Ready to quilt the Pockets Full of Blessings

It’s always so satisfying when you’ve finished a quilt top — like reaching the finish line of a long race. Today, let’s make a quilt sandwich and use some decorative machine stitches then we’ll be ready to quilt Pockets Full of Blessings wall quilt.

Press the backing fabrics with lots of steam and, if necessary, an ironing product like Dylon Easy Iron. It helps get wrinkles out and tackles tough creases, without adding any residue.

Making a quilt sandwich that’s basted together with a light spray of 505.

A smooth backing will ensure there are no puckers or pulls when machine quilting.

Lay the pressed backing fabric with the wrong side facing up.

Smooth out the quilt batting onto the backing fabric. Use your hand to smooth out the batting as much as possible. There should be a bit extra batting, so it’s okay if the batting isn’t even with the backing. You’ll be trimming it even later in the process.

Place the quilt top right side up and even with the backing and the batting.

At this point, I steam the sandwich a bit, and smooth it out to make sure the batting is as even as I can make it. Once it cools, I spray a bit of 505 Fabric Adhesive to keep the sandwich layers together. I like doing this more than basting, especially on smaller machine quilting projects. I also pin the quilt corners together using safety pins, just to prevent any shifting during the machine quilting process.

Pin the corners with safety pins to prevent any surprise shifting while machine quilting.

Set your machine up for quilting, installing the quilting foot according to the manual’s instructions. The quilting foot ensures the top, middle, and bottom go through the machine feed dogs evenly, eliminating worries about shifting and bunching.

Change the needle to machine embroidery, thread the machine with machine embroidery thread. The needle is very strong and very sharp with a reinforced eye to stand up to the strong rayon threads.

Designed to go through fabric multiple times in close quarters, machine embroidery needles take the frustration out of working with the specialty and decorative threads that add interest and shimmer to projects. Consider using them beyond machine embroidery designs.

To use these specialty threads for quilting, loosing the top tension slightly when you’re threading the machine.

I selected a wavy zigzag stitch to create quilting lines between each pocket unit on the quilt — a fancy way to stitch in the ditch. It wasn’t easy to stay within the lines, but I made peace with the imperfections, deciding they add handcrafted charm.

I found it very helpful to mark the center point groove in my machine’s quilting foot with yellow marking chalk. It kept me focused on keeping the center of the foot within the center of the seam between the pockets.

Again, you’ll be going through any layers of fabric as you quilt. Go slowly, and be careful that the foot doesn’t get stuck in the pockets as you quilt. The only way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to take it slow and enjoy watching the embroidery stitches form.

I also quilted the borders at the edge of the quilt, using the same stitch.

Trim the quilt edges even.

Trim the quilt.

Now, remember those two squares reserved from the charm packs? Fold them corner to corner as you did to create the pockets. Press carefully and sew the open side to the top edges, (see photo below). These are the hanging pockets.

Fold two of the charm squares to create hanging corners, and sew to the top corners of the quilt.

I prefer to sew the binding onto the back of the quilt by hand.

Cut three binding strips to create continuous binding.

Bind the quilt using contributor Elaine Theriault’s excellent method.

I like to finish the binding by hand sewing it to the back, using small Clever Clips to secure the folded binding.

Exciting, right? Now you’ve got a cute and clever Pockets Full of Blessings Wall Quilt.

Come on back tomorrow when we get it ready for Advent, and counting the days until Christmas.

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1 comment

Jackie April 29, 2019 - 8:38 pm
Hi Nancy! I'm preparing for an academic conference where I'll talk about quilting. Is it ok if I cite your first image in this article? I'll properly credit your name in my slides with an link to this article.
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