Saturday, February 25, 2012

Four's a Charm - Let's make the sandwich

We've finished our Four's a Charm quilt top. Now what? Make a sandwich, of course! No, not a grilled cheese, I'm talking about a quilt sandwich. This is where we layer the quilt backing, batting, and top. And not only do we need to layer these sandwich ingredients, but we need to figure out a way to keep them all together so they won't slip and slide around as we machine quilt.

You've essentially got four options:

1. The standard method is to use quilting safety pin to hold the layers together. This isn't the method that I'm going to use so here's a link to a tutorial for you.

2. You can also spray baste your quilt components together. I love spray baste. It's easy to use and you don't have to pull out pins as you machine quilt. If you're planning to spray baste, here's a tutorial for you. I also suggest using 505 Spray and Fix. I've heard bad things about other brands. And do your lungs a favor - spray outside or in a well ventilated area. I use an old sheet as a drop cloth to prevent getting gluey icky stuff all over my floor.

3. Similar to the spray baste method is fusible batting. Instead of spraying the batting with glue, it's already impregnated (!?!) with a glue that's activated when ironed. Simply put your layers together and iron. While I've never used this product myself, I think it sounds awesome. Hobbs makes an 80% cotton/20% polyester version that comes in a crib size that would work great for the Four's a Charm quilt. Another option is Fusi-Boo fusible bamboo batting by Fairfield. The crib size is too small for our project so you would need to purchase the 60" square package if you're planning to use this product. Here's an online video tutorial if you're planning to use fusible batting. If you do, I'd love to hear what you think and which brand you chose.

4. The fourth possible basting choice is a new product called Pinmoor. I'll be using these to baste my Four's a Charm quilt. I love these little small silicone cylinders. Instead of using safety pins to baste your quilt, you just use regular pins and then top the sharp end off with a Pinmoor.

    You can also hand baste your quilt with thread. This is super old school but way to go if you choose this route!

    Before we start basting and layering our sandwich, we need to deal with any wrinkles. Grab your quilt batting and a damp (clean) kitchen towel and throw them in the dryer for about 20  minutes, which remove any wrinkles. While your batting is in the dryer, take a couple minutes to iron out any major wrinkles in you quilt backing and quilt top.

    If you're pin basting this quilt like I am, you're going to need one more thing - tape. As far as I'm concerned, every sewist should have a roll of 3M blue painter's tape in their sewing and quilting tool kit. I personally prefer the 3M brand because the generic versions tend to be less tacky (in my humble opinion).

    Okay, let's start basting.

    Place your quilt top on top of your quilt batting and cut the batting so that it's approximately 1 1/2" to 2" beyond the edge of the quilt top on all four sides. Set the batting and top aside.

    Lay your quilt backing face down on the (clean!) floor and use the painter's tape to secure the edges.

    Place the batting on top of the taped-down backing.

    Now layer the quilt top on top of the batting.

    Starting in the center, place pins through all three layers and then back up. Top with a Pinmoor (if that's what you're using).

    Continue working from the center, radiating out, placing a pin every 3" - 4". Pin all the way out to the outer edges.

    Ack! I ran out of Pinmoors. You'll put your pins closer together.
    When you're done, remove the tape strips. You're ready to start quilting.

     We'll cover machine quilting in my next post. In the meantime, consider how you plan to quilt your Four's a Charm. If you plan to do easy, straight line quilting, you'll need a walking/even feed foot.

    If you plan to do free motion (also known as stippling), you're going to need some type of darning foot.

    You'll also need quilting gloves - I have Atlas gloves, although I prefer Machingers.

    No matter which method  you use, you will be very happy indeed to have an extension table for your sewing machine. Sorry, but nobody ever said quilting was a cheap hobby.

    In the next post I'll walk you through free motion quilting. Stay tuned. And please leave me a comment if you have any questions.

    Happy sewing!

    Link to Four's a Charm Page

    1 comment:

    1. No questions so far, but when this post came up in my feed I was so surprised since the small photo looked so much like a quilt I am working on for a niece. After reading this they are not exactly the same, but I'd have to say great minds think alike :) Great explanation for making the quilt sandwich and I'll pass on the post to my sister who's a beginning quilter. Never heard of Pinmoor so thanks and cheers.