Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How to Block Quilts

When I finished quilting my Outlined Plus mini last week, the quilt did not lay flat due to the straight line quilting on the bias.  You can see the waves below, this was definitely not attractive so I blocked the quilt to flatten it.  Some people had asked about blocking a quilt so I took some pictures to show my process.


I do not block all of my quilts, I typically block quilts for magazines, show quilts, and minis.  I find that blocking makes the quilt lie flat and hang really nicely.  I usually do not block bed quilts or anything larger than a lap size (I find that these usually lay pretty flat and even if they are a little wavy, you can’t really tell on a bed).

Disclaimer – This is how I block my quilts, if you have a very delicate quilt or are worried about color bleeding, I suggest you alter or augment these directions.

I block my quilts after quilting and before trimming any of the excess backing and batting off.

Step 1 – Give the quilt a bath.  

I fill my bathtub with warm (not hot or cold) water and immerse the quilt for 5-10 minutes.  I gently move the quilt around in the water once and while.  I do not add anything to the water (no soap or detergent, Color Catchers, or Synthrapol).


Step 2 – Give the quilt a spin.  

I carry the quilt over to my washer machine and run it in the spin cycle for 3-5 minutes.  This gets a lot of the water out of the quilt.


Step 3 – Give the quilt some shape.  

I take my spun quilt and place it on my wall to wall carpeting.  (If you are worried about the quilt bleeding onto the carpet you can place a towel or sheet between the quilt and the carpet).  I slowly begin to flatten the quilt out, smoothing and tugging the quilt around to get the quilt to lie flat and the seams to be straight.  Some people use a laser level to help with the straightness. 

I use T-pins to pin the quilt to the carpet (my husband picked these up for me at Harbor Freight Tools, but they are available in virtually any hardware store and most craft stores).   I place the T pins in the batting all around the quilt top.  



In about half a day (you can turn on an overhead fan or place a box fan next to the quilt to speed up the drying), the quilt is dry and ready to be trimmed and bound. The quilt is now nice and flat, what an improvement!


And here is my Outlined Plus mini quilt, bound and finished.  I hope you try blocking your quilt the next time you have a quilt that does not lay exactly flat after quilting :)


I am very happy to link up with Main Crush Monday @ Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Heart Quilts, Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt Story, Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts, and Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation.








24 comments:

  1. Wow. It's really impressive how flat it got! Thanks for the detailed post. I've always been intimidated about blocking until now.

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  2. This is excellent advice. Thank you for taking the time to provide such a thorough tutorial.

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  3. Ah ha! You read my mind! I've yet to have cause to block a quilt, but when the time comes, I have your account as a resource. Thanks!

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  4. Thanks for showing us how to block a small quilt. I didn't know what to do with some that just were too wavy.

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  5. Thanks for sharing this tutorial. I've never tried blocking but now that I'm making more quilts with odd cuts I definitely will try it!

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  6. I only ever had to block a quilt once and with no carpet to pin it too it was a pain - I love how flat and perfectly neat you got it!

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  7. I love your plus mini quilt. I'm all about pluses and even though we've seen all the possibilities, here's a new one for me! great binding.

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  8. I've never had issues with a quilt not laying flat, but I'm sure it will happen some time! I'll have to remember this tutorial when that happens, thanks for sharing! :)

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  9. Thanks so much for the great pictures and instructions!

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  10. That really is a great improvement. I will be keeping this in mind for future reference.

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  11. Well isn't that interesting. Never heard of this before. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Thanks for the tips. I've never heard of this, but it would definitely been helpful for a couple of my past quilts.

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  13. I have never blocked a quilt, but have encouraged me to try it...one day! It made such a difference on your mini! Thank you for sharing!

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  14. Thanks so much for sharing your technique, Cheryl! That is a super sweet mini and looks so perfect after blocking!

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  15. Great tutorial, just wish I'd read it earlier. Love your mini.

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  16. Wow, I can't believe it made such a big difference! Your mini looks so good. I've never blocked a quilt yet and always wondered how and why it was done. Now I know, and if I ever need to block a quilt I will know how. Thanks Cheryl!

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  17. It's quite impressive how something as simple as blocking helped this little one lay so flat. Thanks for sharing your process.

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  18. So the process for blocking quilts is very similar to blocking knitted items. Very nice! I use foam boards with grids to block mine. The grids are really helpful. Thanks for sharing this, Cheryl!

    -Soma

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  19. This is the process I use and yes, it makes a big difference! Great tutorial and clear photos.

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  20. Wow what a difference this makes - it's crazy! Thank you for sharing this - I think I might give a try the next time one of my quilts is waving at me!

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  21. Thanks for the instructions I will have to try this.

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  22. As a knitter, I'm very well versed in blocking (especially sweaters!) but it never occurred to me to block a quilt. Who knew, but you can definitely see a difference in the photos above. Thanks for the tip.

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  23. Cheryl, my mom always blocked her tatting and crochet projects. You picked the perfect quilt to demonstrate how wonderfully blocking works on quilts too. Thank you for the great tutorial!

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  24. Thank you!!! I have been doing a variation of this for years but this is the best how to tutorial on the process I've seen. Doing it before you trim your batting and pinning in the batting is genius:-)

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Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!