It figures I’d drag my feet on this post. It’s the worst part of the process for me. Picking the fabric fuels creativity. Sewing it together brings the creativity to life. But the sandwich? Shit that’s the grunt work of the quilt.
But let’s tackle the back first. As you could guess, I’m lazy with it. I rarely plan the back. I rarely buy the fabric for the back when I’m buying the fabric for the front. You want to make sure the back fabric is at least 4 inches larger than your quilt top. My quilt top was a 47 inch square. For this one, I used two yards of some zebra fabric. It was 44 inches wide so I need a little bit more to make it 51 by 51. I ripped the two yards so it was square. Then I ripped off 51 inches. I used the 21 inches along the side. But I was still short! What’s a gal to do? I could have made another trip to the store, but that sucked. So I grabbed my scraps and pieced together some squares until it fit into the little missing spot. Ta Da! a 51 inch square perfect for a back!
Batting… Oh batting… There are tons of choices. Do some internet searching or talk to your favorite quilter and get their opinion. I like mine to be 100% cotton. I haven’t used bamboo yet, but I’ve heard lovely things about it. I also like a very thin piece of batting. No high loft for me. This time I used some Quilters Dream I had left over. You want a piece that will measure 2 inch larger than your top. We’re looking at 49 inches.
Get the back ironed really well and find a blank space. And in my case, one with ventilation. I use spray basting. The first time I learned about this magical stuff, the Quilting Angels started to sing. I didn’t open a window, so I was kind of high too. Those Angels were gorgeous…
I’m always trying to perfect this process. I think because I hate it so much and little puckers fucking kill me, I can’t stick to one way. I’ve spray basted both the top and back. I’ve tried doing it on the batting. I’ve tried spraying just the back and pinning the top. I’ve tried a multiple ways to help eliminate puckers. Here’s my method for this quilt. Pass along any tips.
If you’re lucky, grab a partner. It helps, but isn’t necessary. I like to have someone around to keep me sane. And to help tape. Start out by laying the back on the ground. Put the wrong side facing up. Start on one corner and tape it down. Go to the opposite corner, pull tightly, and put another piece of tape. Repeat process until the entire thing is taped down. Sometimes (most times) the corner pulls out from the tape. Try not to freak out and just re-tape it. Psst… the partner… The goal is to get it really flat. This is your big moment. Get it flat.
Now shake your spray basting and start spraying the top four inches. Are you feeling woozy? Are you feeling really happy? Damn! You didn’t open a window! I roll my batting into a little tube. Start about two inches lower on your back and unroll the batting. Push it down really flat and hard onto the spray basting. And spray another 4 inches. Unroll, flatten, and press it down. Repeat until your batting it all down. Try not to stress too much about a little batting puckering, but also try to get it pretty flat. The more repositioning means the more your back will come up. Which means the less flat it will be. Remember the goal is to get it really flat. I told you I hate this part.
Now we’re doing the same thing with the quilt top. You can spray it. Or you can safety pin it every four inches or so with some quilt safety pins (they’re curved for easy use). For this quilt, I sprayed the back and the batting. And I just pinned the top. I don’t really know why. The spray is expensive and this was a smaller quilt, so I took a chance with the pins. It worked out fine. Or you could spray and pin. I’ve done that too when I was really nutty about puckers. And here’s a secret, I still got a pucker. My methods are a work in progress.
When you’re done, gently remove the tape and roll each side towards the center.
Next up, we quilt!