Hi everyone! Have you managed to get your quilt sandwiched and ready for this week’s instalment? This week, we are going to be doing the actual quilting. Quilting is the process of attaching your pieced top layer, batting layer, and backing fabric together.
Preparing your walking foot
In order to do the quilting, you require a walking foot for your sewing machine. Your walking foot is a sewing machine attachment that allows you to quilt smoothly. The walking foot feeds the fabric through the machine in a simpler way than a traditional foot does. It has feed dogs on the top that move up and down with the needle. You’ll need to make sure that you buy a walking food that fits your particular sewing machine.
A walking foot.
- Attach your walking foot to your machine, after removing the foot you have been using.
- Attach the arm that moves up and down to the needle bar and secure the foot in place. When you lower the needle you should see the arm go up and down. Enquire at your dealer if you are unsure.
Stitch in the Ditch quilting (top to bottom)
When you put your quilt together, you will have pressed your seams to one side. If you feel against the seams, you will notice that one side is raised, and the other side is slightly lowered. The lowered side is the ͞ditch͟, and we’ll sew in a straight line in the ditch, all the way from the top to the bottom of the quilt. This will secure the three quilt layers in place.
The idea of stitch in the ditch is to hide the stitching as close to the seam as possible. Ideally, you want to be sewing on the opposite side to where your seam allowances are lying under the quilt, but this is not always possible. So if you find that you’re sewing on a seam, don’t panic and just keep sewing as neatly as you can.
Start sewing between Columns B and C.
The quilt grid.
- The quilt has five columns, each with 6 blocks. We’re going to start sewing between the second and third columns, or Columns B and C in the quilt grid.
- Roll up the three columns on the right of this seam (C, D and E) and then position the quilt on your sewing machine so that you will be sewing in the ditch of the seam between B and C.
- Start sewing in the ditch and work your way down to the bottom. Cut your thread.
- Start again at the top on the seam between Columns C and D. Do not sew all the way down – stop when you get to the giraffe’s head. You don’t want to sew over the giraffe. Cut your thread.
- Move back to the top of the quilt again – to the seam between Columns D and E. If the giraffe’s tail is sitting over this seam, then stop at the tail, and start sewing again after the tail. However, if this seam is open, then continue sewing to the bottom of the quilt in a straight line.
- Lastly, sew the seam between Columns A and B.
Stitch in the Ditch quilting (left to right)
- Turn the quilt around so that you are sewing across the rows. Start in the seam between Rows 1 and 2. Remember to feel for the seam so that you can sew in the ditch.
- Do not sew over the giraffe – always stop before the giraffe, and start sewing again after the giraffe.
Extra quilting in the blocks
If you are happy with the stich in the ditch quilting, you can stop the quilting at this point. However, if you’d like to add some more quilting, you could sew straight lines from top to bottom through the middles of the blocks. Remember not to sew over the giraffe.
You could also sew parallel lines in the grey (colour 2) parts of the Flying Geese blocks. Use your foot as a guide for your spacing (it is quite wide), or you can mark your quilting lines with a water dissolvable pen (Turquoise Pen). Alternatively, you also get a guide with your walking foot, so follow the instructions on how to use it.
If you are feeling very confident with the walking foot, you can stitch in each of the blocks like I have done, but keep in mind that I have used a different type of foot to allow for a free quilting look.
Preparing for the binding
After the quilting is done, it’s time to sew the binding around the edge of the quilt.
- Cut the edges of the quilt straight. This can be done with the long quilter’s ruler and the rotary cutter on your cutting board.
- Decide which fabric you want to use for the binding. If you don’t have enough of one fabric variation, you can use a few different fabrics.
Making continuous binding
You will need to join strips of fabric together to make one long strip of binding that will go all the way around the quilt. This is called continuous binding.
- Cut 2 ½” strips on the straight grain of the fabric. Cut enough to go around the quilt.
- Place the first strip down right side up. Take the second strip, turn it over and place it at the end of the first strip at 90 degrees.
- Sew diagonally across the corner, pictured below. When you turn the second strip to the right side, you will have a long straight strip of binding.
- Cut the leftover fabric (the two small triangles), leaving a ¼” seam allowance.
- Join all the binding pieces together in this way until you have a long strip that will go around the entire quilt.
The diagonal sewing line to make continuous binding.
Sewing the binding onto the quilt
- Cut one end of the binding at a 45° angle.
- Fold a ¼” seam allowance at the end and iron it down.
- Fold the binding strip in half so that it is 1 ¼” wide, as pictured below. Iron it down.
The long binding strip, folded in half, with a 45° angle at the end.
- Starting with the end with the 45° angle, place the binding along one of one of the edges of the front of the quilt (don’t start on a corner). The folded edge of the binding should be facing into the quilt (see below).
- Measure 5 inches from the 45° angle, and then start sewing from here. The first 5 inches of binding will be loose for now, and we will sew it down later.
- Using your walking foot, start sewing the binding on the edge of the front of the quilt, with a ¼” seam allowance. Sew up to the first corner.
The starting point for the binding – away from the corner, facing inwards, keeping the first 5 inches of binding free.
- To sew mitred corners, put a pin diagonally into the corner, as seen below.
- Sew up to the pin, stopping ¼” before the end of the quilt.
The placement of the pin at a 45° angle in the corner.
- Fold the binding strip up, as pictured below.
Fold the binding strip up, creating a 45° angle.
- Then fold the strip down over the next edge, creating a neat90° angle at the corner, as pictured below.
- Start sewing from the top and stop ¼” from the next corner.
- Repeat this process for the next three corners.
Fold the binding strip down, creating a 90° angle at the corner
Connecting the beginning and end parts of the binding
- When you have sewn all four corners, sew until you are 5 inches away from where you first started to sew, i.e. just before you get to the angled starting piece of binding.
- Insert the end of the binding you have left into the angled piece. Pin it all down so that it fits together well with no creases. If you have too much binding fitting into the angled binding piece, you can trim it to fit.
- Sew this remaining part of binding.
Hand sewing on the back of the quilt
Now it is time to do some hand sewing.
- Fold the binding over to the back of the quilt so that the fold is in line with the stitching line you made when you sewed on the binding.
- Fold the corner to make a good mitre, as pictured below.
- Do a hem stitch all the way around the edges on the back of the quilt.
The back of the quilt, showing the mitred corner with hem stitch to attach the binding to the back of the quilt. These clips are great to use to hold the binding in place as you sew.
Well done! You have finished your first quilt! Sit back and admire it. Are you ready to give it to that special little baby, or have you become so attached to it that you’re going to keep it as your own knee rug…? We hope you have enjoyed this Quilt-Along and that it has given you a taste of how rewarding quilting can be.
We’d love to see your finished quilt!
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