How to Sandwich a King-Size Quilt

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I have a question and hoping maybe someone can help me. I need to know how other quilters sandwich a king-size quilt. I tried the floor—no good. I have two tables—too small. My husband said he would build me something, but wondering how others do it before we go that route. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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The good news is, you already have the tough part down—you know what sandwiching is and how to approach it. Sandwiching a king-sized quilt does present some additional challenges because of the sheer amount of fabric involved and the need for a relatively large, flat surface. Here are some ideas for places you can do this.

A Bed or Floor

Your best options are already in your home. If you are making a king-sized quilt, you might have a king-sized bed at hand. Strip everything but the fitted sheet and assemble your sandwich there. You’ll be able to reach all parts of the quilt and move it around as needed; this option is particularly helpful if it is difficult for you to get down onto the floor (or tough to get back up).

You might need to move a few pieces of furniture, but the floor of a large room is an idea too; it is flat, smooth, and you’ll ideally have enough room to spread the entire quilt out. You can also use masking tape to hold the layers in place. The only downside to floor work is that you’ll spend a good bit of time sitting and crawling about, which can be tough for those with mobility issues; choose another option if you’re worried about discomfort during or after the process.

Your Garage or Workspace

If you do any kind of home improvement (or have a spouse with tools), you may have everything you need in your own garage. Two sawhorses and a sheet of plywood make an ideal setting for sandwiching a king quilt; you’ll be able to access all areas without sitting or crawling on the floor. Cover the plywood with a sheet if it is dusty, then pin away.

Think Outside the (Home) Box

You might have better luck sandwiching your quilt in another setting. If you have exhausted all of the possibilities at home, look to other places. Your local library likely has at least one large meeting space with tables for classes; these conference rooms are usually available for free and the table may be much larger than you can access at home. Other options include your church, school, or anywhere you go for classes or social gatherings. Don’t forget to ask about the most obvious location: your local quilt or fabric shop might have just the spot for this process, particularly if you shop there regularly.

Tips for Sandwiching a Large Quilt

Safety pins or a tacking gun are likely your best options for this project; basting spray does a wonderful job on smaller pieces, but can actually cause problems when you assemble an oversized quilt. Straight pins or masking tape can help secure your layers as you get the pieces into position.

Begin to baste from the center out, smoothing the quilt as you go. It is important that you move yourself around the quilt—don’t slide the quilt around on the surface. If you are on the floor, you’ll be able to crawl across the surface; you can walk around a table or bed to reach the areas you need to. Moving the quilt itself could cause the layers to shift.

Sandwiching a quilt by layering the backing, batting, and top is tedious and time consuming, but it also has a major impact on the look of your finished piece. Setting aside a realistic amount of time (at least a few hours), using the right technique, and choosing an ideal location can help you get the job done correctly and allow you to move on to the actual fun of quilting.

Still stuck? You could always take your quilt to a professional long arm quilter. It would likely take them an hour or two, and—depending on who you work with—could run you $50–$100. Your local quilt or fabric shop or any local club or guild can help you find someone.

Happy quilting,


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36 Responses to “How to Sandwich a King-Size Quilt”

  1. Sherrie Mazzocchi

    I'm fortunate enough to have two 6 foot tables in my sewing area, but a king sized quilt is always a challege. I read an article about using pool noodles to roll up each layer of the sandwich then place each one on top of the other. It really helps!

  2. Lorraine E Toner

    The best advice that I read and put into practice is taping the bottom layer as tightly as you can to the floor or whatever other space you use to sandwich the quilt. I use duct tape and get the bottom layer as tight as possible taped to the floor. Then the bottom layer doesn't move when you add the other layers and it lays nicely with few wrinkles or gapping issues. I clear out a large space in my living room and mop the floor and then lay the quilt down and start taping with the duct tape. I smooth and straighten as I go so as to keep it as wrinkle and gap free as possible. I sit on the quilt as I move around and smooth it as I pin the three layers together. The back of the quilt looks much better when I do the taping method as tight as possible. The sandwich is the least fun part of quilting, but a necessity.

  3. Judy McCurdy

    For my larger pieces to sandwich, I go to my church where we have folding tables that can be pushed together. The height of the tables depends on the classroom or area. Lots of room and maybe a fellow quilter to help.

  4. Angela Laws

    I use a CUTTING TABLE . he middle section is 3 x 3' . It has2 drop leafs , one on each side , the same size . So when its spread out , its 3' x 9' . I mark the center of my backing and top with safety pins . I sread each section out on a bed , then fold a strip of thw piece , about 3" , all the way across , then put a binder clip about every 6" . I do this until 1 1/2 ' from the center. Then I go to the opposite side of the quilt qand do the same thing back towards the middle . After the top and the back are done, I bind clip the binding the same way . Then I take them to my extended Cutting Table . I lay the binder clipped backing down , with the safty pin marked center in the middle if the table . Then i put the binder clipped batting on , Then the binder clipped top . I make sure that the safety pin marked centers of all three layers are lined up over each other . I smooth all the layers out and tight , then baste an X about every 6 " . Just work the surface of the table , just rolling the basted area into binder clipped folds ,as to reach the edge of yiur table , all the way across , and unroll the opposite edge of binder clipped folds , of the next 3' of top, batting and backing that yiou need to baste .

  5. Pamela Zajicek

    I used our ping pong table (take the net off) and I tape down the outside edges. I sprayed it and put some pins in. To get the whole quilt done, I turned it a quarter turn (2 opposite sides will fit, so just turn it so that those 2 sides are now the hanging sides) It was so much easier and I could leave it if I did not get it all done in one day or an afternoon. I have also taken my backing, batting and top to a long-armer who charged my twenty dollars. She tacked it (sewed a few stitches, moved about 3 in., tacked , etc. So I didn't have to do anything but quilt it. I did that in two different states that we lived in, just ask around. She used a bright contrasting thread so I could easily pick it out.

  6. Eloise Barth

    I go to my church and put tables together to make a large enough area to spray and safety pin baste.

  7. Scott

    I had a super-king (110"square) and I had decided to piece the back with miter corners around a central panel. We laid it on the garage floor over plastic drop cloths using taped-down skewers to locate the center and then put skewers along the miter seams of the back. The quilt top was a Storm-at-Sea so it was reasonably easy to get it into position and squared up on the back with the corners properly over the miters. Gotta love those skewers! Rather than pin, I used fusible batting. It worked but some pinning (about every 15") helped keep the heavy piece all in place at the center and the corners.

  8. Linda

    That’s why quilters in the early days gathered at churches and helped one another with their quilts.

  9. Linda

    I quilted a king size quilt in thirds. I cut the batting into thirds and sandwiched only the middle up and down. Quilted that almost to the edge of the batting and then used batting tape to join the sides of the batting on one side and quilted that side. Then the other side. Worked well

  10. QED quilters

    Our quilting group of 7 help to baste our quilts on one of those 6' banquet tables, using a button in the center of the table to place our backing, batting, and quilt top (each folded to match the center, then laid down and binder-clipped to the table). We'll then baste away what's on the table, and shift it (and re-binder-clip) and baste some more. We're the master-b@st@rs!