Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tutorial: How to Make a Quilt with a Super-soft (and stretchy!) Backing

"Ironic" is the word I would use to describe the fact that my son prefers a store-bought Carter's baby blanket to the 6 quilts I have made him.  This blanket comes along with Gregory wherever he goes and as he approaches his 3rd birthday this fall, I am still a little annoyed that he hasn't "attached" to any of the special quilts that I have made him.  I really think it comes down to texture and the softness of the blankie.  This is why I have taken it upon myself to learn how to make a quilt with a soft backing on my domestic machine.
Disclaimer:  Attaching Minkee or Soft-and-Cuddly fabrics is kind of a pain in the butt.  I recommend you only endeavor this technique if texture and softness is really important to the intended recipient of the quilt.

Step 1: Quilt your quilt top directly onto batting with nothing else - it's just two layers.  I baste my quilt top onto Warm and Natural batting (from Joann's) with safety pins and then I quilt it on my machine.  Then I trim off the extra batting on the sides, as shown below:
 Step 2:  Tape a piece of soft backing fabric onto the floor, "good side" down.  I tape each corner - and that is it.
 Step 3:  Pin your quilted top onto the backing fabric with a few pins around each side.
 Step 4:  Cut your backing fabric to size around the quilted top.  Give yourself a little breathing room because you are going to pin more in the next step and you don't want the backing fabric to be too small.
 Step 5:  Use a lot more pins to make the quilted top more firmly affixed to the backing fabric, trim the backing more if necessary.
 Step 6:  Use a zig-zag stitch to go all around the edge of the quilt.  You will have to go slowly and pay special attention to the backing fabric trying to wiggle and shrink away from the quilt's edge.  Just be patient and do this step carefully. 
Step 7:  You will also want to attach the quilt onto the backing on an area besides the outer edges.  The pattern I used made it very easy for me to stitch a square in the ditch. 
 You can't see the square on the front of the quilt, but you can discern it on the back:
 Step 8: Bind your quilt as you normally would.  If you find that your quilt is a little thicker than normal, I would recommend using a wider binding.  For example, I used a 3" binding on my Girly Spiderweb quilt

So there you have it, a quilt with a soft backing.  As you can tell, the backing is a little loose/lumpy on the back but I am satisfied with it.  I have used soft backing on other quilts and each backing fabric I have used has varied in difficulty to work with.  Of course, this soft whale fabric I used for this tutorial probably was the most annoying one I have encountered- being particularly stretchy on the horizontal grain.  (Is that even a real term? I don't know.)
I hope this tutorial is helpful to some of my readers, let me know if you have any questions.


Alexis Deise said...

I am about to do this (well, "about" being a relative term) -- so this is super helpful right now!

Tiffany said...

I am so glad I found this my son LOVES soft fabric and my brother wants me to convert his old blankies into something appropriate for an to adult to snuggle with.