Introduction: Assembling a Quilt

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This is my technique for layering a finished quilt. I found that trying to get all the layers to lie flat for pinning and/or basting was difficult.  I've made many quilts and have found this to be the best technique for keeping all the layers flat and taut for machine or hand quilting.

Step 1: Lay Out Backing Fabric

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After sewing together your backing fabric, lay it down on a flat surface (right side down).  I used to use my dining room floor because it was the flat surface in my house that was large enough.  When we put in a new tile floor in my laundry room, I found an additional surface that works. Make sure the fabric is square with the floor. The tile blocks work well for this as do the lines on a hardwood floor.

Step 2: Tape Down the Edges

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Using the lines on your tile or hardwood floors tape down all the edges of the backing fabric. I used wide masking tape, but have also successfully used packing tape and blue painter's tape. Make sure the fabric is taut and square. (test the tape if you're using a hard wood floor to make sure removing the tape doesn't ruin the finish on the floor).

Step 3: Layering

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Spread out the batting onto the backing. Smooth out all the wrinkles. This is where the backing would start to shift and wrinkle if it weren't taped down. Then put the finished quilt top on the batting.  Make sure your batting is larger than the quilt top.

Step 4: Lots of Pinning

Picture of Lots of Pinning

At this point you could baste the layers together, but I prefer pinning. You'll need enough pins to put one every 4-5 inches all over the quilt. Try to avoid placing the pins where you'll be stitching. I like the bent quilters pins because they are easier than standard safety pins. You can purchase these pins at your local quilting store or at JoAnn's etc.

Step 5: Finished Quilt

Picture of Finished Quilt

When you're all done with your hand or machine quilting, remove the pins and finish the edges.


SandraM159 (author)2016-10-03

How much larger should my backing be than the batting and quilt top? Thank you.

eyevea (author)SandraM1592016-10-03

They should be about the same size if you're going to add bias binding to finish the edges. I usually leave my quilt back about 2 inches larger all the way around and then I can "wrap" it over the edges and either hand stitch or machine stitch it in place. Does this make sense? Let me know if you'd like a more detailed explanation. Good luck.

KimberlyB161 (author)eyevea2018-01-15

How do you sew on the wrap around? And how do you shape the corners? Sorry, this is my first quilt! But I have sewn for years.

eyevea (author)KimberlyB1612018-01-16

Hi, Thanks for writing. I usually fold it over the same way you'd fold over bias fact, a lot of people make their own bias binding because it wears better, but I don't find that the edges of my quilts get much wear, so I just fold it over double to the front so it's folded over the front by about 3/8-1/2 inch and I usually hand sew it down, but you could use the machine. About the corners. Sometimes I fold the corner down and as I'm getting to the corners from the sides, I form a miter. Sometimes I do a lap. Hope it helps. Good luck with your quilt. Let me know if you have more questions.

KimmyL1 (author)2016-05-01

tape! Excellent idea! I have been making quilts for 3 years now and have dreading and putting off my current quilt as I couldn't get it to lay flat, was tired of crawling around on the floor and have a bad rotator cuff. I have both tile and wood floors ready to get this done now thanks

eyevea (author)KimmyL12016-05-01

So happy it will help with your projects.

KimH5 (author)2015-05-16

I love the concept of taping down the backing to a tile floor. Great idea! I will give this a try on my next quilt. Thank you!

eyevea (author)KimH52015-05-17

Good luck. Thanks for writing.

ashleyb22 (author)2015-04-10

I have been looking for a simple and concise tutorial for 2 days! I even purchased two books. This is the best quilt assembly tutorial I have found. Thanks a bunch!

eyevea (author)ashleyb222015-04-10

You're welcome. Nice of you to take the time to write. Good luck with your quilting.

anm805 (author)2014-12-19


I am putting my first quilt together and have found your instructions very helpful. I do have one question. What size fabric did you use for the backing and how did you put them together (1/4" seam etc.)? Thank you

eyevea (author)anm8052014-12-20

Thanks for the compliment. I usually use standard cotton quilting fabric which is usually 44/45 in. wide and piece it as necessary. I would make the seams slightly larger than 1/4 just because it's typically a much longer seam than your top piecing. You can buy, in certain areas, limited selections of 108 " wide fabric for backing. Usually the colors are limited, but if you find one that will work, it's great.

mcampbell15 (author)2011-11-22

This is fantastic - I am going to be attempting an extremely simple quilt for my son but was scratching my had as to how to assemble it. Clear, concise and to the point!
Any thoughts on whether a 'walking' presser foot is necessary to quilting on a machine?

eyevea (author)mcampbell152011-11-22

I have found a walking foot to be very important. Otherwise the top layers move along at a different pace from the other layers and you don't get even quilting. It can be done without the walking foot, but you'll be very frustrated.

Thanks for the compliments on my technique. It works very well. Good luck with your project.

SpinninJenny (author)2010-06-05

I just love the sheep pattern on this baby quilt! Can you tell me where to find the pattern? I've just become a great-grandma and Jamie's going to need a quilt this fall. I'm also a handspinner and we're all a little crazy for any design with sheep. The individual blocks would make great potholders for my spinner's guild Christmas gift exchange. Jennifer in GA

eyevea (author)SpinninJenny2010-06-05

Hi, Jenny, The quilt pattern is actually from More Quick Rotary Cutter Quilts Pam Bono Designs. It is a Leisure Arts publication. I think you can get it used on Amazon. The design is actually for a larger quilt and I adapted it for a baby quilt. Definitely a must-have for sheep lovers. Good luck.

Sharon Mihulka (author)2010-05-30

I was just going to start looking for information on how to put a quilt together.  Thanks..

eyevea (author)Sharon Mihulka2010-05-30

Nice timing.  Good luck

bambinosteps (author)2010-05-29

This is great Bette; thanks! Craft never ceases to amaze me with their timing of posts. Just yesterday I took advantage of a Memorial Day sale and bought fabric for my very first quilt! I've been searching for information on exactly how to go about making one, and this showed up on Twitter.

eyevea (author)bambinosteps2010-05-29

Happy to help.  Let me know how you do.

craftygeek (author)2010-05-29

thanks..will check this out when i get that far...I love the sheep pattern...ADORABLE!!!!

eyevea (author)craftygeek2010-05-29

The sheep quilt was a baby gift for a friend.  Thanks for the compliment

1lenore (author)2010-05-29

This is great! I presume that after pinning, you untape and start quilting.  Any tips for untaping?  Do you trim the extra backing fabric off before quilting?

eyevea (author)1lenore2010-05-29

Yes, I trim off the excess.  The tape just pulls off.  Be careful if you've taped it down to a wood floor, however.  It could take the finish off (best to test first)

bekathwia (author)2010-05-28

Great technique!

eyevea (author)bekathwia2010-05-29


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