Sorry I have been absent for a few days, but have been quilting and then sick...bummer. Yes, I have actually been quilting...and finished a quilt for our little Lilly.
While I was making Lilly's quilt, I got to thinking about tips for making a quilt sandwich. For those of you new to quilting...the quilt sandwich is the finished quilt top with the batting in the middle and the backing. All of this gets basted together for quilting. This may seem like a very tedious step to some (and I know sometimes it seems very tedious to me), but putting the quilt sandwich together properly is very important in the overall process of quilting. Thinking back to some of the very puckered or saggy quilts I have seen in my time...not a pretty sight! If they had only taken the time to put the quilt sandwich together properly, those puckers and sags could have been avoided.
Example of a very puckered quilt back!!!
So I took some photos when I was basting the baby quilt for Lilly and hope this helps avoid those puckers and sags!
First, and probably most important is to lay your quilt back down (right side down), smooth it out (make sure to press first), and then tape it down tightly. I tend to use the seamstress (sewing) boards for laying out my quilt sandwich. These are made out of thick cardboard (more details on why in a minute) and prevent damage to whatever other surface (such as a table) they are covering. Purchase these at any JoAnns, Hancocks, Hobby Lobby or other craft or sewing store...they are about $10 each. (Tip: to lay out a queen size quilt, you will need 2 boards).
I use painters tape (green or blue) to tightly tape the back down to the board. Painters tape can be purchased at Wal-Mart, Lowes, Home Depot or anywhere that sells paint. I use painters tape because it won't damage the surface, or take the paper off of the cardboard. In fact, I use painters tape for lots of things in my sewing room!! It doesn't leave any sticky residue, even if it stays on for a long time.
Next, lay out the batting on top of the quilt back. Make sure to smooth the batting out from the middle to the sides. Get the batting as smooth as possible...this is very important! (Tip: unroll the batting and lay it out to "rest" for a day or so before making the quilt sandwich. This will get a lot of the crinkles and wrinkles out of it for easier smoothing. The batting can also be put in the dryer for a few minutes to smooth out the wrinkles a bit.)
When you cut the batting, be sure to leave 2-4 inches more than the size of the quilt top and back. As the quilt is quilted the batting will shrink up some, so you want plenty of extra.
Make sure pins are at least a handwidth apart or less. Some quilters use the three finger rule: basting pins or stiches must be no more than 3 fingers apart.
When you are done basting, remove the tape from the quilt back and go quilt! Remember to remove the basting pins as you quilt. If hand quilting, the basting thread can remain in the quilt until you are finished quilting, or it can be snipped as you quilt.
I hope these instructions for the quilt sandwich have helped you! Happy Quilting!!