Finishing a quilt top feels great! Such an achievement. And then it’s time to quilt your quilt. But how do you make a quilt sandwich?
In this blog post I’ll show you how I turned my quilt top for the Sugaridoo BERNINA quilt along in to a quilt sandwich using basting spray.
What do you need
First thing you need of course is a quilt top. The size of the QAL quilt top is 70 1/2 x 90 1/2 inch.
The second layer of a quilt sandwich is batting. There are many many different types of batting available. Different materials, wool, cotton, polyester, blends. And those also come in different thickness.
You can choose any batting you like. When you are making your first quilt you might want to visit a quilt shop. There you can often feel different types of batting and learn what type of batting would be best for the result you’re after.
I love a thin 100% cotton batting. At the moment I like to use Warm and White batting. It’s a nice, thin batting of all natural materials. But like I said, try to find a batting you like by doing some research online or asking about different types in a quilt shop.
For size you will need a piece of batting that is a little bit bigger than your quilt top. I would go for 2 inches bigger on all sized. But going even bigger than that is also fine.
For the QAL quilt that is about 74 x 94 inch.
The final layer of the sandwich is the back of your quilt, your backing fabric. For this you can pick a extra wide fabric, which is about 108 inches wide. Then you only need one piece and you’re done.
An other option is to make a cool design for the back of your quilt. You could use left over blocks and incorporate those into your backing. Or you could check out the rainbow sprinkles quilt backing pattern I designed for the QAL quilt.
When you want to use normal quilting cotton you can piece together 44″ wide quilting cotton until you have the size for the backing you need.
For the QAL quilt you will need a backing that is about 78 x 98 inch big. In the video you can see that I’ve used a normal quilting cotton and pieced two pieces of 98 x 44 inch together into a piece of 98 x 88 inch. A little bit too big, but that was fine for me.
In total I used about 4,7m fabric (about 5.1 yard) for the back of my quilt.
Then finally you will need something to baste your quilt together. I love using basting spray, but there are other options.
I’m not an expert in using the following techniques, but if you’re interested you will find lots of tutorials about them on YouTube and Google.
You could bast your quilt using basting stitches. Very large stitches to temporarily keep all the layer of the quilt together.
Using safety pins is also an option that is very common in quilt making.
Or you could use a fusible batting that you can iron on to your quilt top and backing fabric.
But I love to spray baste my quilts. I use Odif 505 spray to glue my top and backing to the batting.
Let’s baste a quilt
Here’s a video on how to baste your quilt. It’s a kind of quilt yoga video actually 😉 Down below you can read the written instructions on basting your quilt.
Start by placing your batting on the floor. (Little side note: I like to work on the floor. It’s a bit of a workout, but I love to have everything layed out flat on the floor. There are methods to baste a quilt on a table, but I haven’t tried those.)
Make sure the batting is laying nice and flat. If you feel like there are many wrinkles, you could give your batting a press.
Then place the backing fabric on top of your batting, with the right side facing up. Now it is time to get your basting spray ready.
Pull back the backing fabric half way. Now you can spray the first part of the batting you see. In this case if sprayed about a quarter of the quilt.
Gently fold back that quarter of the backing fabric and start smoothing out the backing fabric with your hands from the center toward the outer edges.
Then fold back the backing fabric until where it is already glued to the quilt.
Spray the basting spray on the batting that is left and repeat the step of gently placing back the backing fabric, smoothing out all the wrinkles with your hands.
Repeat these steps to spray and secure the other half of the quilt.
If you have folds in the fabric, just pull back the fabric and start smoothing it out again. You can easily pull it loose from the batting, even after you glued it down. That is the nice thing about temporary spray glue.
Now it’s time to put on the quilt top. This is the same process as basting the backing fabric. So flip you backing+batting over, so that the batting side is facing up. Place your quilt top in the center, with the right side facing up.
Repeat the steps of pulling back the top to half way point, spraying a quarter, smoothing out etc. Until you have spray basted the whole top to the batting.
Now your quilt is basted. You made a quilt sandwich! Time to take a little break (or a nap on your freshly basted quilt top) and think about how you are going to quilt your quilt.
What is your favorite method for making a quilt sandwich? Have you ever used spray basting? Let me know in the comments below.
In two weeks I’ll make a start of quilting this quilt with the Bernina Ruler Kit. I’ll talk about it here, on the BERNINA blog. And I’ll show you in a video how to set your machine up for ruler work.
Hope to see you then!
I usually pin my quilt sandwich, using straight pins and Pinmoors. I’ve used the spray, but it likes to gum up my machine and if I don’t use a teflon needle, I can’t sew at all.
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I also like to spray baste. And yes, I use the floor to layout everything (I am 74- it’s great way to stay flexible ). I have tried tables, but usually the table is not large enough. Putting several tables together has issues in that there is a gap where tables come together. I don’t get a smooth fabric over that table gap & get a pucker when machine quilting. Also I have started using the wide – 108” – backing fabric so I don’t have to sew pieces together. Thanks for the nice tutorial.
This method is fine if you are limber and can crawl about the floor. As an creaky, non-limber person I roll my quilt sandwich layers onto soft plumbing insulation tubes and slowly unroll them onto my table, spraying as I go.
How do you prepare the quilt sandwich for the quilt in 3 pieces?
How do you line up the sections for the top, batting and pieced backing if you are making the 3 pieced backing as designed by Irene?
Are you wondering about the aligning process or where to place the sprinkles, because she doesnt show her designed backing in this post? For the later, I would just place it so the red sprinkles are on the back of the red row and so on.