Sunday, 10 March 2019

What is Quilting?

Since starting my online fabric shop Fine City Quilting one of the questions I'm often asked is;

 What is Quilting?

You may have seen a quilted jacket or call the duvet you sleep under a quilt -  so what is quilting?

Well quilting is the process of sewing together layers of fabric in order to make a thicker, warmer layer. 

Three layers are usually used and often referred to as a quilt sandwich:

1) The Quilt top (the pretty patchwork layer you can see)

This layer can be as simple as a single piece of cloth (a whole cloth quilt) or hundreds of pieces sewn together.

2) The Wadding

Wadding can be made of a variety of warm materials making up this padding layer - cotton, cotton mixes, bamboo, polyester or wool.  At we stock cotton and bamboo (which is excellent for allergies).

3)  The Backing

Plain solids such as these Sew Simple Solids are perfect for an economical quilt backing, but plain doesn't mean boring.  With the current trend for solids on the patchwork top layer, you may prefer to contrast and use a fun print on the backing of your quilt...

  Tip: using a print on the background may help to disguise any quilting mistakes, whereas a                 solid as backing could really show off your skills!

Once the 3 layers are basted (temporarily fixed together) either with a basting stitch that will be later removed or safety pins or an adhesive spray, the quilt sandwich can be quilted by machine or by hand.

Hand quilting with a needle and thread (make sure you're using a Quilting Needle, they're sharp) is sewing a running stitch through the three layers to secure them together.  This can be achieved with a stab stitch or rocking stitch.

Hand quilting as seen above is distinctive and can definitely make an item more personal.  It is a contemplative task which is slow and rewarding.

Machine quilting provides faster results but can be fraught if things don't go to plan.  Unpicking is harder.  Straight lines and gentle curves can be achieved with a walking foot like the section of a wall hanging below.

For anything that requires more curves, you'll need a Free-motion Quilting Foot, also known as a Darning Foot or Hopping Foot.   With this many effects can be achieved like the examples below.

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