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How do you handle sewing quilt tops?

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    How do you handle sewing quilt tops?

    What I'm talking about is how do you make it so the heavy quilt top doesn't move or distort the seams as you are sewing rows together? I usually sit most of it on the left side of my sewing table and have it sitting in my lap, but I wonder if there might be a better way?

    There's nothing more directly linked to who we are than the fabric that we make.
    --Ken Burns

    I do it in sections to minimize. So if i have 6 rows bn i sew the top three rows together then the bottom three rows the sew those two big pieces together. It really helps me. I use fork pins to match intersections and straight for the rest. I've always been a pinner.


    everyone has there own way. I found having a chair in front of my sewing table helps.i place some of the quilt on the table and some on the chair since it likes to slide off anyway. Works for me.
    I did make one in three sections not long ago. hadn't tried that in years. interesting but not sure I'll go there again.


      I have a table to the left of my sewing machine table (in an L) that I put most of the bulk on. Before I got the table I used my big ironing board to make the L...the height of it is adjustable.

      If my quilt has twelve rows, I will sew rows 1-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12 as units. Then I sew the units together. This is what Rachel does (above). It works well but remember to number your units so you don’t scramble up your layout.

      Scottie Mom Barb


      • Debbie Watters
        Debbie Watters commented
        Editing a comment
        I used to use my ironing board also to hold the quilt ... now I have a desk that my machine sits level down in, and my husband has added additional leaves to both the left side and the back of the desk ... this works well for me!

      I sew blocks together in quadrants as it's easier to match shorter seams than longer ones. Sometimes, I stay-stitch around the quadrants and press.

      Then I work on the top half getting it done. Then the bottom half. There is only one long seam across the quilt to join the two halves.

      Are you using the extension table with your machine set up?


      • Rob the HOAQ
        Rob the HOAQ commented
        Editing a comment
        I am, but I'm actually thinking of getting one from Sew Steady that is custom-made for it and measures 18x24. The one that came with the machine if good, but in some instances not really big enough.

      I have a Sew Steady extension table which was custom made for my machine. It's the 18x24" one. I also keep an ironing board on the L. side of my table to help support the quilt. Yes, numbering the rows is essential! I use sticky notes, but I pin them in place, on the first block on the L. end of each row. I also label which direction I press the seams so the seams match up. I have other sticky notes with arrows on them. I do like Barb does -- sew fewer rows together, then add them as needed & finally do the middle seam. I also start in the middle & sew to the outer edges on each row. I also do this when sewing blocks if the block measures >9". It may seam like extra work, but the accuracy outcome is much better. I also press as I go.

      When I first learned to quilt, I used to press my row seams open. I no longer do that; I press them all down. I think it makes the backing stronger.