I'm Vanessa of Punkin Patterns -- back to give you one of my quilting tips!
I haven't been quilting for very long. One thing that I always have trouble with is pinning my front, batting and back together WITHOUT gathers, puckers or wrinkles. The top I can always get ok (mostly because when I'm pinning, that's the side I see so I can smooth out any bumps) but the bottom, I have trouble with. I end up pinning a few times in order to get the bottom and top nice and smooth.
There are a lot of different products out there to help you with this (and simple solutions). Some people just stretch and tape down their backing -- my surface to do this on is a nice hardwood floor. I worry so much about the tape I'm using on the floor and scratching the floor with a pin, that this method is cumbersome and stressful.
There's also some great spray on adhesives people use and swear by it -- for me, I don't like that stuff. (I'm a chemist by trade, and I shy away from airborne spray cans as much as possible. Plus I would only ever consider using that outside and more often than not, there's snow on the ground.)
I've also tried lots and lots of starch. That just ends up icky and the air wreaks with the perfume they add. Perhaps I'm a bit sensitive?? I know people who make their own spray starch and that's something I haven't tried yet, but intend to.
The method I'm about to discuss is something that's worked for me -- it may not work for you and that's OK. It's all about what you like. There's no right or wrong way to do this. I don't like using airborne chemicals and the traditional methods don't work for me. This is what I like and I thought I'd share it with you.
So as I mentioned above, I have trouble pinning the back piece nicely and smoothly. I don't have the problem when I use a single piece of fabric for the backing (i.e. no piecing together), but that rarely is the case. More often I have a quilt backing that has several pieces sewn together in it.
To stiffen my back fabric to make it easier to sandwich my quilt together, I use a very, very inexpensive fusible interfacing. Specifically, I use a product called JAS VAL-U-FUSE from pellon. It comes on little bolts of 10 yards for $10. It goes on-sale quite often. The cheapest I think I've ever gotten it for is $2 for 10 yards on the day after Thanksgiving. Needless to say it's inexpensive. (There are products like this that wash away, but they're more expensive and I've never tried them so I can't speak to that.)
This interfacing is very light. I fuse it directly to the wrong side of the quilt backing. It is single sided and doesn't fuse to the batting, but it makes pinning much easier. I can easily pin my batting and top to the bottom without wrinkles.
The batting itself isn't that stiff and doesn't add much weight to the final product. After a few good washings (and having little ones drag it around the house a bunch and make forts with it), it gets so soft you can't even tell it's there. I also find that when I'm quilting, the extra bit of stiffness actually makes it a bit easier to move through the machine.
So do you think you'll give this method a try?? What method have you found that works for you?? I'd love to try something new!