I, as has been my recent pattern, started with a piece of pale polyester prom dress type fabric and painted it. Then I quilted it quite densely with both matching and contrasting threads. For this piece I wanted the quilting to be both even and dense because I was afraid it wouldn't fold up right otherwise.
After quilting, I went ahead and squared up and put on/finished the facing.
This kind of fabric manipulation is done by marking a grid on the back and then stitching from corner to corner in a defined pattern. I had to guess about how big to make my grid; I wanted it to be big enough that the quilt would fold (since quilts are thicker than fabric) but small enough that there was space for enough repeats of the pattern to actually be able to see the pattern.
Here's the grid drawn on the back. The next picture shows what it looks like as you're stitching the pattern from the back; basically a big ole mess. You sort of have to trust that when you get to the end it'll have come out right. Spoiler alert: it came out right! Come back Friday and you can see the final quilt!
Have you ever done any smocking or fabric manipulation?