It's Week Three of the Modern Flying Geese Class!

It's time to put your quilt together, quilt it and bind it.

Make sure you press your quilt top and bottom well before you start your quilt sandwich.   If your batting is really creased let it sit open overnight to relax.  If you are using a cotton or cotton mix batting you can put it the drier on cool for a few minutes if you have creases.

Here's a link to a great tutorial on Board Basting which is a really easy way to sandwich and baste a quilt.  I'm planning give a demonstration of this technique in class.  This technique has really made basting a quilt faster, easier and much more fun.  I recommend it.  You certainly can also make your sandwich on the floor or on a table if you have one large enough for your quilt. That's how I basted my quilts for many years.

I baste quilts with small curved safety pins.  I put my quilt top of my cutting mat to avoid scratching the surface I'm working on.  I put in a pin in the quilt about 4 inches apart.  If the material I used in the quilt is slippery then closer would be better.  You need to take out the safety pins as you approach them when you are quilting.   Keep an eye open for where they are as you quilt.

If you are still fairly new to quilting, I recommend using your walking foot for quilting.  The feed dog in your sewing machine move the fabric forward on the bottom of your quilt sandwich.  The walking foot acts like a feed dog on the top of your quilt.  With the walking foot, your machine should just move your quilt forward along as you sew.  If you find yourself pushing or pulling the quilt look check what is happening.  Is your quilt caught on the edge of the table or dragging along the inside of your machine?   I find those are 2 common reasons why my stitching slows or the quilt not moving forward well.


Each time you start to a new line of quilting, pull out the bobbin thread to the top of the quilt.  You can use the up-down on your machine if it has one.  Or you can do it with the wheel of the sewing machine.  This prevent those nasty bird nest knots on the back of the quilt and allows you to give your quilt a beautiful finish.  

Do the same thing at the end of a row but in the opposite order--look the thread, then pull up the bobbin thread.

As you start to quilt, hold onto the 2 threads as you start to stitch.  Lock the first several stitches.  You can go forward and back a few stitches or use the knot feature on your machine if you have one.  If you want a show quality quilt, decrease your stitch length to zero and take 2-3 stitches in place. 

To finish off the pair of threads on the top of the quilt.  There are a couple options:

  • Clip the thread close to the quilt. 
  • Bury the threads in the middle of the quilt. It's really easy to do if you use a self-threading needle.

 For the quilting stitching:

Increase your stitch length to someplace between 2.6 and 2.8 for quilting.

Experiment with utility stitches on your machine.  Some of them will create fun quilting lines.  If your machine has quilting stitches experiment with them too.   Using 2 layers of 9 1/2 x 11 inch felt squares creates a good imitation of your quilt sandwich.  Try out your stitching on the double layer of felt.  (Hat tip to the wise quilter on the internet who suggested this....I don't know where I read it. It's great and I use this technique all the time).

To sew straight lines across blocks or to extend diagonals from your block, use a strip of painters tape.  It makes a great straight line.  Make sure to sew beside the tape--about 1/8 inch away from it.  If you sew over the tape it's hard, but not impossible, to remove the tape.   I don't recommend masking tape--it can leave adhesive on your quilt top.  

If you have experience and would rather do free motion quilting that is fine.  I'm not planning to teach free motion quilting in this class.

Your batting manufacturer will specify how close your quilting lines need to be to secure the batting you purchase. If varies from batting to batting.  Aiming for quilting lines no further than 4 inches apart is usually a reasonable guideline for quilting.

Once you have finished your quilting, you are ready to bind the quilt.  

Square up your quilt:  Put your cutting mat on a table and put one edge of your quilt on the table.  Make sure it is flat, nothing is folded over on the bottom and that the quilt isn't getting pulled anywhere.  Using your 24 inch ruler, cut a straight edge on the edge of the quilt.  At the corners you should have a 90 degree angle between adjacent sides of the quilt.  Trim it to achieve a 90 degree corner if needed. 

The stripes of fabric for the binding are 2 1/2 inches wide.  Sew them together on a diagonal.  If you feel more comfortable sewing the strips end-to-end, that's fine too.  Then fold the binding strip in half along the length of the strip, with the raw edges together. Press.   Now your binding is ready for the quilt. 

Start about 1/2 way down the right side of your quilt.  Leave the first 10 inches of your binding loose.  You'll need those 10 inches to sew to the other end of the binding once you've sewn your binding on the quilt. 

The binding is sewn on the TOP of the quilt.  Line up the raw edges of the binding with the raw edges of the quilt.  

  • Using your walking foot, sew a line 1/4 inch away from the raw edge of your quilt/binding. 
  • Stop sewing 1/4 inch from the corner of the quilt, back stitch a couple stitches
  • Fold the binding UP over the edge of the quilt.  You should see a nice 45 degree angle in the binding when you fold it up.  
  • Finger press that 45 degree angle of the binding. 
  • Fold DOWN the binding over that 45 degree fold.  This makes a mitered corner.  Aligning the raw edged of your binding with the next side of your quilt.  
  • Start sewing at the top edge of the quilt.
  • Continue sewing the binding on the quilt.  
  • When you are back on the side where you started the binding, stop 10 inches before you reach your initial starting point.
  • Lay the two strips of binding side by side.  The loose ends need to overlap 2 1/2 inches. Trim off the excess binding.
  • Unfold the binding.  Put the right sides together--the short end of one piece binding is aligned to the end of the long side of the other end of the binding. See photo.   Pin or glue!  Before you sew, check to make sure you haven't accidentally twisted either end of the binding pieces. 
  • Sew a 45 degree line across the 2 pieces of binding.  Draw a diagonal line across the binding to sew along if that makes it easier for you.
  • Fold the binding again.  It should lie flat.   If it looks fine, open the fold again and trim the diagonal seam to 1/4 inch.
  • Once the ends of the binding are sewn together, the binding should perfectly fit along the edge of the quilt.  Finish attaching the binding, restarting at the 1/4 inch seam where you left off sewing and sew until you have crossed your initial stitching.
  • Now fold the finished side of the binding over to the Back side of the quilt. Pin.  Hand sew the binding to the back of the quilt.   The corners on the back should be easily mitered--forming a diagonal 45 degree angle. You may need to wiggle it around a bit to get it perfect but it's doable.

I used a scrappy binding for the quilt in these photos.  That's why the color of the binding keeps changing!


Add a label to the back of your quilt.  Make sure to put your name, a date and a location where you made the quilt.  You may make a label from another piece of fabric.  Some quilters just write their name and dae on the back of the quilt. 

Indelible PIGMA micron pens are great for writing labels.  Iron the label to fix the ink from the pen so it doesn't wash out.

You may also print labels on your computer using a regular ink jet cartridge.   Cotton fabric with paper on the back may be purchased for fabric printing.   You may also cut freezer paper 9 1/2 x 11 inches and iron the shiny side of the freezer paper to the WRONG side of the fabric you wish to print. The freezer paper will stiffen the fabric so the printer can pull it through as it prints.

I've had fun using the selvages from the fabrics in the quilt on my quilt labels.  Click the link to see my post about making selvage labels

I hope you've had fun making a Modern Flying Geese quilt in this class, and that you've learned some new skills as well!