Huge quilt top! What do I do next?


(I know it’s not square in some places and I’m going to make it wider. I’m asking this question just so I know what to do next when it comes time, which will be soon.)

This is the quilt top for DH’s Xmas gift. I don’t know what happens next in the quilting process. I’d like to do it by hand if possible (All the squares are hand sewn.).

I also don’t want it to be a heavy quilt. I’m always warm.

Help, please!!!:weary:. Ty!

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First, it’s beautiful!

Once the top is done, give it a good pressing and measure it. Then you’ll know what size you need your batting and backing to be. The batting should be a few inches larger than the top on every side. The backing fabric should be just slightly larger than the batting. Most quilt batting is cotton or a blend, and fairly thin. So, you’re not in much danger of creating something too heavy and suffocatingly warm if you stick to that (I like warm & natural brand, and dislike pellon since it shredded on me during a pre-wash).

Making sure that everything has been ironed, then you pin your layers together. I do mine like this, and have never had an issue:
Lay down your backing fabric, wrong-side up. Smooth it out and pin the edges to your carpet (or tape to a hardwood floor, I suppose). Line up an edge, and lay your batting down on top of that. Very gently smooth out any wrinkles. Again, lining up an edge, lay down your topper, and smooth. Pinning - I like to start in the center and gradually move towards the edges. Remove the floor pins and it’s stable enough to move around now.

Once it’s pinned, I found that a giant quilting hoop worked well enough for hand-stitching, removing pins as I would move the frame. If you’re lucky enough to have one with a stand or a quilting frame, that’s a bonus. Again, I like to work from the middle outward but I think it’s safe to start at one edge. The batting will tell you the maximum amount of space between stitching that will remain stable…it’s usually about 8"-10".

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Thank you so much! Have you ever tried that bonding spray?

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You’re welcome!

Nope. I do not like aerosols of any kind, even if I have a proper respirator…freaks me out. Plus, some people have said that the glue can gum up your needle. But, some people like them. Personal preference, I guess.

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You make some very good points.

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For hand quilting I personally avoid using pins because it’s such a hassle with the hoop. I put some tacking stitches in and then remove them pre-quilting.

I’ve used the glue spray a few times for smaller projects but in my experience you still need pins and it makes the needle and thread feel yucky and sticky.

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Basting stitches are a great idea!

I waxed my thread, too, to prevent tangling.

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Why do you lay out your backing fabric wrong side up?

Because you’re making the ‘sandwich’ of back-batting-top. You want the right-sides facing out away from the batting. There’s no turning it after it’s quilted. You just bind the edges - either by turning under the seam allowance and stitching shut, or using binding tape (fabric).

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Got it! Thank you! It seems to be much easier than I thought it was going to be.

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I’ve used it before and really like the convenience of it. Here’s some helpful information on how to use it.

If you do get overwhelmed with the hand quilting possibility, you could always hand tie the quilt, or send it out to a longarm quilter.

If you go the long arm route, you wouldn’t need to worry about pinning the layers together. You would send your quilt top and the backing (and possibly batting depending on the quilter) to the long armer and she would take care of creating the quilt sandwich and machine quilt it all together.

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I’m picking up a massive quilt from the longarm place today. I want to hand quilt it but it’s so big I can’t lay it out anywhere in my home. She has put the layers together and machine basted it and I’m picking it up ready to be hand quilted. I dropped off a simple top and what I’m picking up is basically already a quilt.

ETA: just got back, this is what it looks like! If I machine quilt I prefer to use pins so I can remove them while quilting.


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You said it’s ready to be hand quilted. Are you talking about around the edges? I thought about bringing it to be long arm quilted too; I don’t have anywhere big enough to pin it either. Is it expensive to have it “long arm quilted”? Did you have to wait awhile to get it done?

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The red stitches on the fabric are just the basting stitches, done in a basic grid pattern, so I will quilt it by hand (sew through all the layers by hand in a more interesting pattern than this basic grid pattern) and then remove those basting stitches. The whole quilt was sewed by hand, not by machine, so I liked having I like hand quilting so I really wanted to quilt this one myself.

I’m in Europe, so I have no idea about price levels in other places, but I would just google a few places in your local area. Usually they charge by the square inch and they have prices for the different services on their websites. This basic grid pattern in basting stitches is usually the cheapest service, but it’s not a permanent solution. It’s just a preparation for the final machine or hand quilting.

The longarm lady I go to in my city also does edge-to-edge quilting in all sorts of patterns (where the same pattern will just be repeated over and over again) and custom quilting which is the most expensive service. With custom quilting you can have different patterns in different areas in your quilt and even design the pattern yourself, I imagine that custom quilting can be quite expensive.

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I’m in Michigan, and there’s a long arm quilter near me whose basic service (edge-to-edge, simple design) is $0.02 per square inch. That works out to about $115-125 for a full size quilt.

@Immaculata, your quilt is gorgeous!

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