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Help me please - I'm having a quilt crisis!

(24 Posts)
Washersaurus Sat 06-Jun-09 23:00:04

So....I have finally finished my first ever quilt top. I have the wadding and some fabric that I can use as a backing, but am not sure what is the best way to attach them (by best I suppose I mean easiest and most durable).

The quilt started as an experiment using leftovers and is now destined to go on DS1's bed as he seems quite taken with it.

If someone can give me a step by step idiot's guide to refer to I would be most grateful.

It is all slightly wonky etc as I'm not very accurate with my cutting <ahem> or sewing, but I think it looks ok. Maybe I'll post a pic if I feel brave enough grin

peanutpie Sat 06-Jun-09 23:04:51

How exciting! What it's like?
I can't help with what to do next but I'd love to see a picture.

Washersaurus Sat 06-Jun-09 23:10:39

I'm just proud to have finished it finally grin.

I'm a bit of a perfectionist but unfortunately my skills don't quite match my standards and projects often get put away for a while before I can bear to go back to them.

I will try and get a pic of it as long as you promise to overlook the wonky bits etc.

CMOTdibbler Sat 06-Jun-09 23:11:37

The easiest way is to cut a rectangle of calico to the nearest straight dimensions of what you have (ie measure each edge, then make the long sides of your calico the average of the long sides of the quilt and the short the average of the short).

Pin top, wadding and calico together, starting from the middle and angling out.

Then stitch right through all three layers at intersections of your fabrics to effectively knot them together - I stab from the top, pull through, sew myself in on the bottom, then stab up, over and back twice, then sew off.

Once firmly attached, pin all round the edge, and stretch/gather up slightly the top to fit the calico. Sew through just inside the seam allowance line.

Then cut the backing to the same size as the calico, pin right sides together, and sew round 3 1/2 sides on the seam allowance. Clip the corners, turn right side out, then stitch the last bit

Washersaurus Sat 06-Jun-09 23:18:14

I might have to read all that again tomorrow CMOT - its getting a bit late for my brain!

Would I have to use binding on it that way, or can I use a larger back piece to bring over to the front?

dizzyday07 Sat 06-Jun-09 23:38:48

There are 2 ways that I make quilts.

The easiest way is to lay your wadding down first. Put on top of that your quilt top (the patched bit) right side up. On top of that place your backing wrond side up (so the right sides of the front and back are together). Pin then sew around all 4 sides leaving a gap. Trim any excess fabric, wadding etc, clip corners, turn through and slip stitch opening closed. You can then "quilt" it however you like.

The secind way is to lay your backing down first - wrong side up. Place your wadding on top then your front on top of that right side up. You then should pin all 3 layers together (use LOADS). Then quilt it. Either then use a seperate binding or if you have enough you can wrap the backing over to the front, turn in the raw edge and stitch.

CMOTdibbler Sun 07-Jun-09 14:13:26

The way I describe doesn't use a binding. It isn't the neatest edge in the world, but is quick and easy.

I like to pipe the edge of my quilts, which is a fiddle, but looks lovely.

If you want some hands on help, you'd be very welcome to come over (or whatever) and I can show you how my quilts end up and help you pin etc

Washersaurus Sun 07-Jun-09 22:37:48

Oooh thats very kind of you CMOT - I have taken the night off sewing tonight as I'm petrified of ruining it! I'm going to have another look at it tomorrow night I think.

I think I do have a piping foot on my machine maybe I could have a practice on some scraps and see what happens.

It isn't the best quilt in the world but it is my first and I am determined to finish it grin. I keep looking at it and wondering if I need to add another border or something to make it a bit bigger.

I still haven't got a photo of it, will try and add one to my profile tomorrow.

meakin Sun 07-Jun-09 22:53:33

[] If you do want to bind the edges this works well

meakin Sun 07-Jun-09 22:54:11


meakin Sun 07-Jun-09 22:55:15

bran Sun 07-Jun-09 23:01:12

Are you planning to machine quilt it, or do it by hand? Machine quilting is obviously much quicker but you have to use a walking foot otherwise the layers will shift around while you quilt and will get all rucked up.

I usually put it together for machine quilting by putting the backing on the floor wrong side up and using masking tape at the edges to keep it in place. You'll need a hard floor as carpet is too soft. Then I put the wadding on and the quilt top on right side up. Then I pin it with quilt safety pins (they are large and curved, a bit like old-fashioned nappy pins). I usually quilt it by following the line of the patchwork if it's quite blocky. It's easier to handle in the sewing machine if you roll and and secure the roll with bicycle clips.

