A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.
I managed to go back to work a couple of days ago. I’m feeling much stronger and even got outside for some sun. It was time to get a quilt onto the machine.
The customer asked me to piece a quilt backing for her and she wanted the fabric pattern to match so the seam was invisible. Well, it’s nearly impossible to get a perfect match because fabric is very fluid. It moves and stretches and is not always printed perfect. I can get a pretty close match though and I thought maybe some of my readers might be interested in seeing how I do this. I don’t think this technique will impress a quilt judge because I don’t believe any judges look for it. A judge will simply think it’s a wide backing and move on. Anyway this is how I make invisible seams on the backs of my quilts.
I start by cutting the backing fabric into two pieces. One piece is going to be longer than the other by the distance of one pattern repeat. In other words, measure the distance from one pattern repeat to the next and cut one piece of fabric longer than the other by at least that much. Sorry I didn’t take a photo of that part because my customer had already cut her fabric into two pieces. As luck would have it, she cut one piece longer than the other.
Take the shorter piece of fabric, fold the fabric along one selvedge edge, and press it. Make this a generous fold of at least a couple of inches.
Ok, now lay the longer piece of fabric out with the right side facing up. If you don’t have a large table then use your bed or the floor.
Next take the shorter piece of fabric and put it right side down on top of this fabric with the pattern going in the same direction. Match the pattern both horizontal and vertical. This means both top to bottom matching and side to side matching. It might be quite a distance, depending on the distance of the repeats from side to side.
Put a little glue along the folded edge and match the pattern. In the old days, before the magic of gluing fabric, we would carefully baste the fabrics together with needle and thread. Oh my, glue is so much faster and easier! Match the pattern as closely as possible.
I pin it together temporarily while the glue dries. This prevents shifting away from the match.
Next I remove the pins, open the fabric fold and sew along the press line. Then trim it back to 1/4 inch seam.
After it has done it’s job the glue is no longer needed. Pop open the glue along the seam by pulling it with your hands. Now look to see how closely you matched the pattern. At first it might not look as matched as you’d like.
Don’t judge it until you’ve pressed the seam. Pressing does wonders.
Outside of a little glue along the seam line you probably wouldn’t know where it was sewn. Click the photo to get a closer look. The glue will come out with the first washing or by taking a damp cloth to rub it off while pressing.