Tutorial: How to Make a Tacked Quilt with Cuddle Fabric
I finally did it! I made a quilt using Cuddle Fabric and didn't hate the process. Now that is a big win from the start!
I typically am the kind of quilter who takes the path of least resistance. I like quick, easy, pain free projects. I don't get any thrill out of trying something new or hard, it's just not how I function. But I have been curious for a long time about how to back a quilt with Cuddle Fabric. So I thought I'd give it a go and I took a bunch of pictures along the way to show you how I did it.
The general idea is to make one GIANT pillow essentially and tack the quilt throughout to keep it together and keep it from shifting. I did NOT want to actually quilt this project because Cuddle Fabric is a knit and the shifting that would happen would probably make me throw my machine out of the window. I also didn't want to tie or hand quilt the quilt. I wanted a quick and fast way to secure the quilt top and cuddle backing together.
Sidewalk Chalk Quilt Top, pattern can be found here or any finished quilt top.
Lux Cuddle Fabric, I used this in whatever size you need for your quilt back.
A Walking Foot
Pins - lots!
I went to Modern Domestic here in Portland, OR to pick up some Luxe Cuddle by Shannon Fabrics. It is SO so so so soft that you just can't stop touching it. I used the Ivory fabric here. It is 58"/60" wide which is perfect because my quilt top is 54" x 64" finished. So I bought 2 yards of Cuddle.
One thing to know about Cuddle is that it will leave little puffs allllll over your house. To try and limit the amount of Cuddle puffs in my house, I left the Selvedges as is, lined up my quilt to one side of the Cuddle and only trimmed the excess on the sides down once I had pinned them in place. It'll make more sense in a bit but this is my warning to NOT trim down your cuddle backing to size BEFORE you pin.
But first up, what do you need to make working with Cuddle as pain free as possible? PINS PINS PINS, a walking foot and a bit of patience.
Also, if you really hate looking at lose thread on the back of a quilt top... you may want to look away. I did NOT trim anything so my quilt top back looks a hot mess. :) But that is how I roll, especially on a new experimental project I am keeping for myself.
1. Make a Right Sides Together Sandwich.
I laid down my cuddle nice and flat on the floor, did not secure it at all but had it Right Side up. Then I went ahead and laid out my Sidewalk Chalk quilt top Right Side down on top of the Cuddle. I made sure that the quilt top lined up with the top left corner of the cuddle which meant there was excess Cuddle at the bottom and right side of the quilt top.
Now, we will be pinning and sewing ONE SIDE AT A TIME. We will not be pinning and then sewing the whole thing together at once like a normal pillow process. By pinning and sewing one side at a time, it allows for more control of the seam and the shifting of the fabric. Start pinning about an inch away from the top edge. I would pin either end, the middle, and then slowly keep adding pins throughout the spaces so that there is a very steady row of pins.
Then to make sure that we eliminate as much shifting as possible, we will add another row of pins alternating the first row. This second row of pins is very important because it basically keeps the first 2 inches of cuddle and quilt top steady.
#2 Sew the Top of the Quilt.
Make sure to use a walking foot and bump up your stitch length a bit, I used 3.0 to account for the extra thickness of the fabric going through the machine. Start by dropping your needle 1/2" from the top left corner of the quilt, sew an inch and backstitch. Then continue to sew a 1/2" seam all the way across until you get to the top right of the quilt and stop at 1/2" from the edge and backstitch.
#3. Remove the Pins and Repeat Steps 1-2 for the Left Side.
Because we "left justified" our quilt top to our backing, start by pinning in the same fashion down the left side of the quilt sandwich. This is the side that should already be lined up with the quilt top, finagle it as you need to to get the cuddle and quilt top aligned.
Now again, drop the needle 1/2" from the edge of the quilt, backstitch it in place and continue sewing 1/2" seam all the way down the edge of the quilt.
When you get to the end of the side, stop 1/2" from the edge, backstitch in place.
