How To Put a Quilt on a Quilting Frame

Quilting takes patience, and putting a quilt on a quilting frame takes extra patience and care. You wouldn’t want to ruin your layers of fabric.

Here’s how you can do it right:

  • Gather your materials first. Get your quilt frame, quilt top and back, batting, safety pins, and frame pins.
  • Lay out your quilt backing on a flat, clean surface. The pattern side should be facing down. If there are wrinkles or any bunched up areas, smooth them out.
  • Lay the batting on top of the backing. Follow with the quilt top and lay it down with its right side facing up. You have three layers which should be evenly placed on top of each other and according to how you want them to be positioned after you finish the quilt.
  • Pin the layers with safety pins. Place pins all over the surface of the quilt top, to hold all three layers together. Start either at the top or at the bottom of the quilt. Place the pins approximately 6 inches apart.
  • Drape the quilt layer over the quilt frame. Position the quilt backing over the frame with its right side facing down. The edges of your quilt should reach up to the edges of your frame. However, in instances where your quilt frame cannot hold your entire quilt since it is too wide, you have to position the center of the quilt onto the frame first. Then work your way from the center going to the outside and the edges. If the edges of the quilt do not reach the edges of the frame, adjust the frame as necessary until the fabric reaches the edges of the frame.
  • Secure the quilt layer onto the frame. This will depend on the type of frame that you’re using. Frames that are round and oval usually have a loop, which is used to clamp the quilt on. Frames that are square have pins which are used to tack the quilt backing onto it. Some square frames also have leader cloths used to pin the backing to.
  • Check the tension on the quilt layers. It’s important to have an even consistency of pull on the quilt. When you have the quilt fastened onto a frame, it should neither be too tight nor too loose. It should be flat, but still flexible. It also should not droop.

    Roller quilt frames are set up differently from a simple round, oval or square frame. If you are using a roller quilt frame, follow the steps below:

  • Attach leader cloths as necessary. Roller quilt frames have three rollers, each containing a leader cloth.
  • Measure the leader cloths and find their centers. With a pencil, put a mark on the leader cloths along the edge of the fabric.
  • Mark the center point on your backing fabric. Make a small crease at the edge of your backing fabric by pinching it to mark its center point. Line the crease with the mark on the leader cloth.
  • Pin the entire edge of the backing to the leader cloth. Make sure that the backing hangs down straight. Roll the backing up into the roller as gently as possible.
  • Attach the batting to the top roller. Follow what you did earlier when you attached the edge of the backing fabric to the leader cloth. When it is securely attached, rotate the roller for half a turn.
  • Center the edge of the quilt top against the batting. Keep it 1-2 inches from the edge of the batting. Make sure that both the quilt top and batting runs even and horizontally across the roller. Roll the quilt top and batting up the roller.  
  • Drape the loose end of the backing over the top of the frame. Secure the edge of the backing to the leader cloth of the front roller.
  • Pull the quilt top and batting over the front roller. Pin both to the backing. Roll the front roller until the lead edges of the backing, batting, and quilt top are all aligned with the front roller.
  • Quilt the entire length. After quilting, roll the three layers over to the front roller for the quilt to advance. Quilt the entire length again. Continue advancing the roller and quilting every section until you have covered the entire area of your quilt.       

The whole process of quilting is very delicate. But if you follow these steps thoroughly, quilting will run more smoothly for you.


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