This is my first finished big quilt made totally on my own! So I’m very proud of this one. All the other quilts I’ve made were either together with my mother, mini-quilts or are not yet finished. So I’m very proud of this one. This one is finished a few weeks ago and it’s already proving its use because it is very cold in the Netherlands right now.
In this post, I’ll take you through all the steps taken to make this scrap quilt. In this way, you’ll learn more about this work, but also in general what it takes to make a quilt. If you have any tips or questions, feel free to leave a comment. It’s always nice to hear back from people.
The 4 steps to take to make a quilt
Step 1: the quilt pattern
For fabrics I grabbed what caught my attention. Sometimes it works out well to make a design as random as possible because if there is no hint of an overall idea, people don’t miss it. Further on, there is a lot of gold and glitter in this quilt, because I love that, and get to use it way too little.
Step 2: Piecing the pieces together
Drawing, cutting and sewing all the pieces together was a lot of work for this quilt! It basically constituted all the study-avoiding time I had writing my first thesis for university. This quilt top is pieced by machine, and I luckily discovered the nifty technique of chain piecing. With chain piecing, you don’t stop sewing when two pieces of fabric are attached, but you keep going until you’ve done a whole bunch of them. This is a suitable technique for easy patterns with a lot of repetition in them. It gives quilting more a ‘fordism’ feel of an assembly line because first, you pin all the pieces, then you sew all of them together after which you iron them all.
Tip: how to design something random which feels coherent
To maintain a coherent look three things are done:
- The layout is kept simple to ‘quiet down’ the overall look of the quilt. A complex layout would have been completely lost with the fabrics used.
- Fabrics of which I had a lot off, I cut out pieces for 10 whole blocks. This means the fabrics come back in 20 basic blocks in total, but not more. This creates some continuity and brings all the fabrics of the quilt together.
- The triangles in the basic blocks always consist of the same fabric. This also decreases the randomness, without losing the scrappy feel.
Step 3: the quilting of the quilt
When all the pieces are finished you have to sew through all the layers. For this quilt, I put a fleece blanket on the back. I got that tip from my mother when you want to finish a quilt easily. Instead of the traditional three layers, you have two in this way. A fleece blanket is very suitable because it is both warm and soft. All the quilting is done by hand because I love the look it gives and it is such a relaxing exercise.
Before you go quilt the quilt you first secure the two layers together with some big stitches, called basting. In the picture below you can see the basting in white. It is helpful to bast with a contrasting colour thread so you can easily see it when you have to take it out again.
In the picture, you also see some other tools I used while quilting. The quilting is done with a star pattern, which I drew on the fabric with pastel pencils. I thought the pastels were perfect to use, but it turns out they wash out harder than I expected. But I think the pastel will slowly fade with time and use.
Below is another progress picture of the quilting itself. For the quilting, I used a multicoloured King Tut thread, and I loved it! Haven’t much experience with threads yet, but my mother said King Tut was good, so I went for that one and there is no disappointment! The only downside is that it’s quite expensive. but worth the price. Also decided to use one colour thread to keep the crazy of the design down.
I also added a picture of the back of the quilt, because it looks nice.
step 4: put the binding on
Binding is the border around a quilt. This is the last step to making a quilt, which I did by hand in this case. The edges were not really straight and hand-sewing allows one to fiddle a bit with it to make it go right. For this quilt, I also used binding clips, because lots of people were enthusiastic about them, and I have to say that they work very well for binding. They fit perfectly around all the fabric of the binding as you can see in the picture.
Extra: quilted pillow from scrap scraps
When the scrap quilt was finished the scraps were not gone yet (they really seem to be never-ending), so I decided to make a pillow. I gave this one more coherence by using the same red fabric in every small piece. I did, however, use every fabric once in the basic blocks. Personally, I prefer the scrap quilt design because it seems to make a bit more sense, and you?
See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: bella.g.bear.art) for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blogpost every Sunday or Monday.