Man Sewing Quilt on a Quilt: Alternative Finishes for Your Quilts

Rob Appell

Man Sewing Quilt on a Quilt: Alternative Finishes for Your Quilts

Rob demonstrates how to prepare an art quilt for display by mounting it to a second foundational quilt. The feature quilt was created using techniques from Rob's Free Piecing tutorial. The fabric used is Robert Kaufman Solids Pleasant Pastures Roll Up and Grunge Basics Charm Pack by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics.
Supplies list
  • 1 pack x 5" Pre Cut Fabric Squares (Charm Packs)
  • 1 pack x 2.5" Pre Cut Fabric Strips (Jelly Rolls)
  • Your Choice x Quilt Batting
  • Your Choice x Backing Fabric

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video transcript

Rob demonstrates how to prepare an art quilt for display by mounting it to a second foundational quilt. The feature quilt was created using techniques from Rob's Free Piecing tutorial. The fabric used is Robert Kaufman Solids Pleasant Pastures Roll Up and Grunge Basics Charm Pack by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics.

So if you caught my Free Piecing tutorial, the quilt you see hanging right behind me, you know what a big fan I am of Jean Wells and her book on Intuitive Color and Design. And in that video we showed you how to do the free piecing but I talked about some alternative finishing methods, well today we’re doing a quilt on a quilt.

So what’s a quilt on a quilt you say? Well this was my very first example of a free pieced quilt. And if you look really carefully you’ll be able to see that there’s actually one quilt on top of the other. And I’ve tacked it down. So it’s a two quilt, quilt process. We’re going to show you both methods today. But we’re going to start by focusing on our top piece. So I used the exact same fabrics I did in the free piecing video so it will look very similar. As a matter of fact I’m using up those same pieces. So it’s Robert Kaufman solids. This is Pleasant Pastures. And then also the Grunge from Basic Gray from Moda. And I love this fabric because I can actually use the back side or the wrong side just like I could use the correct side. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do for this particular project.

So we are already preparing ourselves here to put together the free piecing portion. And we’re going to use that as kind of a pillowcase finish. We’re not going to bind that at all. So we’re going to actually layer it. Follow close. We have our batting down because we are going to quilt it. I have my quilt backing, and this is literally right sides up right now. So I want the solid orange to show. Then I’m going to take my free pieced project that I started before. And I’m going to lay it out on top of here, just like this. And it is right sides together because we’re going to trim around the outer edge. And when I trim around the outer edge I want to get rid of anything like this that might kind of form a Y seam. I want to make a nice smooth, easy transition. And I’m going to do that kind of with my curved piecing technique. So we’re just going to take our rotary cutter and make sure we have enough pressure to get through all of the layers. And I’m just cleaning up the edge. I want it to have a little bit of character. We don’t need a ton. But I want to cut all three pieces at the same time. So we’re going to cut through this. And then we’re going to stitch around it. So you don’t want to move anything while you’re working. And if you need to whittle away at it like I’m doing, that works wonderfully. Making sure all of our quilt backing and our quilt top and our batting are all lining up nice. Ok. And then we’re just going to use a quarter inch seam allowance to sew around all of our layers as we go. I just love doing these free pieced quilts too. They are so much fun and so fluid. And it’s a really great way to spend some of our just creative practice time in our studios. Sometimes we think we always have to be working on something of real detail or real value maybe. But I think there’s a lot of value in practicing and learning skills as we go along.

So I have cut all of my layers right ready to go now. And we’re going to leave ourselves an opening so we can turn this back to right sides out. So right now what I want to do is I’m going to leave an opening probably in this area because it’s a solid piece of fabric. And it’s going to make it easier for me to turn it, ok? And so now I’m going to go and I’m going to do a quick trick where I’m going to flip this over because I really want my fabric on the feed dogs below my needle. And I’m just going to do a quarter inch seam allowance and I’m going to sew 90% of the way around this.

Ok so we have sewn basically almost all the way around it. And if you were watching real close, even in caffeinated mode there, you could see that some things were shifting a little bit. I probably should have put a couple safety pins through to hold everything together. But the beautiful thing about this is we’re not going to see the back at all. So we’re just going to play to the front if we needed to. And now I’m going to go ahead and slowly start to roll and push this back out. We are going to topstitch all of the edges as our next step so you should backstitch at your start and stop but if you hadn’t and your stitches were coming loose a little bit, we’re going to fix all that for ourselves here in a moment. So that’s easy. So we’re giving this thing a good solid push right now. Wonder if it will even look like a quilt when we’re done with it. Trust me, it will work. You’ll be just fine in there. And I did leave those extra little bits of seam in there which is no problem as well. We’re just going to pop this through here to make that really tidy finish on the edges. Then you want to take and use your finger or something like a purple thang or something up in any of the corners you made. Make sure you’re pressing all of your quilt top out. You may even want to go to your ironing station and actually iron it a little bit if you’d like to. I’m just going to work it. I want this to be really nice on those edges as I topstitch. But isn’t that fun? It’s got a ton of character.

