There are 3 layers to a quilt. There is the top, the
batting, and the backing. There are several ways to pin a quilt and finish
your project. Here are some of your options.
HAND QUILTING FRAMES
Quilters who finish their quilts by hand have a variety of quilt
frames to choose from. Some are small and meant for one person, while
others are large enough for a group of people to work on the quilt at the same
The easiest to finish a quilt top is to send it out to a longarm
quilter. If you don't have a longarm quilter in your area, you can find
these services on ebay. These services can be expensive, but the quilting
can be very beautiful.
There are also many quilt frames that you can purchase to finish
your quilts at home. These can be tricky to use, and they require a great
deal of space. Many people buy them and do not use them. Others
become very good at it. Before making this type of a purchase, it is best
to go to a quilt store and become familiar with these machines to see if you
PINNING FOR THE SEWING MACHINE
When you are planning to machine quilt with your sewing machine,
you are going to have to pin the 3 layers together.
The most traditional way to pin a quilt is for a traditional
binding. You place the backing down first, right side down, then put the
batting on top of it, and the end with the quilt top, face up.
The key to successfully pinning a quilt is to pin it so that
there are no puckers on either the back or front. This can be a challenge.
You need to use a lot of pins, and the backing needs to be stretched taut
before you start pinning. Some people heavily starch the back of their
quilt to keep it from puckering.
Pins come in several sizes. If you are going to machine
quilt, you want to use the small pins so you can quilt around them if possible.
You need to use enough of them so that when you lay your hand flat on your quilt
top and spread out your fingers, every one of your fingers is touching a pin.
Many quilters have tables that allow them to clip the fabric to
the table. I use a hobby table and office clips. When I have a large
quilt, I push two hobby tables together. If my quilt is slightly larger
than the table, I pin the edges after I undo the clips. One of my smaller
quilts clipped on my hobby table is pictured below.
You can also go to buildings with banquet tables and push a couple of
them together for large quilts. You can spray the layers together with glue spray,
or use wide mailing tape to hold the backing taut.
One economical option is to pin the quilt
to your carpet. I did this for years. It works, but it is not a lot
of fun crawling around on the carpet.
Finally, you can buy a quilting staple gun to hold the
Putting the layers of a quilt together for a pillow fold is very
different than the traditional method. Basically you are pinning the front and
the back right sides together, sewing around the edges, and then turning it.
It is just like making a pillow, hence the name "pillow fold."
Where people mess up is in getting the batting in the correct
Here is how I like to put the layers. The batting is laid
down first, and then you put the quilt top on top of it, with the right side of
the fabric facing up. Then you put the backing of the quilt on top, right
The turning process will be a lot easier if you baste the
batting and the top together before you add the backing.
Pin around the edges, leaving an opening large enough to turn
the quilt inside-out, just like a pillow. Turn and then sew up the
You are still going to have to pin the quilt for machine
quilting, but your edges will be done, and you won't need to attach a binding.
A pillow fold is easier to do on a small project. It is great
One hint: If you like the look of binding, sew a narrow
strip of fabric on all sides of your quilt. It will give the appearance of
binding when you turn the quilt.