Guides and Tutorials


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A Quilt Sandwich
Quilters call the process of assembling the three layers (quilt top, batting, and backing) as making a quilt "sandwich."  [If you are sending your quilt to a professional machine quilter, follow their instructions on how to prepare your quilt. Most machine quilters want you to have the backing pieced and all three layers separate, with the backing and batting up to 6”-8” larger than the quilt top.]
1. Place the quilt backing wrong side up on a large, flat surface. Tape, clip, pin, or otherwise secure the quilt backing to the work surface.
2. Center and smooth the batting in place atop the quilt backing. If desired, baste the batting and backing together with a single, large cross-stitch in the center to prevent the layers from shifting.
3. Center the quilt top right side up on top of the batting. Smooth out any wrinkles.
4. To check that you have not stretched or pulled the quilt top out of alignment during the layering process, place a large square ruler in one corner. The edges of the ruler should be flush with the quilt top’s edges. Take care not to stretch the quilt top out of shape.
5. Baste all the layers together, beginning in the center. Be careful not to shift the layers, and work toward the edges, smoothing fabric as you go. You can ‘pin-baste the quilt sandwich, with pins over the entire surface at 3” to 4”  intervals. OR you can ’spray-baste’, which is often preferred for wall hangings. OR you can ‘thread-baste’, with stitches about 2” long making horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines from the center of the quilt sandwich to the edges making quadrants on the quilt top. Basting stitches should be 3“ to 4” apart over the entire surface of the quilt top. 

Quilt as desired, including the outside edge-stitching around the an applique.

After the quilt sandwich is quilted, trim the backing and batting even with the quilt top edges in preparation for the binding.



Binding -- “Ten Steps to Binding a Quilt”
1. Designer cut enough 3” wide rows from the width of the fabric to go around the quilt edges plus about 8". With diagonal seams, these strips are sewn together to make at least a X” long piece of binding. With the wrong side inside, fold under 1” at one end of the binding strip; press.
2. With wrong sides together, fold the binding in half lengthwise and press the entire strip. 3. Beginning somewhere on the bottom edge, align the binding strip against the right side of the quilt top, starting with the folded end and aligning the binding strip’s raw edges with the quilt sandwich’s raw edges. Be sure to sample your binding before attaching to make sure the binding seams do not fall at the corner folds.
4. Using a 3/8” seam and starting 2” from the folded end, sew through all the layers. Stop sewing 3/8” away from the corner. Turn the quilt 90 degrees or ready for the next edge.
5. Fold the binding strip upward, creating a diagonal fold and finger-press.
6. Holding the diagonal fold in place with your index finger, bring the binding strip down in line with the next edge, making a horizontal fold that aligns the strip with the next raw edge of the quilt.
7. Begin sewing again through all layers, from the top edge to 3/8” from the next corner.
8. Keep repeating until you have sewn around the entire quilt, mitering each corner as you go. When you get back to the starting point, measure the final length of the binding and cut off excess.
9. Hide the raw end of the binding strip inside the folded end and finish sewing across the starting point.
10. Turn the binding over to the back and hand-stitch in place to the backing fabric, making sure to cover the binding stitching line and mitering each corner as you reach it.Bind in your favorite method. Designer used a single strip of double-folded binding (seamed) around the entire quilt, sewn on the front, mitered corners, and turned to the back side where it is hand-sewn in place. 



Alternative to making small facial 
features on critter appliques.
Very wordy but specific information: 
Since facial features (ie. eyes, noses, nostrils, ears, mouths, etc) on raw-edge appliqued critters are so small, they are often challenging to make and align. Our patterns go through an extensive steps in accomplishing this task. The process does align the small features on a critter after the critter applique is edge-stitched to the quilt top. But it can be nerve racking to paint the 'glint in the eye', draw nose marks with Pigma Pens, or even if you are completely painting the small features after the critter is attached to the quilt top. If you screw it up, you can ruined a lot of work -- perhaps the whole quilt top. Though this method is the most obvious route to accomplish these embellishments, I do practice, practice, and did I say practice on scrap fabric first until my confidence can make them perfect.
But an alternative to this method is to make the applique critter first, complete with facial features, before it is attached to the quilt top. If you mess it up at this point, you have only ruined the applique, not the entire quilt top.
You will have to change your steps in making the quilt top. Make the basic fusible web critter applique, make the small features, assemble them together (building the appliques on a Teflon pressing sheet), (or paint the features), then fuse the complete applique (with the paint dried) to the quilt top. 
Why not instruct this alternative method in the first place. A few hitches: 1) you have to use the Teflon pressing sheet -- not too big of a deal though, 2) I like the edge-stitching to be under the facial features. I think you could work-around this by stopping and starting the edge stitching when you come to a facial feature, 3) I like the triple-stitching of the accent lines to be sewn as the critter is attached to the quilt top - the quilt top is the stabilizer. I think a work-around could be to back the applique with some tear-away stabilizer while sewing the accent lines though risky because the appliques can be fragile, and 4) If you do use all fabric facial features, or even part fabric facial features/part painted, I like to edge-stitch the fabric features with very tiny stitches. This is very hard to do if it is not attached to the quilt top for stabilization and to maintain undisturbed stitches (ie. disturbed by tearing away the stabilizer).
So we opted for practice, practice on scrap fabric first. Then do the real thing. It helps to have the small facial feature fabric to be tightly-weaved (smooth), solid dark colored (meaning same color on both sides versus a printed fabric (printed color on one side and whitish on the other -- leaves a whitish fringe around your facial feature and does not look good). Good luck.
 

 

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