Shannon Conoly, asked me “How will you align the backside of your quilt with the front side?” The easy answer is I won’t. This is one of things I don’t obsess over. I don’t worry about this, because my work is designed to be hung against the wall. Therefore, the backside isn’t seen. Just because I don’t obsess, doesn’t mean I don’t make any effort. What follows is my current go to method for layering and basting my work before the quilting begins, along with some of the reasoning behind it.
Preparation is key
Step one, is learning how to create a flat top and backing. If either undulates this is going to show up as puckers, folds and bubbles. You cannot quilt a quilt into submission. Therefore, the flatter the work to begin with the flatter it will be after quilting.
If I plan on washing or rinsing the quilt after it is quilted I use spray starch to give the top and backing a finally pressing. Why? Refer to step one. Also, you don’t want to leave starch in the fabric. It simply isn’t a good archival practice.
I make my backing at least 2″ longer, preferably 4″ longer than any side of the top. Why? I like to quilt all the way to edge of my work. This gives me something to hold on to as I quilt. I cut my batting a similar size, although it can be smaller. It does need to be larger than the top, since the process of quilting causes work to scrunch in and shrink slightly. This is why if making a work that must finish an exact size, it is vital to make it oversized by an inch or two. It also helps with the final squaring up of the work, if that is called for. This covers the standard three layers, top, batting and backing.
Planning is vital
I prefer five layers. I use SpunFab, a fusible, archival web between the top and the batting, as well as the backing and the batting. The advantages of basting with a fusible are two fold. First, it keeps the fabric from distorting. Second, there are no pins or thread to remove as you quilt. When cutting the fusible make sure it is at least one inch less in length than the top for layer 2 and the batting for layer 4. Why? The fusible should not extend beyond the layer of fabric you are ironing. If it does your iron will literally be a hot mess.
The order of the layers, from top down is:
- Fusible web
- Fusible web
I often learn something new, even when I am doing something I have done countless times. The next time I layer my work, I will try layering from the bottom up, BUT stop at the batting. I will layer in this order:
- Fusible web
This way I can fuse the backing to the batting. Always start ironing from the center and work your way out, pressing vs. dragging the iron. Once fused, the three layers can be flipped over so the backing is on the bottom. Add the remaining fusible web layer on top of the batting. Next position the top. Now fuse the top to the batting. You are ready to quilt!
I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.