Quilting tip: Sandwich a scrap piece of your top fabric with the batting and backing to try out thread choices; work on adjusting even tension with the top and bottom thread. I used Madeira Cotona 30 wt. variegated cotton thread in the top and Mettler 50 wt. cotton in the bobbin, paired with a size 90 topstitch needle. Polyester batting doesn't shrink; it's a good choice for this project. I used DreamPoly brand batting. Other brands are lofty and slippery to machine quilt, but DreamPoly lies flat and cooperates.
Here's a close-up of the center. I quilted about half of the topper along the outside rings, giving it stability, before quilting into the center. I like the long hook quilted here. This is where your artistic interpretation and instincts take over, allowing you to decide what to quilt in the style you are following.
The purple backing really shows off the design. If your skills are just developing and you feel a bit shaky, use a busy print backing to ease your critical eye. Keep quilting and your stitching will continue to improve to the point where you want to show off your quilting ability.
Binding note: I used a 2-inch bias cut double-fold binding. With topper #1, I noticed a bit of curling on the edges when the binding was complete so this time I clipped 1/8" toward the sewing line every 1-2". Avoid clipping too close to the stitching. Because some areas of the seamline were not sewn a consistent 1/4", I ended up double stitching the binding's raw edges to the topper, creating reinforcement. I flipped the binding to the back and hand sewed it in place with a blind stitch.
Copyright 2008, Sharon Baggs