Before you sandwich layer the back, batting, and front, please do yourself a huge favor and make sure all layers have been washed and dried. I do cheat with my batting by misting it on both sides with my garden hose and promptly placing it in the dryer.
I use a sandwiching technique that requires carpet. If you only have a hardwood floor click here for step by step instructions from Oh, Fransson!. I do not agree with every technique she promotes, but knowing about various perspectives is healthy. You’re bound to find one that works for you.
Step one is making sure your carpeted area is free of clutter and clean. So break out that vacuum. Place the back upside down onto the carpet. You will be pinning the circumference of the fabric. Make sure the pins are coming towards you as if to poke your knees. If the pins are turned the other way, the fabric will slip. Save yourself the headache and do not close the pins. During this process you will pin opposing sides versus going clockwork. This is because you will be lightly stretching the fabric, side to side, making the fabric extremely taught and wrinkle free.
Next, using the batting of your choice, lay onto the stretched fabric and smooth out. I prefer using bonded cotton batting, but have been known to find 100% cotton blankets on sale. Be creative. With that being said, the major perk to using bonded cotton is the magical fleece like texture that acts as a magnet to the fabric. Bonded cotton makes pinning a breeze and it’s much easier to quilt. Think of cling plastic wrap. Yes, it’s that amazing!
Once the batting is smooth, lay down the top face up. The lower 2 layers should be larger in size giving you some flexibility on placement. Don’t try to save fabric and batting by cutting them to the exact size of the top. You “might” be able to pull it off, but it’s doubtful. Give yourself a few inches, or more, on all sides and keep your sanity. This is just a strong suggestion, but one you will appreciate. Smooth out the top and make sure your squares are in alignment and not wonky. Next, start pinning. You will close these safety pins. Go slow and be careful not to mess up your smoothed quilt as you work. I start at the bottom and work my way up. Be liberal on pinning and make sure you get through all layers. Avoid pinning the carpet. Once you have pinned throughout the quilt top, finish by pinning around the circumstance of the quilt. Then you may remove all the safety pins used to stretch the back fabric. Trim off excess fabric and batting, leaving at least 2 inches of wiggle room.
Ready for quilting.