How to Use an Old Quilting Frame

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Old-fashioned quilt frames are typically made with a soft wood such as pine. It should come with the stands and frame boards. The 1-by-4 inch rails used to pin the quilt to come in various lengths and usually have two separate joining pieces made of metal with holes drilled in it so you can pin the quilt down on the joints as well. The expandable frame can accommodate quilts from the size of a baby blanket to a king-size bed.

Things You'll Need

  • Quilt stand and frame
  • C clamps
  • Flat quilting tacks
  • Scissors
  • Quilting thread
  • Quilting needles

Set Up

  • Assemble the notched feet of the quilt frame as shown above in a X pattern. Slide the U-shaped slot over the center of the stand. Push firmly into place. It should be a snug fit.

  • Set legs apart at the approximate size of your quilt with the shorter boards (top and bottom) in the square cut out notches of the top of the stand first and the longer boards overlapping on top. Check width and length of fabric before anchoring the frame with C clamps.

  • Pin the bottom fabric right side face down with tacks in corners only. Next, roll out the quilt batting. After the batting is rolled out, place quilt top down, right side up. Be sure your fabric and batting are all cut to the same size. Layer them without folds.

  • Pull all three layers evenly and pin them all on one side of the quilt. First, pin with tacks secured 6 to 8 inches apart. Move to the opposite side of frame. Pull all three layers tight while placing pins the same distance apart as the other side. Top and bottom must be secured in the same fashion as the sides.

  • Loosen the C clamps on the top and bottom of one side when you can no longer reach to continue quilting. Remove only those pins you have to for rolling the edges. Hold the side of the frame tightly and roll it toward the center of the quilt. Having two people makes this job much easier. Refasten the clamps.

Tips & Warnings

  • When you've pinned all sides of your quilt, it should be fairly tight. Try to see if a penny will bounce on it.
  • As you roll the sides of your quilt and refasten them, be careful not to pull too hard on the fabric. Keep the three layers tight.

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