Triangle Quiltalong – Quilting

Triangle Quiltalong - Quilting Tutorial

In today’s post of the Triangle Quiltalong, I will talk about the quilting process.

There are lot’s of different ways to do this and there is no real right or wrong technique, just what you find suits you.

I’m definitely no quilting expert, so some of my skills could do with improving, but as they say ‘Practice makes Perfect’ and like any craft, the process of learning and doing is just as important as the end product.

I think the quilting stage has been my favourite part of making this triangle quilt so far because once it’s done the quilt really gains so much personality.

As a sewist/sewer I used to be very intimidated by this stage of quilt making, but thanks to a few tricks I’ve picked up along the way, I feel much more confident in my skills now.

Before you start quilting you need a back fabric panel and some batting (the bit that goes in between the front and back), both need to be slightly bigger than your quilt top.

Choosing your batting:

Your choice of batting will depend on how warm and lofty you want your quilt to be, as well as your budget. There are lots of types commercially available as well as some options you may not have considered.

Cotton, bamboo, or cotton/bamboo blends are light to mid weight and not very thick. An ideal option if you are just starting out as it’s not to heavy to get through a machine. Machine washable with about 3-4% shrinkage will give a nice crinkled effect.

Wool is good if you want more warmth, a little heavier and thicker gives a loftier effect after quilting. You’ll need to hand wash or the batting may felt up. One of the more expensive options.

Polyester is the cheapest option and usually very thick and fluffy. It’s a synthetic fiber and the really thick stuff is quite hard to quilt, sometimes the fibers can pop through the fabric. Not a great choice for beginners but does have it’s use in some projects.

Combinations like cotton/poly, wool/poly and such may suit your budget as they are a little cheaper than 100% natural fiber options.

Other alternatives include an old woolen blanket, thick cotton flannel, polar fleece (I’ve used it) or maybe you may choose to use no batting at all if you want a super light quilt.

If you need help the staff at your local quilting store are very knowledgeable and can give you great advice on batting choice.

Quilt back:

Depending on how large your quilt front is you may need to piece a back together. Extra wide quilt back fabric is available but in the spirit of using remnants I choose to cobble some pieces I had laying about together.

Sheets are a good option for a quilt back but make sure it is not worn as it’s likely to tear with repeated use.

Quilt back


Time to make a quilt sandwich by layering your batting between your top and back, then you baste.

sandwich the quilt batting between top and back

Basting is the term for joining your three layers together so they don’t move around whilst quilting.

There are a few ways to do this, a traditional way is hand sewing long ‘basting’ stitches (like a long running stitch) across the quilt in a star like pattern radiating from the center. These long stitches are removed after the quilting is done.

Others like to use lots of safety pins all over the quilt and remove them as they go along.

quilt batting adhesive spray

My preferred option is to use a Basting Spray. It’s a water soluble glue in a spray can that makes your fabric tacky and sticks the layers together.

It can be a little noxious to use, so I recommend working in a well ventilated area and/or using a mask. I actually have applique spray here, but I think it’s pretty interchangeable. The adhesive washes out or wears off with use.

Work on a protected area because over spray can be an issue. I wasn’t too worried about my wooden floor because if just comes off with a damp cloth, but I imagine carpet would be harder to clean.

basting spray

I like to fold half of the fabric over, spray the batting working from the center out and smooth the layers together, then do the other side. Follow the directions on the can in regards to coverage and spray distance. Flip over the quilt and repeat.

Machine Quilting:

Finally it’s ready to quilt. Decide on your design and you will need to start working from the center out. Roll the sides of your quilt up to help it fit under the arm of your machine.

roll eges of quilt - quilting tutorial My

Load up plenty of bobbins, there is nothing more annoying than having to re load bobbins mid session. I have no advice on which thread or needles are best apart from 100% cotton thread is less damaging to fabric in the long run. In saying that I’ve used polyester thread as I wanted my stitching to be neon.

neon bobbins

Time to sew. You may want to test on some scraps to adjust your presser foot pressure and tension. A medium stitch length is ideal. Start from one end and sew.

I used my triangles as a stitching guide so the design was pretty simple to create. You will need to help guide the quilt through as it will be too heavy for the feed dogs to pull through on their own.

