Sew Along Part 4: Sweet Trellis Mini Quilt Skill Builder
by Ashley Fritsche
Welcome back to the Sew Along: Sweet Trellis Mini Quilt Skill Builder Part 4! If you are just joining us, catch up on Part 3 HERE. Today, Sarah Baker walks us through the unique quilting techniques, quilt sandwhich assembling in preparation for the final step of binidng!
Products Used in Sweet Trellis Mini Quilt Skill Builder: Part 4
Open-Toe Low Shank Quarter-Inch Foot
Cutting Ruler, TQM Fold Away 6x24
Congratulations on a beautiful quilt top! We are ready to quilt this sweet little baby. Once you get to this part of a quilt pattern the instructions often read, “Quilt as Desired. Bind.” That’s great, but what does that mean? This mini quilt is quite accessible to quilt on your Featherweight. Even though these little machines offer easy portability and a perfect stitch, they are often overlooked for the quilting portion of a top. Fear not, for you can quilt this project on your Featherweight! First, we must decide a quilt design and then build the “quilt sandwich.” We will address the sandwich first.
Just like the name implies, a quilt sandwich has a top, a middle and a bottom. The quilt top, batting, and backing material complete the sandwich. Sewing these three pieces together will yield a quilt with a raw edge which will be tackled in the binding post. So how do these three pieces get sewn together? We will baste (a loose or temporary hold) the top to the batting and backing so it can be quilted. I prefer to use a temporary spray adhesive, but other options include safety pins, or a long running stitch.
Your quilt back and batting should be approximately 1 1/2” wider on each side of your top. (If you take a quilt top to a professional longarmer, they may ask for an extra 3”-5” on each side.) The backing and batting are cut larger than your top because fabric is active. It wiggles, and moves. If it stretches as it is sewn, you will have room to accommodate the movement.
First, you will lay your backing fabric, WRONG SIDE UP, then the batting piece, then your quilt top, RIGHT SIDE UP. Check to see that all loose threads are off of your backing. In a light colored quilt, loose threads may show through the fabric. A sticky lint roller is very handy in pulling off loose threads. I roll the top and batting to the midway point, spray the adhesive, and roll the batting down, smoothing as I go. Repeat for the other side. Then I roll the top to the midway point, spray the adhesive, roll the top down, smoothing as I go. Repeat for the other side. Now you have a basted quilt top. If you choose to use pins, pin every 3” or so, keeping all layers smooth.
Quilt as desired. What do you desire? How should the top be “quilted”? Quilt refers to the lines or patterns of stitches used to sew the three layers together. This can be intricate or basic. I stuck to basic. The pattern cover design is quilted in a diagonal checkerboard pattern. I chose to quilt inside the outline of the blocks. Since I used the block as the guide, I didn’t need to mark sewing lines or grids on the top. I used my standard foot and the little “toe” as my guide on the inside of each block. Before beginning on the Sweet Trellis top, I did practice sew on a little quilt sandwich to make sure the stitches and tension were correct.
A rule to follow in quilting on your Featherweight is to start in the middle and work your way out. This prevents puckers and bubbles because you can smooth the fabric from the middle out. I started in a middle block. Put your presser foot down. Roll your handwheel forward in one stitch revolution and pull up the bobbin thread. I move my stitch regulator to the middle, creating a locking stitch, and then back to a quilting stitch of 8-10. Using the little toe of your presser foot as a guide, stitch around each block, pivoting on the seam. I stitched each of the “toffee” blocks and cream background diamonds, ending with a locking stitch and trimming threads. I maximized my thread path through the blocks by stitching in the ditch when possible. Stitch in the ditch is when you sew in the seam line, creating a virtual invisible stitch. I went back and stitched each red/pink block individually. This Sweet Trellis quilt used a solid backing and the stitching is very obvious and visible. The “busier” the background fabric is, the less visible is your quilt stitching. This can be to your advantage in some situations!
Inspect your quilted top and clip any loose threads on the top and back from the quilting. Before I trim the excess batting and backing with thread snips, I like to do a basting stitch along the edge of the quilt. Change your thread length as long as it will go, down to 6 on your stitch regulator. Keeping the little toe’s width or between ⅛” and ¼” from the edge, stitch along each edge of your quilt sandwich. This will keep any edges from turning or folding over when you stitch on the binding.
Now that your top is basted, you will prepare the top for the last step, binding. Examine the edges of your quilt and you will see that you have ¼” on the edge of your star points. Following a horizontal mark, line your ruler along the bottom of your quilt with the ruler flush on the edge of the newly quilted top, on the outside of the basted edge.Your ruler should be square, or 90* on the corner. You should only be trimming backing and batting, not the quilt top itself. Trim the excess batting and backing with your rotary cutter. Turn your top. With one side trimmed, use the ruler on a horizontal line, place the ruler flush to the basted edge, and trim. Repeat for all sides. Your top should be square and ready for binding.