#4 Take Out Pins, Smooth the Top and Cuddle and Now Pin the Right Side.
Now that two sides have been sewn, it's time to pin and sew the right side of the quilt. This is the side that should have the excess Cuddle fabric. DO NOT TRIM until you have pinned your pieces together. Once pinned together, go ahead and trim the excess off.
NOTE: At this point I want to note that I did NOT think about using a 1/2" seam allowance on the edges with a quilt top that doesn't have borders. That means that my points are lost on my HRTs on the edges. It doesn't bother me but be mindful of the pattern or quilt top you are using when doing this method.
Once again, drop your needle at 1/2" from the edge of the corner, backstitch and continue sewing down the right side of the quilt. Be sure to stop 1/2" from the bottom, backstitch into place.
#5 Take Out Pins, Smooth Top Out and Pin the Bottom.
We will do basically the same process as the other sides except we need to leave at least a 6" gap (I did more like 12") unpinned and unsewn in the center of the bottom. This is so we can stick our whole arm in and turn the quilt right side out. I would pin each corner, then find your two center marks where you will stop sewing and pin those. Then continue to pin as we have on either side of the "no pin zone". Once you are pinned, trim the last of the excess off the bottom.
Now you will sew exactly how we have done for the other sides but when you get to the "no sew zone", leaving your needle down, turn the quilt and sew through to the bottom, backstitching to secure the edge. We do that so when you are putting your arm into the quilt top and pulling all the fabric right side out, we don't rip the seam we just made.
Then you will do this for the other side of the "no sew zone" until you've completed the whole bottom edge.
Woo! You have done so much good work! And pretty pain free I might add. It is time to right side out your quilt!
#6 Right Side Out Your Quilt and Pin the Open Gap Closed.
Carefully put your arm into the gap and pull all the fabric out. Find the corners and make sure you poke them to make the corners more sharp. I used my little sewing machine screw driver to help me out.
Be sure to fold in your quilt top and cuddle back in the gap about 1/2" and pin in place. From here, you could whip stitch it shut or like me (the fast, lazy way), just stitch it closed when you sew a securing seam all the way around the quilt.
#7 Sew a Securing Seam All the Way Around the Quilt.
Starting in one of the corners, drop your needle 1/4 -1/3" in from the corner, backstitch and then continue sewing all the way around the quilt top, pivoting at the corners until you're back at the starting place. Be sure to backstitch there as well. Also, this is the seam that will secure your gap in place.
Your quilt is now secured together and the edges won't shift or roll over to the front or back side! YAY! Now comes the easiest "quilting" I've ever done.
#8 Tack your Quilt.
This idea was suggested to me by a friend who works at Modern Domestic. A very easy way to just secure the back and top together so no massive shifting happens with use. I did not want to quilt it like normal and I don't have a free motion foot to easily slide fabric through my machine. I used my zig zag stitch at 3.0 width and 1.5 length in stitch. I decided to only tack on the cream fabrics so the tacking wouldn't be visible when looking at the quilt. I also decided to just randomly tack throughout the cream pieces because I didn't want it to feel planned.
I truly just started with the top row and stitched a zig zag stitch for about 1/4", backstitched over it, cut the thread and moved on. I continued doing that with each cream piece. Some pieces have 2 tacks, some only have a single tack. It was SO quick and easy.
And by backstitching over the original zig zag you are basically stitching the thread into place so all you have to do is trim the excess thread.
I do apologize for how hard it is to see in some of these photos because I wanted the thread to blend in.
I think I finished tacking this quilt top in about 30 minutes. SO quick. And it is the softest most drapey quilt ever and I love it! The Sidewalk Chalk Quilt Pattern in itself is super fast so this is the best last minute make or just a fast satisfying finish!
Big plus, my son LOVES it and told me he wants me to make all of my quilts with Cuddle Fabric. And I think he is right. This was way easier than I expected and can't wait to finish more quilts this way.