Sewing The Quilt Top Together

Now we have all our quilt blocks, it’s time to assemble them. You can ‘audition’ the blocks to get the layout that you are happiest with, we alternated our predominant red or blue blocks. You may choose to sew the blocks together without adding sashing and a border but we chose to add them in the same colour as the background to give the blocks space.

Fabric quantity for 2 inch sashing and borders is 0.75m of a wide width or 1m of a narrow width fabric. 

Cut 2.5 inch strips across the width of your fabric, joining the strips to make the longer sashing strips. 

You can cut them as follows or sew the strips and cut them to fit as you go.

Cut six 16.5 x 2.5 inch strips (42 x 6.5cm)

Cut four 52 x 2.5 inch strips (137.2 x 6.5cm)

Cut two 56 x 2.5 inch strips (152.5 x 6.5cm)

Trim all your blocks to 16.5 inch squares. If some are just shy of 16.5 inches you should be able to ease them to fit the sashing. Pin both ends of the sashing, pin the middle and ease to fit. 

If you have a larger discrepancy you may wish to add some extra fabric. 

Lay out your 9 blocks in 3 rows of 3. 

With a ¼ inch (0.6cm) seam allowance, sew the short strips of sashing between the first and second block and again between the second and third block to form the first row. Do the same to create the second row and third row. Press seams away from the blocks.

Sew the rows together using the 52 inch strips, adding one to the top and one on the bottom.  

Press the seams away from the blocks.

Sew the 56 inch strips to either side to finish the quilt top.

Press the seams away from the blocks. 

Give everything a good press.

Prepping The Quilt Ready For Quilting

In this section we show you how to put your quilt together ready for you to quilt at home. You could of course get a long arm quilter to do this for you if you prefer. 

There is more than one way to put your quilt top, batting and backing together but this is the way we like to do it. You will need some space on the floor or over a large table. You can also lay it out on a smaller table and do it in sections, starting from the middle.

The backing fabric should be larger than your quilt top and the batting. The batting should be a little bigger than the quilt top. You can trim it down after quilting. 

You will need:

Batting: 150cm x 150cm

Backing: You will need a wide width cotton/ linen woven fabric 150cm x 150cm. Or if using craft cotton which is only 112cm wide you will 3m and you will have to cut in half and sew the pieces together to get the fall width required. Alternatively, you could use a cotton bed sheet. 

Curved safety pins

Masking tape

To Layer Up Your Quilt

Press your fabric backing and lay it right side down onto the floor or table. Make sure you keep the grainline as straight as you can.

Using masking tape, tape one side to the table. Then tape the opposite side to the table, making sure the fabric is smooth and under a little tension and that the grainline is straight. Tape around the other sides. 

Next, press your batting and lay this on top of the backing, making sure you centre it within the backing. Smooth with your hands from the centre working your way to the edges to ensure everything is smooth. 

Next, press your quilt top and lay this right side up, making sure you centre it within the batting. Smooth with your hands from the centre working your way to the edges to ensure everything is smooth.

Using the curved safety pins, start pinning through all the layers, starting at the centre and working your way to each edge and corner, smoothing out the fabric as you go. Pin every 20cm (hand length) or so.

When you have finished pinning you can remove the tape.

This is now ready for quilting. To store your pinned quilt before quilting, fold the frayed edges into the centre and fold again. This just protects the edges from fraying too much whilst you decide how to quilt it. 

Next month we will give you tips for simple quilting and how to add a mitred binding. Do think about how you would like to quilt it, whether it be by machine or by hand and what thread you might use. The following might help you make some decisions.

For Quilting On A Sewing Machine

Use good quality poly/ cotton or cotton thread. I like a 40wt or 50wt Aurifil Cotton thread but there are loads of others, Mettler, Madeira, Coats etc.

Use a walking foot if you have one, it helps prevent the layers from slipping. Also a quilting bar helps to keep straight lines straight. 

For Quilting By Hand 

Use good quality thread. For prominent stitches you can use sashiko thread. I like to use the Aurifil 12wt Cotton thread, it’s not as prominent as the sashiko thread but it glides easily through the fabric. 

Needles: I like to use an embroidery or Crewel needle size 9 or 10, as I find the quilting needles too short. Or try a chenille needle if you have one. 

Use a thimble, it really does help your hands.

To finish your quilt next month you will need to make some binding which uses approx 0.5m of fabric.