I recently found a video online that showed a great technique on how to prepare your quilt for machine stitching. It shows how to layer your backing, batting and quilt top all together so there are no wrinkles in the quilt as you begin stitching. Check it out.
I had already pieced my quilt together when I found this video, so I did not use the technique shown. I think it’s pretty smart though and will probably use it (or something similar to it) on the next quilt I make.
The steps I took in layering my quilt together were as follows:
1: MOST IMPORTANT, pre-wash and dry all your fabric before using, including all the fabrics used within your quilt top. Make sure the backing is pre-washed as well, as some fabrics can shrink up to 3″ in the wash! You do NOT pre-wash the batting in most cases (especially if using fusible batting because all the adhesive will come off in the wash and you’ll be out of luck).
2: Iron everything flat
3: Lay out your batting on a flat surface (I used the floor)
4: Place quilt top over the batting, using weights at the corners to make sure it stays in place as you straighten everything out.
5: Pin the quilt top and batting together with straight pins
6: Pick up the quilt top and batting layer and lay down your backing fabric. Use weights in the corners to make sure it stays flat when you lay the quilt top over it. (I’ve seen some people use duct-tape and physically tape the fabric down. I personally have not used this method, but imagine it would work well).
7: Once all layers are flat take out one straight pin at a time and replace it with a safety pin. Safety pins are safer than straight pins, especially when you’re picking your quilt up and moving it around all the time when hand stitching.
8: If using a fusible batting now is the time to iron everything together. It’s magic! I placed my quilt over my dinning room table (long and rectangular) and used an extension cord for the iron so I could easily move all around the table to iron. Once the top is ironed in place flip your quilt over and iron the backing in place. Use the hottest setting on your iron (usually the cotton setting).
9: You’re ready to sew, either by hand or by machine.