Stages of Quilt Making
Part 3 Quilt Finishing
In the previous posts Part 1 Quilt Sandwich Design and Part 2 Quilting Design, I discussed the quilt design and quilting process. Although the quilt top, batting, and quilt bottom are attached using thread in a quilt pattern, the quilt is not complete. In fact, finishing a quilt involves several more steps including the four in this post; trimming, measuring, binding, and tucking. Each step provides additional function and design to the quilt. Some of these steps are a bit time consuming depending on one’s methods.
Trimming the Quilt
Once the quilting process is complete, the quilt is starting to look like a quilt. Before the it is off of the sewing machine, a final seam is sewn around the edge of the quilt to make sure it will hold together during the binding process. Once the it is removed from the sewing machine or long arm, the quilt is trimmed removing excess batting and backing using a rotary cutter or sewing scissors.
Measure the Quilt
At this point, it is good for the quilter to stop and measure. A slight variance is normal. For instance, if a quilt is ¼ inch off from one end to the other, I really don’t worry that much. Although, I like to be precise, one can easily get this difference through the washing and drying process. But, if the quilt is off by an inch or so, that is a problem, that needs to be resolved.
Blocking the Quilt
When a quilt has measurements that are off, a quilter must first decide if there was a simple problem of a border. If the problem is deeper, a quilter may try blocking the quilt before reworking the quilt. Blocking a quilt involves wetting the quilt and pinning it down during the drying process to ease it into the correct shape.
Ideally, a quilter would know of a serious variance before this stage. However, these variances do show up after a first wash and many times are not the problem of the quilt making. A quilt is generally created from different fabrics. Not all fabrics are the same and these differences tend to show up at this stage, where they were not observed before. During the first wash, the quilt experiences a major shrinkage. In fact, I had the experience of one of the pet quilts shrunk 4 inches in one direction! (This changed a quilt from a large quilt to a medium quilt.) This is one of the major reasons, I wash all pet quilts before you receive one!
Binding the Quilt
The binding is one of the final sewing processes. A binding is added to the quilt in order to seal the quilt and make it more durable. The color and pattern of the binding often is part of the entire design. It gives the quilt the final framing. Although, one can have many different designs in the binding, most quilts have a simple binding around the quilt. There is only one model or style of pet quilt that receives a binding(launching in June!). All other models skip this step and continue to the next step.
Tucking the Thread Ends
Part of the free motion quilting process may leave thread ends throughout the quilt. A thread end will occur when there is a thread change or sometimes a design change. An average pet quilt can easily have 20-30 threads to tuck. The nativity quilt behind me had over 350 thread ends to tuck.
The quilter must knot and tuck these threads into the quilt to ensure the durability of the quilt stitching. There are times that a quilter may double back over stitches and trim the strings. This is an acceptable method to finishing off a seam or quilting pattern, if the thread is secure. In general, tucking the strings is usually a very laborious process, if done right.
At this stage, a quilt looks like a finished product, but it still has a few more steps to go… We will take a look at the finished flat quilt product next time.
Have a wonderful day!