Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Aligning the Quilt Sandwich

I have finished the Mini Quilt and in doing so have also prepared a simple tutorial to show you how I go about aligning a pieced quilt back with the quilt top.  

The back for this quilt was pieced with a horizontal strip of small squares of fabric and was at least three inches larger than the quilt top.  To baste the quilt the backing was taped right side down on a hard surface.  This quilt was small enough to baste on my work table, which sure makes it an easier task than on the floor.  I then used a pink chalk marker to mark the center of each of the edges of the top, bottom, right side and left side of the backing fabric.

This image shows where the backing, batting and quilt top
were marked for both the top and LHS and RHS.

The next step is to place the batting on top of the backing ensuring it is centered.  To take out the guess work out of placement be sure to mark the batting the same as for the backing and match the chalk marks.

Each edge of the quilt top was then also marked with its center point using a pin.  The pin and the chalk marks were matched at each side to ensure that the quilt and the horizontal line of the backing were aligned.

 Guide lines for quilting

The plan for quilting the Mini Quilt was always going to be a squared off spiral, starting in the center of the quilt and spiraling out to the edges of the quilt. To assist in when to turn/pivot the quilt, and rather than marking the quilt top with chalk which will disappear as the quilt is maneuvered,   I used cotton thread and hand stitched diagonal lines using a measuring tape or ruler as a guide (much like an "X" from corner to corner)

I then pin basted the quilt and commenced quilting using a walking foot. The quilt was turned (with needle down) whenever the quilting line intersected with the quilting guidelines.

Remove quilting guidelines carefully so as to not to break any of the stitches, after the quilting is finished.


I really love the squared-off spiral quilting, it is easy and visually very effective on solid fabric.  However, it does involve turning the quilt often and therefore becomes cumbersome quickly with larger quilts. 


The binding fabric is Amy Butler Lotus - Polka Dot in Red.



I hope this answers the often asked question as to how to align the quilt sandwich.  This really doesn't take all that long to do and with practice will quickly become routine.

48 comments:

  1. this looks fantastic ... i love the splendour of the front but i especially love the simplicity of the back. less really is sometimes more.

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  2. perfect timing... I so want to piece my next back...

    I love the squiral quilting... I am so stealing that for the next baby quilt...

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  3. Fabulous tute Rita, and such a darling quilt, I adore the colours in this one. xo

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  4. Thanks for the tut! I've had a couple crooked backs and always just pretended it was a design decision . . .

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  5. Thanks so much for this! It's wonderfully helpful, as always.

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  6. Thanks for making the time to post your tutorial Rita. It is really helpful. Great photos. Had never considered quilting that way. Excellent idea! Looks brilliant.

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  7. Tip: use water soluble thread in the initial "X" basting and you won't have to remove it. It washes away in the first wash.

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  8. Thanks for the great infomation. I Love seeing your blog and I think I will do this the next baby quilt I do but I think it would be to hard to do on a larger quilt. Thanks again

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  9. Thanks for this walk-through. It was an ah-ha! moment for me. Marking the centers! Why didn't I think about that? Much better than guessing.

    With that said, I really want to make a small quilt, but I'm not sure what I'd do with it!

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  10. I love the look of that squared-off spiral. It's simple and so very elegant.

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  11. it looks great I can see where it might be a bit of a problem on a big quilt like you say with the turning involved.
    Karen
    http://karensquilting.com/blog/

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  12. Nice tutorial, allways wanted to try a pieced block. Now I will have more confidence, thanks Sharonj.

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  13. Great little quilt -- and I LOVE the back! Nice tutorial!

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  14. Really helpful information! The quilt is perfect. Thank you for taking the time to share your method.

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  15. You're so clever! I'm about to do my first pieced back and this info is priceless. :)

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  16. Great tutorial! I just wish I had access to it a few days ago when I pinned up the quilt sandwich on my first pieced back! I think it's going to work out ok, though - luck of the Irish!! But I'll know better next time and won't have to rely on luck.. thanks!!

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  17. It makes sense now! Thanks so much for taking the time to explain the centering. :)

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  18. A really nice tutorial, thanks so much I can see where this will be very helpful!! Love the quilt too!

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  19. Clever! Hand stitching the diagonal lines; how smart! I love the tight look of the spiraled quilting, especially on this top. Very nice! :)

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  20. I'm
    realy enjoying reading your blog! Rita.Loved the Family Thing VI to.
    Mum.

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  21. Love the quilting on this one.
    Would you do it on a larger quilt? Or would that be too much fabric to keep turning?

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  22. This is very helpful. I just basted and then unbasted my first proper quilt, because of *issues* related to this. Glad to know where I went wrong...

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  23. Nice job, on the quilting AND on the tutorial. It's so giving of you to take the time to share your methods when you know that so many readers admire and emulate your work !
    I like the new look of your blog page today, too ! Very balanced .

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  24. Thank you for sharing how to line it all up. So simple. I have always been scared of piecing a backing for this reason of not getting it all aligned. Thanks Dianne

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  25. A great how-to Rita! I love the squared, sprial quilting x

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  26. so so so so helpful! thank you!

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  27. This is so helpful, thank you!

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  28. Thank you for sharing! This makes a lot of sense! And I love the look of your quilting, both the front and the back...

    ; )

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  29. It's wonderful and thank you for sharing the tips and tricks. I love the idea of the basting for the guide lines.

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  30. Oh, how I love this quilting! Thank you for the tutorial!

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  31. Thanks, I needed that. I really, really did. Your tutorial is timely for me and made my morning.

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  32. Great tutorial and lovely quilting idea.

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  33. I've been wanting to try a spiral like this. Thanks for the great tips! Beautiful quilt!

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  34. You sure know how to make it look easy. Thanks for the helpful tutorial.

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  35. Thanks for the great tutorial. I've linked your blog / tutorial to mine at http://onestitchoff.blogspot.com/

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  36. Rita where do you find the time? The quilt looks good enough to eat (and I mean totally delicious!!).

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  37. I love your quilts! I have seen one with straight quilting lines before and since then I have been dreaming about giving it a try myself. I am wondering how you do this straight quilting. Do you mark any? I

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  38. Thanks for the instructions!

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  39. What a great tutorial. Thanks for sharing~I'm definitely going to try your hand baste method!

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  40. Thank you so much for the information on how to match a pieced backing! I will be doing a pieced backing for my son this week and have always wondered how this was done to keep the backing straight! Your tutorial was perfect timing!!

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  41. I love it. I wish I could quilt like that. I know I sound like a broken record but I just love all of your quilt designs - modern, fresh, funky - PERFECT

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  42. Love the tutorial Rita! Darling quilt and excellent fabric choices!

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  43. You make it so easy! Aligning the pieced back with the front was something that intimidated me, even though I wanted to try it. Thanks so much.

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  44. You're so clever. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I love the square spiral quilting too, do you think it would work on a rectangle quilt too? I'm about to quilt my first quilt and was wondering if this would work.

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  45. I took a quilting class this past winter, but I decided to piece the back. Since I'm ready to start the quilting, this tutorial will be very helpful. Thanks!

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