in this manner.
BINDING STRAIGHT EDGES
Binding the edges is the last step in creating a quilt. The quickest way is to turn the raw edge of the outer border to the back and stitch it in place. TRo do this the outer border must be cut 1 3/4” wider than the finished width allowing 1 1/2” for turnback.
1- With right side up, trim off outside batting and backing so that all edges are even with the outer border edge.
2- With back sides of quilt up, trim 1” off backing and batting (do not cut off any of the border fabric.
3- Turn 1 1/2” of the borderto the back of thee quilt. You will be turning back 1/2” of the batting/backing also. This is necessary to to retain a plumb binding when quilt is used. Turn under 3/4” of raw edge, pin and machine stitch.
4- For easy mitered corners; on wrong side of border fabric only and using a marking square mark a 1 1/2” square.
5-Right sides togethermatch the two lines. Stitch from fold line for 3/4”, backstitching both ends. Trim corner to a 1/2” seam. Turn to right side. The corner will fall nearly in place, leaving 3/4” free to turn under
BINDING CURVED OR SHAPED EDGES
(This method is very popular for straight edges, too.)
Step 1- Trim backing and batting even with quilt top.
Step 2- Cut bias strips 2 1/4” wide. Sew end to end.
Step 3- Fold strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press.
Step 4- Pinning both edges of sterip to top of quilt, stitch strip to quilt using 3/8” seam. Begin along a side, not a corner. Leave a 6” piece of the strip unstitched. Pin every 6” along long curved edges to be sure bias is not being stretched. Pin at corners.
BINDING INSIDE CORNERS
Stitch 3/8” into corner, lift presser foot to pivit, continue. When bias is turned to back, make a tiny fold with the excess.
BINDING OUTSIDE CORNERS
Stop stitching 3/8” before corner, backstitch 1 to 2 stitches, cut threads. Lift presser foot and fold bias strip as shown. Fold should be even with raw edge. Begin stitching again at the fold. When turning to the back, bias will form a neatly mitered corner.
Turn bias to back of quilt. Hand-stitch folded edge to quilt, covering machine stitching. Use same stitch as for hand stitching.
There are several books available with interesting treatments for the edges of quilts. Two of my favorite echniques for curved and shaped edges are:
1- Appliqueing the edge to a straight border. Just cut borders wide enough to go under the innermost dip in the quilt’s edge. Pin and appl;ique.
2- Applying a facing. I’ve done this to the Grandmother’s Flower Garden shown in this book (see the color section). I like to preserve the hexagon shapes because I think it’s an interesting edge. But binding that particular quilt is (to me) a hateful, masochistic process! So, I simply reproduce the entire outer ring of hexagons and stitch them, right sides together along the outer edge of the quilt. Turn this to the back, press and appliqué in place.