Washersaurus Sun 07-Jun-09 23:07:37


I have a fancy retro pfaff machine that is supposed to be good for sewing layers of fabric, so I was planning to use that and quilt following the seams. I hope it doesn't end up looking cack.

OMG its 11pm, I had better go up to bed, DH will be thinking I got lost on my way up!

bran Sun 07-Jun-09 23:11:59

Try quilting a test piece with two layers of fabric and the wadding in the middle. It may be that your machine has a built in grip on fabric. On most machines the fabric is pulled through by the feed dogs underneath, a walking foot has a bit that comes down and presses against the feed dogs when they are moving so that the whole layer moves evenly. But if your machine is designed to deal with layers of fabric then you may not need a walking foot.

Washersaurus Sun 07-Jun-09 23:28:56

The pfaff has an extra bit <technical> on the back that supposedly feeds the fabric through without shifting the layers.

I love my machine, it is old but so easy to use compared to my crappy old Toyota one.

Washersaurus Mon 08-Jun-09 09:37:43

I have added a photo of the quilt so far. Please feel free to offer advice on how I could improve it grin. It is far from perfect, but never mind.

meakin Mon 08-Jun-09 13:10:39

That looks great. I'd bind it with the red or blue. Do you know about this group?

Bettymum Mon 08-Jun-09 13:16:19

Don't have any technical advice as whilst I like the piecing bit I have always got my mum to do the finishing for me (with nice binding round the edges), but just wanted to say your quilt looks beautiful! If it looks this good now it will look even better once it's quilted.

CMOTdibbler Mon 08-Jun-09 13:57:04

Its lovely smile I would bind it too, and quilt in the ditch.

I've never had a machine that behaved for machine quilting, and as I find quilting by hand soothing I do it that way. But then I'm an old school english pieced over paper kind of gal - mostly as I sew when I'm travelling for work and it's portable

dizzyday07 Mon 08-Jun-09 23:48:12

WOW - For a first quilt it's marvelous

Washersaurus Tue 09-Jun-09 15:07:56

Oh you are all too kind blush - it obviously looks better in the photo than RL!

I am still trying to find time to concentrate on quilting it etc as I have an interview to prepare for tomorrow (not sure which is more scary tbh)

twoluvlykids Tue 09-Jun-09 15:11:07

It's lovely, well done, I've been making "stuff" for years but never attempted a quilt yet!

You should be proud of your efforts!!!

Washersaurus Fri 12-Jun-09 19:54:31

Oh its not going so well sad; I have been having problems as some of the red fabric is really cheap and keeps fraying - a couple of my seams came apart a tiny bit in places (boo hiss). What is the best 'patch up' method if it happens again?

I have 'bagged' the quilt now though, I went with dizzyday's simpler method. Am apprehensive (to say the least) about the quilting part. How do I sew it accurately along the seam - I'm not that accurate. What colour thread should I use; do I match it to the front or back?

Any advice on stitch length, needles etc..?

FenLondon Sat 13-Jun-09 10:55:54

The quilt looks super - well done!
Once you have the quilting done the whole top will stabilise, so don't panic about the seams. Maybe turn your "bag" wrong side out again and do a spot of hand stitching on the seams that are causing problems just to get them solid before you quilt.
If you're machine quilting remember there's no reason not to have a colour that matches the top as your needle thread and something that matches the back in your bobbin. One thing you should do before starting is make yourself a sample quilt sandwich that has the same backing fabric and wadding and a some of the top fabrics - play around with the machine tension to make sure that you don't get the bobbin thread showing on the top and vice versa. Don't use the auto tension! I use 2-2.5mm stitch length for quilting. No need for a special needle, but I'd use a fresh one.
Start your quilting in the middle of the quilt - this will give you chance to even out any excess fabric between the middle and edges. When I start a line of quilting I like to hand wind the needle down and about half way back up and pull the bobbin thread to the top - this stops it getting caught and making a mess of your back. It also means you can "bury" the needle and bobbin thread together! Thread burying is the one chore I hate, but one thing that makes it easier is to thread a hand needle so you've a loop of thread. You insert the needle at the base of your thread tails, run it through the wadding about an inch and then catch the thread tails in the loop- pull them through, trim them and hey presto. MUCH quicker than threading each tail into a needle.
Sorry, that's all a ramble - good luck!

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