This month we are sewing our blocks together and assembling the quilt top! It’s getting closer and closer to the good part…the quilting! 🙂
Check your layout
Before you start sewing your blocks together, it’s a good idea to lay them out in the order you will sew them. This gives you a chance to be sure you are happy with your layout.
Place your blocks together as they would be in the quilt. Using a design wall is preferred because you can stand back from a vertical surface and see the quilt as a whole. Once again, google “quilting design wall” for lots of ideas on how to create a design wall that will work for your sewing space.
This is my design wall. I used insulating panels, from the home improvement store. We (and when I say “we” I mean my wonderful husband) attached them to my wall and I covered them with cotton batting. (You can see the branding of the panels through the batting). Blocks stick easily to the batting without pins. If I have a partial quilt top, that is heavier than single blocks, a couple pins go easily into the insulating panel.
This is my friend Judy’s design wall. Her talented husband, Ben, made a frame and extended it beyond the existing wall. So Clever!
Not only did it give her more design wall space, it also added to her storage space. Her shelf tucked in nicely behind the design wall.
Alternatives to a design wall are a design floor (move the furniture back). Design drapes (this will require pinning). Or a design bed (this is what I use when I am sewing in a hotel room when I travel). Basically, anywhere that is big enough for you to see the entire quilt together.
You’ll want to look for things that catch the eye. Like too much of one color or fabric in one area. Too much, too close together. The same fabrics touching each other. I take a couple days of looking at the quilt on the design wall. You can see more at different times of day (change in lighting) and from different angles as you walk by. Ask quilty friends to give their opinions too.
Ready to Sew
With the quilt laid out, it is an easy task to sew the blocks together. I like to sew the blocks into rows. And then sew the rows together. To make it easy to align the corners of the blocks as you sew, press the seams so that they will nest with the subsequent row. I press the odd rows’ seam allowances to the right and the even rows’ seam allowances to the left.
Once my top was together, I chose to add a couple of borders to my quilt to make it a bit larger. I auditioned a few choices and settled on a narrow striped border and a wider print border.
When sewing borders to a large quilt top it helps to keep all the fabric up on your sewing table. I love all the space I have to the left and back of my machine.
Checking in with Pam
Pam got her blocks all sewn together and her quilt is looking fabulous. I love the stars. This is a fabulous Quilt of Valor! She also opted for 2 borders. One narrow border and a wider one.
Prepare the backing
This quilt was a real stash buster for me! All of the fabrics came from my stash. I even had a piece large enough for the backing. The colors were perfect and I only had to sew one seam.
Remember, sewing together leftovers from the piecing is a great way to use up scraps and create a unique backing.
When making the back for your quilt. measure, measure, measure! And try if possible to make the seams horizontal (parallel with your frame poles). This makes loading and rolling the backing on the belly bar a breeze! Be sure to make the back larger than the quilt top!
When this is done we are ready to QUILT!
Share your progress using the #handiquilterqal on social media. Can’t wait to see your tops!
Quilt Every Day.
by Mary Beth Krapil