Making a quilt usually includes three layers: the top layer, batting and bottom layer. The batting is between the top and bottom layers. Change the dynamic of the three-layer quilt by using fleece and reducing it to two layers. Omit the batting by incorporating a thick polar fleece for the backing. This fleece type feels soft and fuzzy, making it perfect for a baby's blanket or a winter throw. Most fabric stores carry a variety of prints and patterns to create a complementary contrast binding.
Measure the width and length for your quilt with a clear acrylic quilter's ruler or flexible tape measure. You need this measurement to make an even amount of squares for the top layer.
Make a pattern for the square quilt top layer by dividing an even amount of squares into the top layer's measurement. For example, if you are making a 50-inch blanket, make a square measuring 10 inches in length and width. This produces 5 even squares across and down the quilt.
Draw the 10-inch square on pattern paper with a felt tip marker and cut out with scissors. Cut 25 squares out of the fleece material using the paper pattern. Leave a 1/8-inch border around the square to act as seam allowance. Mix printed fleece squares with solid ones for a patchwork effect.
Place the squares on the table in the desired order.
Attach the squares together with your quilting or sewing machine by stitching around the seam allowance. If you stitch more than the 1/8 inch seam, you will automatically shrink the blanket size.
Iron the patchwork seams open. If you are working with synthetic fleeces, be careful of melting. Use a protective sheet to cover the fleece prior to pressing.
Cut one piece of the polar fleece that matches the width and length of the top layer. Polar fleece is available in 60 inches, allowing you to have a solid back without piecing. If you are using the polar fleece back layer to bind the top layer, add 2 inches to the width and length. For example, if your top layer patchwork quilt measures 50 inches, cut the bottom layer 52 inches in width and length. This produces a 1-inch border around the quilt.
Place the top and bottom layers on a level table or grid to prepare for basting. Although most quilters find the basting process time consuming and tedious, it is necessary to keep the two layers properly aligned. According to the web site, Quilting Assistant, "It keeps the grain of the quilt top and the backing aligned." The bottom layer will have a 2-inch parameter protruding around the entire top quilt if you decided to bind the top layer with the bottom. Use the quilter's ruler to ensure each side measures 2 inches.
Pin the layers together using the pin basting method. Start at the centre of the quilt and pin long silk pins horizontally and vertically through both layers. Space the pins evenly, a minimum of 4 inches apart.
Fold the top layer edge under approximately 1/8 inch around the quilt and pin. The top layer fold meets the bottom layer edge when binding the quilt. The folded top layer edge sits on the bottom layer, hiding the raw edges when both layers are stitched together. Lightly iron the folded top layer edge.
Change your machine's stitch selection to a long stitch. Attach the walking foot to the machine as well.
Baste the two layers together using the long stitch by starting from the centre out. Remove the pins as you baste. Polar fleece has significant stretch. Do not pull the bottom layer as you baste to prevent stretching, which can distort the pattern.
Machine stitch the quilt horizontally and vertically using a decorative or straight stitch. Make sure the thread selected for quilting does not become tangled with the basting thread.
Bind the blanket with the bottom layer by folding it over toward the folded top layer from Section 2, Step 3. For example, if you have a 2-inch back extension, fold the bottom layer 1 inch to meet the folded top layer edge. Make sure the folded top layer edge sits on top of the folded back layer to hide the back layer's raw edge, resulting in a clean finish. This produces a 1-inch border around the quilt. This process is referred to as back fabric binding.
Pin the folded fabric all around, starting at the top of the quilt. The corners generally stand or protrude. Continue to pin the two sides and the bottom.
Hold the tip of one corner up, forming a half triangle. Pinch the fabric at the base of the triangle and flatten the corner as you release the pinched fabric. This results in an inverted pleat. Repeat this step with the four corners and pin. Iron the corners to further flatten if needed.
Choose a straight or decorative zigzag stitch and start to machine stitch from the top corner to the bottom corner. Stitch on top of the folded top layer, making sure the bottom layer's raw edge remains hidden. Another option is to stitch a decorative binding tape over the folded top layer as you stitch the binding in place. Remove the pins as you continue to stitch.
Lift the presser foot to turn the quilt to repeat Step 5. Continue to stitch the binding in place until all four sides of the quilt are complete.
Things you need
- Quilter's ruler
- Flexible tape measure
- Pattern paper
- Felt tip marker
- Straight pins
- Fabric scissors
- Quilting or sewing machine
- Protective sheet cover
- Polar fleece
- Table grid
- Silk pins
- Walking foot