Week 10 of the 2021 American Patchwork & Quilting Quilt-Along starts on 4/26. The assignment is to finish the quilt. Here are some helpful tips. See more about the Quilt-Along here.

This week, we're finishing and binding the quilt. At this point, you're probably in one of a few different camps. Maybe you're calling your longarm quilter to get this on their schedule and they'll take it from here. It's out of your hands! Maybe you own a longarm machine yourself or are a pro at free-motion quilting on your domestic machine and are wondering how to pick a design. Or maybe you're a beginner and want to try quilting this on your domestic machine – and are panicking about how to do that. Let's turn to the original quilt for inspiration!

The original quilt was quilted by Marion Bott, who chose a Baptist fan design across the quilt. Because the quilt is very geometric and has lots of 90-degree corners, a curved quilting design like a Baptist fan softens the design and adds a textural element in contrast to the quilt's design. But the geometric design of this quilt would also look great with geometric-type quilting like squares, triangles, or even some funky angles for a more modern feel.

And if you're tackling this on your domestic machine and are newer to quilting, this quilt is a great one to start on! Because this quilt has obvious and straight seam lines across the entire quilt, you can just sew straight lines following the quilt's design to achieve a professional and clean look.

There are lots of options, and a lot details to know for both quilting and binding, so see more resources below:

What are some tips for preparing my quilt backing?

  • Your backing should be at least 4" larger than your quilt top on all sides.
  • Press backing seams open to reduce bulk.
  • Use a 1/2" seam or a true 1/4" seam (not a scant 1/4") for the backing seams.

What type of batting is best for this quilt?

The batting you choose should complement the nature and use of your finished quilt. Check package labels, talk to other quilters, and test samples to find a batting with the qualities that are important for your project.

How do I choose a quilting design for this quilt?

  • Think about the personality of the quilt: Is it formal or whimsical, modern or traditional, elegant or casual? Consider stitching motifs that match the mood of the quilt.
  • Evaluate the quilt's intended use and recipient: Are you making a quilt for a baby or child, which will get plenty of use and likely be washed and dried? In this case, an allover design might be best. It it an heirloom quilt that will be displayed on special occasions? More elaborate quilting may be called for in that case.
  • Keep a three-ring binder of quilting designs, including sketches or printouts of designs you want to try or actual "stitchouts" of patterns you've mastered. If you're sending a quilt out to be finished, see if your quilter has such a book showing what allover, edge-to-edge designs are offered. These may be free-motion designs or pantographs (patterns that are rolled out behind the machine and followed with a laser stylus).
  • Get creative with custom quilting. If you want more than an allover design, consider custom quilting, which can range from stitching in the ditch to feathered wreaths to interlocking circles or other shapes. If you're sending a quilt out to be finished, see if your quilter has photos of custom quilt previously done.

What's the best method to sew on the binding?

Continuous binding with no bulk is easy to do. Here are two ways to add binding to your quilt for a flawless finish!

Should I add a quilt label?

Here are some tips for writing and printing on fabric to add your quilt label.