Friday, October 21, 2011

Baby Quilt Kit Tutorial - Layering, Basting & Quilting

This Baby Quilt Kit Tutorial includes a series of five blog posts.
  1. Intro & Getting Started
  2. Cutting the Fabric Pieces
  3. Machine Piecing the Quilt Top
  4. Layering, Basting & Quilting -  You're Here!
  5. Binding the Quilt
Cuddly Quilt Kits are a popular line of baby quilt kits available in the Baby Quilt Kits section.

The purpose of this Baby Quilt Kit Tutorial is to help beginners work through the process of making one of these cuddly quilts for baby.

The quilt making techniques shown in this series can be applied to any of the Cuddly Quilt Kit designs.

After machine piecing the quilt top, you're ready for Layering, Basting & Quilting.  The Cuddly Quilt Kit instructions provide a simple turn-inside-out method without batting for finishing the quilt.  While this will certainly work, many quilters like the appearance and added loft that batting provides.  This tutorial will show how to add a batting layer and discuss two alternate methods for quilting.


Your baby quilt will be comprised of three layers - the backing fabric, a batting layer, and the pieced quilt top.

The bottom layer will be your backing fabric.  Place the backing fabric, right side down, on your work surface, smoothing out any wrinkles.  Use masking tape to secure the backing to the surface.

The middle layer will be batting.  I'm using Warm & White cotton batting in craft size.  This is an excellent quilt batting for beginner quilters. It's easy to work and can be quilted or tied up to 10" apart.

Place batting on top of backing and trim to the same size as the backing.  Here's a photo of my backing and trimmed batting.

Next, place your pieced quilt top, right side up, on the batting.


Once you have the three layers stacked, it's time to baste them together.  Basting is a way of temporarily holding the layers together to keep them from shifting while quilting.  I like to use basting pins, equivalent to size 1 safety pins, for this step.

Start basting in the center of the quilt and work your way out to the sides and corners, smoothing out wrinkles as you go.  Place basting pins about 6 inches apart.  Be sure to pin through all three layers.

For smaller quilt projects, closing the pins goes quickly and doesn't require any special tools.  If you plan to do more quilting, especially larger quilts, I recommend using this handy pin-closing tool.

It's called a Kwik Klip.  Place the opened pin in one of the grooves and use your other hand to close.

It makes pin basting go faster, is easier on your hands, and keeps fingers away from the sharp point.

It can also be used in reverse to easily remove the basting pins.

After closing all your pins, you're ready to start quilting!


Quilting permanently secures the three layers of the quilt together. I'm going to show 2 methods you can use for your baby quilt kit project - hand tying and/or machine quilting.

The distance between hand ties or machine quilting depends on the batting you're using in your quilt.  You'll need to check the label on your batting so that you know how far apart you can place your quilting.  The batting I used can be hand tied or quilted up to 10 inches apart.

Once you know this distance, you can plan out where you'll put your quilt ties and/or machine quilting lines.  For example, you could add ties to your center blocks and then, depending on your quilt design, do some machine quilting along the outside borders.  Or, you might decide to use only hand ties or only machine quilting, depending on your personal preference.

Hand Tying

Hand tying is a quick & easy method of quilting.  You'll need embroidery floss, a curved quilting needle, and scissors.  As with basting, it's best to start quilting in the center of the quilt and work your way to the outside, removing basting pins as your go.

Thread the curved needle with the embroidery floss (all six strands) and push the needle down through all three layers of the quilt.  I recommend checking the back side of the quilt to verify that the needle went through all the layers.

Bring the needle back up within a 1/4 inch from where the needle first went down.  Going beyond this point could cause puckering to occur in the fabric.

Pull the thread through and cut the floss, leaving about 4 inches of thread length on both sides for tying.

Tie a surgeon's square knot as follows:
  1. Place the right thread over the left, wrap twice, and pull tight.
  2. Place the left thread over the right, wrap twice, and pull tight.
  3. Trim threads to desired length.

Machine Quilting

For machine quilting, you'll need a special presser foot, called an even-feed or walking foot, for your sewing machine.  This foot will ensure that all three layers of the quilt move evenly through the machine without shifting.

I recommend using a quality 100% cotton thread in a light, neutral color for machine quilting.  I'm using the YLI machine quilting thread in white.  You could use an invisible quilting thread for the top if you prefer (also referred to as monofilament thread).

Set your machine to make 8-10 stitches per inch.  Sew along a piece of scrap fabric, measure the number of stitches per inch, and adjust your machine's stitch length if necessary.

A simple "in-the-ditch" quilting technique is a great choice for beginners.  This is where you make long, straight stitches along the seams of the quilt top.  Use your hands to spread the fabric as you quilt along one side of the seam.  Keep the stitch line very close to, but not inside, the seam.

Once all of the quilting is complete, use your rotary cutting tools to even up the edges of your quilt, trimming away excess material.

Here's a photo of my quilt with hand ties and machine quilting.

After trimming the edges of your quilt, you'll be ready to move on to the next post in the Baby Quilt Kit Tutorial - Binding the Quilt!

Weekend Kits offers a unique collection of Art & Craft Kits across a variety of crafting categories. Our goal is to help make crafting convenient, easy, and fun for all skill levels! Stop by today & be ready to make a baby quilt on your next Weekend at Home.

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