With all the pieces cut and interfaced, I started to sew the rows together first. The interfacing was really light-weight, and there was still some distortion from the presser foot, which made getting the corners to line up more difficult. After I sewed all the rows together I experimented with the serger for the columns, and found that it did a really nice job of keeping the layers even with its differential feed.
Serging eliminated the fabric distortion and kept all the corners lined up, but it did make stitching in the ditch more difficult later, because the seam allowances could not be opened up.
With the blocks being so large they went together pretty quickly, and I decided to hand baste them to the cotton batting. I am a recent convert to hand basting and prefer it to anything when it comes time for precision. Pins always seem to slip when you last want them to, and I end up getting stabbed. Hand basting takes only a little longer than pinning, is way more durable, and you won’t get poked when trying to manage the piece.
This is a long, running stitch to keep all the blocks down and flat to the batting before machine sewing them all together. It’s not the straightest, but it gets the job done. After the machine stitching is done, I squared up the batting, leaving 4 inches for the border. I measured out the 4 inches, then squared it off using a drywall square. If there had been more going on with the quilt blocks, I probably would have needed to square up the blocks themselves, but these stayed pretty good.
Next, I basted the fleece backing onto the entire quilt. I decided to do this step separate, so that the fleece back was less interrupted, compared to traditional quilt technique, where all the layers are sewn together. To keep the backing from slouching and moving around I did machine stitch it down in two locations, at 1/3rd the length.
This stitch is more a tailors technique for basting, but allowed me to move through all the layers a little faster, compared to the running stitch. The center line is a seam. On the other side, you can see how the stitch resembles pins, and really hold things tight.
Instead of a traditional binding finish, I ran the backing long, at twice the width of finished edge. Here, the edge finishes at 4 inches, so I cut the binding at 8 inches beyond the edge of the quilt, plus an extra half-inch to fold under and eliminate the raw edge. This technique is very similar to an edge binding, except that you don’t need to cut and join the strips. It also limits your edging to whatever your backing may be.
Here is the edge turned over to the right side of the quilt and basted into place. Where the purple edge meets the T-shirts is folded under the 1/2 inch to keep everything tidy. At the corners, I opted not to miter, to keep the square theme going. The corners were simply turned over each-other, in the same fashion as the edges.
After machine sewing, all the basting is pulled out, and the quilt is finished.
See part one: Re-direction