Jungle fun baby quilt

Jungle fun baby quilt

Machine quilting preparations are crucial to your success in quilting.  I am beginning this machine quilting series of articles using a jungle fun baby quilt that I designed to be simple to construct and to have lots of open spaces for machine quilting.  The quilt top measures 38.1/2″ square before quilting so I have cut 42″ squares of backing fabric and wadding.  I recommend cutting these to give about 2″ extra all the way round the quilt top.  In this case that fitted with the normal width of fabric so that meant I didn’t have to piece the quilt backing.

Machine quilting preparations: the backing

Good preparation is essential to smooth machine quilting.  Press the fabric well.  You’ll probably need steam to remove the fold line in the fabric.  I prefer to use starchon both the backing and the quilt top.  It gives a bit more strength to the fabric and makes it less likely to rumple as you quilt.

Holding the starch spray can about 8″ away from the fabric, spray across the entire backing on the wrong side.  Turn the fabric over and press it on the right side.  This way you get any excess starch on the ironing board cover, not the iron.  it also just seems to work better to keep the backing flat for machine quilting.

Lay the backing fabric on the work surface with right side down against the table.

Preparing the wadding for machine quilting

No option of pressing here, but if you have the space it is a good idea to unroll the wadding a day before you need it and lay it somewhere flat to let the wrinkles ease out.  I’m told that you can achieve this by putting the wadding in the tumble drier for ten minutes, but I’ve never tried this.

Lay the wadding on the backing fabric.  It will be lying on the wrong side of the backing fabric.

Prepare the quilt top for machine quilting

As for the backing fabric, spray starch on the wrong side of the quilt top and then press it on the right side.  Lay the quilt top on the wadding with right side up – the wrong side lying on the wadding.  Smooth gently, working from the middle towards the edges.  The more smooth you can make the layers, the easier you will find it to machine quilt.

Baste the quilt layers before machine quilting

This is crucial.  You need the three layers to be as flat against each other as possible and to stay that way.  there are several different ways of basting for machine quilting:  you can spray using temporary adhesive, baste with thread or baste with pins.  These methods are all covered in separate articles:  spray basting, thread basting, pin basting. 

My current favourite is using sewing pins with a pinmoor covering on the tip of the pin.  I find this a simple way to pin the layers together without having to lift the layers up to fit a quilt safety pin in.  It’s easy to pin and, more importantly, easy to unpin during the machine quilting process.

With this last stage complete, your quilt is now ready for machine quilting.

Here’s the video:


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  1. Hi Rose, I just want to say A very Big Thank You for all the stuff you do on this site. Its helped me no end and I’m sure many other “not so good sewers” like me! Im now doing machine quilting on my domestic Janome machine and I’m reasonably pleased with the basic outcome. I still need lots of practice, as only doing straight line quilting. Love your stuff and info.

    • Thanks for those kind words, Wendy. I’m so pleased that you’ve found my quilting articles helpful. I just love being able to share with so many beginner quilters from all over the world.

  2. Hi Rose just saw your great quilt as you go only using machine technique. It looked great and might suit the project I am doing. Can I ask you how much bigger did you cut your backing than each block?

    • Hi Sue. Sorry it’s taken me a while to reply. I almost always cut the backing fabric about 2″ all round larger than the quilt block. Usually I then have to trim it back, but I always feel safer having too much fabric for the backing rather than too little. It also means that I can keep my options open for whether I want to add sashing. Hope that helps.

  3. ELLA WILSON says:


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