Choose Your Quilting Style
You’ve made your quilt top, basted your quilt sandwich, and now it is time to quilt! The actual quilting of your quilt is another place where it is all about personal preference. You can choose to quilt very densely, with your quilted lines very close together, or you can choose to quilt farther apart, as long as you keep in mind the quilting density needed for your batting. You can choose straight line quilting, or use a decorative stitch on your machine such as a zig-zag. My personal preference is straight line quilting, using the seams of my quilt top as a guide.
When you put your quilt sandwich through the machine to quilt, make sure it is laying flat, and is not folded under. When I quilted my first quilt, I accidentally left a corner folded under, and ended up quilting it folded in half-that was a mess to clean up!
When you quilt, you are sewing all three layers of the quilt sandwich together-this is how the quilt stays secure. I use the seams of the quilt top as my guide, which means that I put my presser foot right along the seam and follow that seam all the way down the quilt to create a straight line parallel to each seam. Line your presser foot up with the seam, put the foot and needle down, and begin sewing right where your quilt top begins. When you start, backstitch to secure your stitching, then follow the seam all the way down the quilt, backstitching again when you get to the bottom of the quilt. I repeat this on each seam, making sure my quilting lines are always on the same side of the seam.
Trimming Your Quilt
When you are satisfied with your quilting, it is time to trim your quilt so it is ready for binding. You will need your quilt, cutting mat, quilting ruler and rotary cutter. The goal is to trim the batting and backing so that it is exactly the same size as your quilt top.
Because your quilt is most likely larger than your cutting mat, I fold the quilt in half to trim it. Make sure you have folded it right along the midline, as this will help ensure you are properly squaring up the quilt. Line the midline of the folded quilt up with a measurement line on your cutting mat.
You are now going to trim the edge that is perpendicular to this midline. Make sure your ruler is perpendicular to the midline, and parallel to the measurement lines on the cutting mat, as close to the edge of the quilt top as possible. Hold the ruler in place with your hand, and use your rotary cutter to trim away the extra batting and backing. Flip your quilt over, and repeat with the opposite side.
Once you have trimmed those two sides, fold your quilt in half in the opposite direction. Use your newly trimmed sides to line up your quilt on a measurement line of your cutting mat. Repeat the trimming process with the remaining sides.
Congratulations, your quilt is quilted, trimmed and ready for binding!