And I should have pointed out, I actually used a high loft batting in there as well so that when we free motion machine quilt this it’s going to have a bunch of fun loft to it which will give it extra character. And that’s part of the benefit of our quilt on a quilt. Now here’s our opening, right? So I want to make sure while I’m working on this that I’m really massaging that closed nice. And as a matter of fact when I start my topstitching I’m going to start real close to it and make sure I secure that. So we’re going to come in right now. Make sure you’re comfortable because you want to take this slow. This sewing really counts here. This stitching is going to be important. So I’m going to run the edge of my presser foot right along the edge of my quilt. And here we go.

Ok so I just finished up the topstitching. I just want to point out this stitching really shows up so you want to take a nice time and build that character that you cut those curves for, right? So you have your quilt top all ready. You’ve got your batting inside. You’ve got your backing all ready to go. So all we have to do now is get it ready to put on the other quilt. And the way we’re going to do that is we’re going to sprinkle some magic quilting dust on it to get it all quilted up. I bet you wish you had your own bag of magic quilting dust too, don’t you? Doesn’t that look terrific? So it’s all quilted and finished. This is literally ready to be mounted to the backing quilt but we still need to build the backing quilt. So let’s walk through that.

And that is going to be our traditional style quilting format which is our quilt backing face down on our table, our regular batting and our new quilt top face up, right? But we’re going to do some straight stitching on this. So I’ve put a few safety pins to kind of hold it in place. My feed dogs are going to be up on my machine. And I’m going to use my regular piecing foot, by quarter inch foot. One of the tricks I want to show you real quick is I’m going to run one row of stitching down kind of starting from the middle. And then I’m going to come back the other direction. And when we do that when we’re doing our straight line quilting or our stitch in the ditch quilting, it helps keep the shift and the loft. And that’s why I have extra batting and a little bit extra backing for this project because it’s going to all spread out. So when it’s done it looks just like this, ok? So this was all done with the feed dogs. And it’s really fun. And you can sew in different directions, it doesn’t just have to be up and down. You can see side to side. You can see some fun angles. One of the things I want to point out is you want to watch your starts and stops because you want to use a thread that shows. The more thread you use the more it shows so they will kind of be there.

But at the end of this whole project what we’re going to do next is we’re going to take our quilt top that has all the extra loft and texture and our quilt back which was quilted to be nice and flat. And I’m going to eyeball it till it’s about centered there. And then what we’re going to do is we’re going to tack this down by machine. So I want to get a few pins handy. And I’m going to hit it in the corners first. And if there’s any spots that are kind of waffling or rippling because of the extra texture we added you could always put a little bit of thread there to hold it down too. So we definitely want four tacks but we could do eight or ten if we needed. It’s whatever you like. Hopefully I haven’t pinned this to the quilt back, right? So let’s see. We’re good here. We’ll set this out of the way for a second. Now the trick to tacking this down is not making a big mess out of it. I’ve got the green thread on the top. I have my yellow bobbin thread. That is the yellow thread I used on the back of the project or the orange quilt. And now what I’ve got is I have my free motion foot on and my feed dogs are down. And what I’m going to really do here is I’m going to go into the corner and I’m just going to take a few stitches. Presser foot down. Maybe move just a couple of stitches, almost like a little knot, ok? You can use your thread cutter. And then you can move on to another corner. And what we’re really after is that fun artistic quality we get from our machine quilting so again I want to stress, well I don’t like the word stress because I don’t perform stress. I want to encourage lots of texture on your quilt top or your number one quilt, the showing quilt. And I want to stress or encourage nice flat solid quilting on your back. So that when we mount this to the wall it looks absolutely terrific. Ok, a couple more stitches here and then we just have that last corner to do. And we can clean those threads up later.
These just make the most wonderful fun projects. And great gifts especially for the art quilter in your life. They love these things. Ok, so we are now connected, there’s threads somewhere but we’ll find it like this. There we go. We’ll pull the pins out for show and tell, ok? And now we have our fantastic quilt on a quilt. That thing’s going to mount up and look terrific in my studio, right? Especially because I’ve got its companion. The free piecing, so make sure you check out that other video that we have for you. And we’ll see you next time here at Man Sewing.

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