Layering your quilt may seem a relatively minor part of the process of making a quilt, but it is vital you layer your quilt well if you wish to have a nice flat quilt. You should by now have cut (and pieced if necessary) your backing fabric. Your backing fabric and wadding should be about 2″ wider than your quilt top. You are ready to layer your quilt.
Where to layer your quilt
You will need a large, empty surface to layer your quilt on. If your table isn’t large enough, consider using the floor. I know some quilters can layer their quilts on a spare bed, but I personally don’t have much luck with that because the surface isn’t hard enough. The important thing when layering your quilt is to be able to spread th entire quilt out flat. Don’t have large sections hanging over the edge of the table because you can’t smooth the layers properly and you risk stretching the fabric.
Begin layering with the backing fabric
Lay the backing fabric with right side down, so you can only see the wrong side of the fabric. Smooth gently so that it is flat. It can be helpful here to tape the edges of the backing fabric to the working surface. A small piece of sellotape or masking tape every 10″ or so.
Add the wadding
Lay the wadding on top of the backing fabric. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? When I began quilting I was told to smooth from the middle of the wadding outwards. That’s logical, but it didn’t work for me. No matter how careful I thought that I had been, somehow I always managed to skew the layers so that I ended up with the corners of the wadding not matching the corners of the backing fabric.
The way that works for me when I am layering my quilts is to lay the wadding roughly in place and then begin smoothing from one corner. By smoothing along the two edges leading from that corner, I can be sure that the wadding is layered true against the backing fabric.
The final layer is the patchwork quilt top
When you are happy that those two layers are smooth against each other, lay the patchwork quilt top on the wadding. Place the corner of the quilt top 2″ in from the edges of the wadding. For this layer I still begin at the corner and smooth along the two edges. Then when you are happy that all the quilt layers are lying flat against each other, give an additional smooth from the middle working outwards.
Layering your quilt is one of those steps like pressing the quilt top that is worth spending time getting right in order to save yourself time and heartache later on.