My first ever piece of perfect machine quilting
Having tried quilting many years ago on my sewing machine I gave up. I don’t have a walking foot on my machine and I definitely don’t have the patience to do it by hand. Because I use recycled sheets and quilt covers in my crafts I am always trying to find ways to give the fabric more substance especially for my bags. Trying to do quilting was very frustrating always puckering and never looked professional.
After doing some research and watching some wonderful Thai ladies making quilted fabric I gave it a go. Even though it does take some time and a lot of thread, I have never enjoyed a project so much. It was very relaxing and guaranteed a perfect result, even my sewing machine seemed to be singing as it was only asked to do straight lines.
2 layers of cotton fabric, if you have a project in mind for your quilted fabric cut your fabric at least 1″ larger than your pattern piece.
This is a pattern piece for one of my bags, I will cut down the quilted fabric when it is finished. As you quilt, the size of your fabric will shrink slightly, so keep this in mind when you start to quilt.
1 layer of polyester wadding
Dark thread for tacking
Thread for quilting
Fabric pen, this was the best thing that I invested in. It cost £3.75 but is perfect for drawing the quilting lines on the fabric and completely rinses out in cold water.
Sewing machine, any machine will do this project.
Place the lining, right side down on your board, then the wadding, then your main fabric right side up to make your quilt sandwich.
With a hot and steamy iron press these three layers together. This is what I like about the wadding, it will compress down, from being thick and spongy, to a nice flat and slightly stiff fabric and feel just like an expensive interfacing, just don’t get it on your iron as it will stick to it!
First set of tacking stitches
Next draw lines, using the fabric pen and ruler, across the length of the fabric, I used the width of my ruler which was about 1″. On a flat surface, and using a dark thread tack, or baste as they say in the US, along each line. Don’t try and do it by holding the fabric as it will pucker and move about, a lot! And just relax and enjoy and imagine what your finished project is going to look like.
Once you have tacked all the lines take the fabric pen and ruler and draw lines across the width of the fabric making a grid, and tack all of these!! I was surprised how quickly I got all of this done, you don’t have to be neat and just follow the lines and day dream!!
First set of lines to sew using the sewing machine. You could do them all by hand if you really wanted to!
Your fabric will now be stable enough to go through the sewing machine without any problems at all.
To make the quilted pattern I drew more lines, with the fabric pen, diagonally across the fabric using the width of my ruler, approx 1″.
As I just wanted straight lines in my quilting I didn’t have to change any feet or setting on my machine, I just change the stitch width to medium, you don’t want the stitching to be too tight as you are going to be sewing through 3 layers of fabric. You can use any colour thread, I chose a cream to match the fabric background.
Now just sew along each line, making sure to cut away the excess thread at the end of each line so it doesn’t get caught up.
When you have finished those lines, take the fabric pen and ruler again and draw the last set of lines diagonally the other way, to make diamond shapes and sew them. Your fabric should end up looking like this
The back and front before the tacking stitches have been removed.
When you have finished sewing all of the lines take out all of the tacking stitches. If you have a fabric pen like mine you will need to rinse the fabric in cold water to remove the pen lines, make sure you read the instructions on the pen. And don’t be tempted to iron your fabric before you have got rid of the pen lines as some of these pens will stain the fabric when heat is applied.
(Note: I also found this out with the cheap oil based tailor chalks, so don’t iron until all of the markings have been washed out!)
The back after ironing.
The front after ironing
Isn’t it beautiful?? The fabric has been washed, all the pen lines have disappeared, just like magic, it has been ironed, and look no puckers, perfectly flat and ready to be made into my next bag.