Take regular breaks, it can be hard work if your quilt is very large (especially when its 36 degrees! I’m dedicated).

sewing machine quilting tutorial

If you have a walking foot, use it. These are great as it helps feed the top layer of fabric at the same rate as the bottom. It helps prevent puckering and pulling.

Some machines come with these as a bonus, so you may have one floating around the bottom of your sewing accessory kit, otherwise they can be purchased as optional accessories. A walking foot is certainly worth the investment.

sewing machine walking foot

You will get the hang of it after a while, just be mindful that the layers don’t move around when you are sewing. Keep repositioning the quilt as you go.

Sometimes when stitch lines cross each other you can get some puckering where they meet, it happened to me a couple of times but luckily it wasn’t too noticeable.

quilting tutorial

This was the finished quilting design. I love how the stitch lines intersect to form little stars.

triangle quilt quilting design

And this is the back.

quilt back finished

Here is one of the flaws in the quilting where the fabric has puckered as the stitching overlapped.

flaws in my quilt

I’m super happy with how it turned out, and it has been my most successful attempt at quilting so far. The texture the quilting adds really enhances the design in my opinion. What do you think? Have you ever been intimidated by the quilting process?

star of david in quilt pattern

Next time I’ll show you how to bind and finish the Triangle Quilt. Nearly done!

Do you feel like joining in? I’d love you to leave a comment with links to any pictures of your progress, or just hashtag #TriangleQuiltalong on Instagram.

Triangle Quiltalong series:


  • Anna Wakeley says:

    Finally! A tutorial on quilting that makes sense. Thank you thank you thank you.


  • Helen Asher says:

    Fantastic! I recently finished the front of my quilt but had lost confidence in being able to actually quilt it, your blog post has spurred me on! Thanks, Helen

  • Teresa says:

    Do you have quiltalongs or things like that very often? I think it sounds fun and would like to join in on something like that. I’m signing up for your blog so maybe I can do the next one. Great tutorial! Can’t wait to see your finished quilt.

    • Miss Cinti @ My Poppet says:

      Thanks Teresa, this is my first one. There is no time limit so feel free to start along whenever you like. I’m not much into ‘rules’.
      The whole idea was to break the stages up into realistic lessons so readers could progress at their own pace. Sometimes I feel that tutorials for very big projects can be intimidating and put people off attempting them.

      I hope you enjoy following the blog
      Cheers Cinti

  • Heather says:

    I sat down today and cut and assembled the top of my quilt with extra flannel leftover from Christmas pajama presents from last year. I thought I was going to have to save for the batting but I think I will try the more affordable polar fleece and see how it goes. So excited, this is my first quilt and your tutorial is awesome.

    • Miss Cinti @ My Poppet says:

      I’m so happy to hear that. I always improvise when it comes to sewing materials. It’s true what they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
      Thanks for your comment, I’d love to hear how you get along.
      x cinti

  • Yvonne says:

    I was cruising pinterest and I love quilting. I saw the triangle quilt and I love it. I have lots of scraps and am excited to get started. I have tried machine quilting but I had some puckering. I think this time I’ll get a walking foot. Keep on creating.

  • Kellie says:

    I am so thankful for your post about how in the world to quilt! And that spray stuff? Oh yah, I’m gettin me some of that! That looks like it saves a ton of time! I have a top all pieced for my daughter and folded up and stuck up in a cabinet bc I’ve been so intimidated about the next step and so afraid of messing up all of that hard work! No more! I am just going to dive in! Was wondering though, if you can’t find a walking foot (I live kind off of the grid), how do you adjust the presser foot?

    • Miss Cinti @ My Poppet says:

      A normal presser foot can still do the job, you may need to reduce the foot pressure, often there is a knob on the top of the machine that allows you to dial back the pressure. experiment on some scraps first.

  • Missy says:

    It used to bother me when I had flaws and puckering (in the quilt top or backing material), but I learned over the years to just let it go. #1, Martha Stewart, or even the quilting police are not ever going to come to your house and look at your quilts, #2, most people won’t even notice it, and#3, after awhile you forget they are there. Just remember that our mothers and grandmothers, etc., made quilts for warmth, and comfort…they were not perfect, but now they are beautiful and sometimes worth big money, flaws and all. Enjoy what you do, and have fun!

    • So true. You know what they say about being your own worse critic.

      I’ve become much more relaxed about things being perfect especially for personal projects, but I do like to do my best work for projects on the blog.

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