Sunday, May 15, 2011

How to Quilt in Sections

You can divide the batting up into 3 pieces to reduce bulk.

Start by laying the batting out. Use a rotary cutter to cut it into thirds using large "S" shape cuts. Use a marker to put registration marks along the cuts to you can re-join the batting later exactly as it was. Also mark the top left and top right of the batting. Remove the left and right pieces to save for later.

Create your quilt sandwich as usual, but you will baste only the middle third of the batting. Pin together the top and backing on each side so they stay together.

Edit: This method is described in a paragraph in one of Debra Wagner's books. (Both of her books are absolutely wonderful!) Marti Michell has a book out on this method, but I haven't read that one.

Quilt the middle of the quilt, leaving about 6 inches on each side to make re-attaching the batting easy. Be careful to keep the sides out of the way of your quilting! It will be much easier to quilt the middle because there will be much less bulk under the arm of your machine.

When the middle has been quilted, fold back the top and backing out of the way so only the middle batting edge is exposed. Butt the correct piece of the batting you set aside up against it, matching registration marks. You can hand baste the two pieces of batting together with a tailor tack stitch, or machine baste together with a wide and long zigzag. Smooth the top and backing back and baste the three layers together. Quilt that side, then do the same with the other side.

The reason for cutting the batting in large "S" shapes rather than a straight line is so that there won't be a natural crease line in the quilt when you are finished. A quilt done this way will appear no different than a quilt done with a whole piece of batting, but it will be a lot easier to maneuver under the arm of a domestic machine.

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