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6 essential tips to finish a quilt you want to use every time

by Claire Haillot

I hope you’ve been enjoying the experience of making a baby quilt that is so quick to make it can be finished in a day. We’re at the last post and you’ll need these 6 essential tips to finish the quilt.

1 Choosing correct size for batting and backing

Since the quit is 45” x 60” you need to have the batting and backing measuring 10″ more in width and height, making both these pieces 55” x 70” for this quilt. This ensures you don’t fuss too much to ensure that all the sides of your quilt are covered.

Adding 10″ to batting and backing is also the minimum requirement should I decide to send the quilt to be quilted by a professional long arm quilter.

I love sewing my leftover fabrics together to make a backing that has its own personality. And I don’t even try to have an intricate design, I just sew the rows of fabric together until I reach the size needed.

Backing of baby quilt

Backing of baby quilt

2 Sandwich your quilt

Once the backing and batting are ready, I baste the quilt using the ODIF 505 Temporary Fabric Adhesive Spray and wait overnight to begin quilting so I’m sure nothing will move.

Ready to sandwich my baby quilt

Ready to sandwich my baby quilt

Ensure that your backing is secured to the table, or floor (I use my pool table).

Add the batting and fold it in the middle.

Use the adhesive spray on one side and reposition the batting on the backing, repeat on the other side.

Position the quilt top in the middle of the batting while ensuring that there are no wrinkles.

Fold the quilt top in the middle and use the adhesive spray (I prefer to spray on the back of the quilt top rather than the batting) and reposition on batting.

Repeat for the other side of the quilt top.

3 Give yourself plenty of space

I loved quilting the piece on the PFAFF creative icon!

I loved quilting the piece on the PFAFF creative icon!

I loved quilting this piece on the creative icon. I had lots of space to maneuver the quilt and the lighting was great especially on the dark navy portion. I also have a sewing table which allows me some extra room on the sides so that the weight of the quilt doesn’t pull away from the needle.

If you don’t have a sewing table, consider lowering your ironing board to your table level and place it on the side of your table, if you have a second board, add it behind your sewing machine.

4 Use a quilting guide on your walking foot

Now for the quilting, I didn’t want to stitch in the ditch because I know this quilt will be washed regularly.

When you stitch in the ditch, there’s a good chance your needle will run through your piecing thread and break it. This means that the seams will start to open and it will become more apparent as you wash the quilt. This results in a premature wear and tear of the quilt.

Using the quilting guide on PFAFF creative icon

Using the quilting guide on PFAFF creative icon

I positioned the quilting guide at ⅜” from the needle and quilted on each side of my dark navy strips. Then I echoed that quilting in the dot fabric, moving the quilting guide to 1’’, 1½’’, 2’’ and so on until I reached the sides of the quilt.

For the middle section, I didn’t run lines from top to bottom, I quilted rectangles instead. I like to quilt my way into a quilt and back out just so that I don’t have to tie my threads in the quilt.

5 Alternate quilting directions

I LOVE that I can position the quilting guide on the right AND left side of the foot on the creative icon. I always quilt back and forth on a quilt so that it’s not stretched in just one direction. If I quilt from top to bottom one line, than the two lines besides that line are quilted from bottom to top. The following lines are quilted from top to bottom and so on.

Quilting in and out on baby quilt

Quilting in and out on baby quilt

6 Straight lines before free-motion quilting

In my February 2018 post, Straight lines before free-motion quilting, I explained how it’s important to secure the quilt top, batting and backing by sewing straight lines all across the quilt. This ‘sets’ the quilt for smooth free motion quilting.

Now that I have secured most of the quilt, I can have some fun with free motion quilting inside the squares.

Here’s the thing though. I haven’t quite figured out how I want to free motion this lovely baby quilt. I am a firm believer that you can’t rush a quilt. I’m wanting more and more to quilt hearts in the blocks, starting with four in the center and then moving outward creating a wreath effect, as in the photo.

Free-motion heart quilting wreath is my idea for the blocks

Free-motion heart quilting wreath is my idea for the blocks

I’m usually pretty well organized, but my creative flow gets interrupted numerous times!

Like most of us with a full-time job and kids to take care of, I have learned to schedule everything in my agenda months in advance to ensure that I meet all of my deadlines. But life is always full of surprises! For me, it has mostly been phone calls from schools asking me to come get my kids, trips to ERs or other types of medical appointments. Last time I was with a doctor, I was asking him so many questions that he asked me if I worked in healthcare… I laughed and answered that I have three active boys!

The PFAFF creative icon makes sewing and quilting such a breeze.

The PFAFF creative icon makes sewing and quilting such a breeze.

I promise to keep on working on the quilt, I’ll post it with the finished design shortly. In the meantime, finish your baby quilt and free motion quilt it to your heart’s content!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: Easy baby quilt pattern you can make in a day (Part 2)

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Meghan Dooley May 21, 2020 - 1:45 pm

This post was so helpful! I am going to try FMQ soon, and the tips about sewing straight lines first, as well as sewing in opposite directions were great things for me to remember!

Judy Facine February 18, 2019 - 7:07 am

I happened on your site doing a search on ways to finish a baby quilt I’m making for my nephew’s first baby. It’s been over 5 years since I’ve worked on a quilt and had some questions about some steps. I’m inspired to continue with some unfinished projects I’ve tucked away for many years. Your pictures and helpful tips are great and I look forward to using this site many times in the near future. Who knows, I may decide I need a new sewing machine as I set up my new sewing area.

Claire Haillot February 18, 2019 - 8:27 am

Thank you Judy!
Happy Quilting 🙂


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