Quilting is a very creative process, whether done by hand or using a quilting sewing machine and other quilting accessories. It requires choosing colors, patterns, and fabrics, then putting them all together into a finished project that is often its own art form. Picking out the necessary quilting supplies to create a quilt can be a difficult part of this process.  Putting it all together requires little more than making a sandwich - a quilt sandwich, that is.

What Is A Quilt Sandwich?

A quilt sandwich is the term used for the layers of quilting fabric and other material that are put together to create a quilt. Quilt sandwiches are an easy concept to understand and fairly easy to create; however, they can be a bit challenging to perfect. Yet with a little effort and practice, any quilter can easily master the quilt sandwich and create a beautiful quilted masterpiece!

Quilt Sandwich Concerns

Since the quilt can shift and slide while it is being sewn if layers are not properly stabilized, the quilt sandwich is very important. A quilt sandwich that shifts during sewing may leave undesirable folds and puckers on the back side of the fabric. The trick to making the best quilt sandwich lies in the basting. With the correct basting that can be done by using different methods and quilting supplies, the sandwiched quilt will stay secure, minimizing any wrinkles and puckers on the back side.

Making the Quilt Sandwich

A quilt sandwich should be put together on a surface larger than the size of the completed quilt, as everything needs to be completely straight and flat. Using a large table, multiple tables pushed together, or even on the floor, sandwiching a quilt should be created by doing the following:

  • Backing - The backing fabric of a quilt should be 4 to 6 inches larger than the rest of the layers, pressed smooth so it lies flat. Put the backing on the surface, wrong side up and smooth out any wrinkles. Affix the backing to the surface by with the simplest of quilting accessories, masking tape, with pieces applied every 6 inches. This will help prevent everything from shifting while the layers are being added.
  • Batting - The batting should be laid on top of the backing and smoothed out to remove any wrinkles. The batting should be 2 or 3 inches larger than the quilt top, yet not as large as the backing. Once the backing is straight and smooth, add the top.
  • Quilt Top - Press the quilt top before layering, then carefully center and smooth it on top of the batting layer. There should be an equal amount of batting and backing on all sides of the quilt top once it is positioned on the stack.
  • Baste - Once the layers are laid, straightened, and smoothed out, carefully baste the stack together starting in the center and working outward. This can be done using needle and thread, quilting pins, or other quilting supplies.  The main goal is to keep the layers flat and unstretched, applying enough basting to prevent bunching when quilting. Baste every 3 to 4 inches for best results. Once the basting is complete, the masking tape can be removed and quilting by machine or hand can begin.

Usually called sandwiching by quilters, putting together the layers of a quilt is not that difficult to do when it is done on the right surface and attention is paid to detail. By working slowly, and using the right quilting accessories and quilting supplies, almost anyone can make a perfectly basted quilt sandwich that can be sewn into a beautiful quilt. The sandwiching process does take some practice; however; the process will become easier and the results better with more time and practice! 

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