Here’s a quick tip to apply after you’ve finished a quilt top and done the final pressing. Before you sandwich the top with batting and backing, it’s a really good idea to run a line of “stay stitching” around the outside edge of your quilt top.
Expert quilters always sew as a scant 1/4″ distance around the outside perimeter of a quilt top. The stay stitching helps to keep your quilt top to the intended shape as it is stretched and layered with batting and backing. This practice really helps to hold all of the construction of your blocks and borders together so that stitches don’t pop open along seams.
Here’s a video from Pat Sloan that demonstrates this practice.
The stay stitching does not have to be perfect by any means as it will eventually end up buried in the binding or be trimmed away once the quilt top is squared up after being quilted.
Sew your “stay stitching” along your quilt top from the wrong side so that you can see the seam allowances and prevent them from being twisted or bunched up. The stay stitching is sewn all the way around the perimeter of your quilt top. Just be mindful not to stretch your top during this process.
Even if you top is not going to be sandwiched and quilted right away, this step of stay stitching will keep your top secure and ready for the day you make it into a finished quilt.