Sunday, March 09, 2014

Crazy Quilt progress - Sandwiching by hand and finishing.

This is a follow up to the Crazy quilt tutorial I did quite some time ago.  People have been asking me how to sandwich a quilt together.  Please understand, dear viewers and interwebs, that I am doing a LOT of this by hand, and doing things by hand (while also holding down two jobs) takes time, and patience.

You can do this by machine but there are some things you have to remember when doing so, which i will explain further along in this pictorial tutorial.

I wanted a slightly thinner quilt this time around, so decided against putting batting in between the layers.  If you want a thick cushy quilt, by all means, feel free to add a layer of batting to yours.

There is no "right" or "wrong" way to quilt per se.....everyone has different techniques they use.  Some pros will give ideas on how to improve your quilt, but as long as you come out with a quilt that you are happy with in the end, that doesn't come apart at the seams, that is all that really matters.

In the first picture below, the first thing you want to do is make sure you have a base fabric that is as big as your quilt top  (the stripey fabric to the left is my bottom fabric).  If you are using batting, also make sure that its at least as big as your quilt top, or maybe slightly larger than your quilt top so you can square it up a bit later.  Be sure to have the layers facing the right sides out. I'm using a pre-purchased bed sheet for my bottom fabric.  I know some professional quilters will say this might be not the best idea because bed sheets can be quite stiff, and hard to sew through, but I'm using one because it will be the size I want in the end.

As you can see, there is some overlap between the quilt top and the edge of the bottom fabric.  I plan on adding more to square it up to the edge of the bottom fabric a bit later.  I'm working on this one from the middle of the quilt and going outwards.  This is different from what most people do, but I am also limited to space in terms of squaring up my projects, so this will work best for me.  For those of you out there who have a decent amount of floor space, I recommend finish your quilt top to the size you want, square it up (using rulers to make sure your quilt is straightened out, and your corners are 90 degrees)

Once you have your top squared up so you don't have uneven edges, you will want to centre your quilt top (and batting) on your bottom fabric, and safety pin the heck out of your quilt all over at about 5-10 inches apart depending on how secure you want it, as can be seen in the picture below.  This will stop your fabric from shifting all over the place and prevent bunching while you are sewing it.

Next, if you are hand sewing, or doing embroidery, or adding embellishments, A quilting hoop (also known as an embroidery hoop) is going to be your lifesaver.  I would recommend starting in the middle of your quilt and working your way outwards.  That way as you are quilting (sewing the layers together), it will prevent bottom fabric bunching, and make it easier for you to make sure your not sewing something you shouldn't be.

You can also use large quilting frames if you have the space (and funds) to support your quilt to work on it.

In this photo, you can see the bottom fabric, the hoop, and all the previous stitches I've already made in my quilt.  Make sure when you are doing your stitching, that you knot your thread really well.  You don't want loose threads or stitches coming undone from wear and tear when you start using your quilt.

When setting up your hoop, make sure all the layers are tight in the hoop and flattened, but not so tight you will rip your fabric.

In this next photo below, you can see all the different kinds of stitches and embellishments I've used.  If you want to stick to one type of stitch, that's ok.  If you want to add buttons, beads, little sewable trinkets, embroidered patches, that's ok too.  There's no right or wrong way to make a crazy quilt, just so long as you have enough stitching to hold all your layers together.

To learn how to do embroidery stitches, I highly recommend this website. Sarah's Hand Embroidery Tutorials.  It's a site I've been using to figure out how to do some of my stitches.  

Once the hand sewing section of my quilt is done, I do plan on going over it in certain sections with my sewing machine and doing even more stitching.  This way it will make sure both layers are secured.  The tricky thing is with this quilt, is I do not have a "long arm" quilting machine.  I have a small-ish home sewing machine.  I have sewn some pretty large quilts with a small machine, but its tricky.  The key is to make sure you don't get bunching underneath. I have my own techniques for doing so, and some quilters think I'm crazy for doing the sandwiching on a smaller machine, but I have found ways that work for me.


For those who want to take a look at machine quilting, I am going to refer you to one of my favorite tutorial sites. The Free Motion Quilting Project.  She demonstrates sewing techniques on her machine with videos, and shows how to go over different quilting stitch patterns.

I have also found for you all a tutorial on how to sew large quilts on a standard sized machine (about the same size as the one i have, just a different model and make.)

As for finishing your quilt, I am going to refer you to a good binding tutorial that the Bronze Wombat recommended I follow (and have been referring to it since). This will show you how to put a final binding on your quilt.  Please view the video below for the binding tutorial.

That's all for now. Happy Quilting!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Excellent tutorial......and I recognise the odd fabric or two!

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