The next step is to use wadding to add another warm layer to your quilt. There are different weights of wadding -the thicker the warmer – and you need to take the purpose of your quilt into account when choosing your wadding. Most quilts these days are purely decorative and are added to a bed on top of a duvet. This will be incredibly hot so thick wadding may not be what you’re after as you don’t want to spend hours making a gorgeous quilt that’s kicked off your bed because it’s just too warm! I am a fan of using cotton interlining as it’s a natural fabric, washes really well and isn’t too warm. It’s also incredibly easy to sew with and you don’t need a walking foot (special foot to help with the layers of fabric that quilting has) to have great results.
This quilt is going to be used as a decorative quilt to drape over a sofa of ours in the sitting room but it will be also used as a blanket for watching telly on those colder autumn and winter evenings. I don’t want it too thick as I don’t really want it to look like I’ve a duvet on the sofa and in the spring and summer I want it to look gorgeous whilst it’s not being used at all.
Here is my quilt top laid out on the cotton interlining. I like it to be slightly larger than the quilt top to take up any movement whilst I’m sewing. This interlining was 3cms too short in the width so I joined 2 lengths together by overlapping them and then zig zagging over the joins on both sides of the join. This doesn’t make it bumpy and it’s what I do to make the size for double and king-sized quilts. I make sure that the join is in the middle of a square though as when I quilt the fabrics you don’t get a stuffed bumpy line. Now you can also lay these two fabrics on your backing fabric to have three fabrics to quilt. This will mean that your backing will have the same lines as the front. I don’t actually like this so I choose to quilt my top and wadding/interlining and then add the backing afterwards. The backing then is line free which is something I like.
I find that pinning is really important to the fabrics staying put when I quilt them.
I pin the seam of the two squares and the put another 2 to hold each square in place as per the picture. I pin horizontally which is unusual for me but these pins need to be able to be sewn over and left in place until all the quilt top has been sewn. This is to minimise fabric movement and works for me.
Once I have pinned the quilt top I then add a safety pin to the middle of each square to make sure there is no slippage when I pick the quilt up, manoeuvre it in the sewing machine and that, again, it doesn’t move when I sew. I have heard of other ways of doing this which is like all aspects of sewing -there are many ways to do the same thing! I’m happy with this and it doesn’t leave marks on the fabric. If you find you do have marks just push the fibres back in place and the mark/hole will go.
Now you’re ready to start quilting!
Quilting just means ‘sewing 2 or more fabrics together’ and this is the part where you quilt your quilt. The trick is to start in the centre of the work and sew outwards and not just sew long lines from one side to the other. This is to stop fabric movement and does work. See in the photo I have laid a pink line of wool to show where to start sewing with your machine -in the middle and then sew outwards to the edge of your quilt.
The next picture, below, shows where to sew next,
There isn’t a hard and fast rule as to where you sew next you just need to make sure you keep starting from the middle and sewing outwards. I have shown parallel lines in the picture.
Take your quilt to your machine
Keep the majority of the fabric to the left of your machine, lift the presser foot and put the fabric to the right of where you are going to sew under it and carefully roll the fabric as in the picture. This is to help you organise your fabric when you sew so it is easy to move. Some people use bicycle clips to hold the roll together!
To quilt this quilt we are going to ‘stitch in the ditch’ which is a great technique if you are a beginner or you don’t really want to see your stitching. The ‘ditch’ is just the seam where two squares meet and you will sew down this seam.
The picture above shows where you will sew.
You can see if you are careful you won’t see your stitching!
Sew down all the lines you have chosen to start with. I then lay the quilt out again to look at where I’ll go next.
I’ve chosen to then cross these squares and I’ve started in the picture below.
I then will sew parallel lines again as before.
Here you can see a quarter of the quilt will have been quilted (please remember that I have just laid the pink thread on and haven’t sewn it yet!) you would then just move to another part of the quilt and do the same thing until you’ve finished it all.
Once you have sewn all your squares your quilt top is finished and you just need to back your quilt!