I spend a good bit of time ironing as flat as possible. Sewing all curves is a challenge so keep your seams small - scant 1/4". Then I lay the top , face up, on the felt and smooth, smooth, smooth. All the smoothing pays off.
START IN THE CENTER always. In this photo, I started with the periwinkle center and stitched each section starting in the center, then moving up one section to the top then starting back in the center stitching each section to the bottom.
I will quilt/stitch one row and smooth. Then I stitch the next row and smooth. There is a LOT of shrinking that occurs when a piece is quilted this densely. It may not look like it but each row is a challenge to keep the fabric flat and not get a pucker. This one finished without one pucker. I have always had at least one pucker in previous pieces. I credit smoothing, speed when sewing and attention to detail.
Also if unsure, I pause, wait a day (if you knew me you'd know what a struggle pausing is) then proceed. This is what happened when it came to the top most deep purple section.
Hanging flat is another problem with improvisational quilting. What I did with this piece was use Pellon fairly heavy weight iron on interfacing on the BACKING fabric. Here we go in layers"
- Quilt face up
- Backing fabric face down - cut to match quilt size
- Heavy weight (NOT Peltex just regular interfacing) iron on interfacing glue side down cut 1" smaller than the backing fabric
- WonderUnder paper side up.
- Everything is pinned
- I iron on top of the paper. The WonderUnder definitely is stuck to the non-fusible side of the interfacing.
- I try to get as much of the Pellon interfacing to "stick" as possible especially around the edges.
- I remove the paper from the WonderUnder.
- I stitch around all four sides of the quilt sandwich with a 1/4" seam making sure after finishing that I have caught all the the quilt front in the seam.
- I CAREFULLY pinch up the backing making sure I haven't caught the quilt in the pinch and cut a small hole.
- Being very careful, I cut an opening through and across the backing fabric.
- I use this opening to carefully turn the quilt right side out starting in each corner.
- I rolled the edges of the quilt so that NO BACKING FABRIC shows from the front as I iron the backing fabric JUST AT THE EDGE of the backing.
- Once the edges are rolled, steam ironed sharp, I carefully and slowly iron from each edge in a few inches all around the back until I worked my way to the center. The slash will seal shut. Minor wrinkles and the over lap of the slash openings are OK with me.
Now I will consider embellishments...