Wholecloth & Trapunto Quilt

This is one of my favorite quilts. It was completed a few years ago and I still love it. The trapunto always makes me smile. 20090321_Anglelas_completed345kb

It’s cream cotton sateen with silk thread. Approx 45″ x 60″.

When I buy fabric, I usually buy a 1/4 yard more. I use that extra fabric to test my markers and to play around with thread tension for the quilting. When I do the practice quilting, I make the quilt sandwich using the backing & batting that I’ll use for the quilt.

I’m a prewasher. There are debates about this, but I wash every piece of fabric as it enters the house. Laundry soap, warm to hot water, hot dryer and ironed. I’ve been told that silverfish like starch, so I only starch fabric when I’m ready to use it. I make up a batch of starch and heavily starch the top & backing fabric. Starching the top fabric keeps it from moving too much while doing the marking & quilting. Starching the backing fabric helps make the sandwich glide easier.

If you intent to mark a quilt, always do a test first. My favorite markers for light color fabrics are Crayola Washable Markers. Yes, they’re in the kiddy section, but they’re inexpensive, they work well and even washed out after I took a year to finish a hand quilted baby quilt. If you need a thinner line, you can trim the tips.20140311_WashableMarkers24kbTo do the test, take a piece of washed & starched fabric (about 6″x6″) and mark it with your markers. Draw a line with each color you intend to use. At the base of each color, use a thin permanent marker to identify each color. That way, if a color “almost” washes out, you’ll know which one to avoid. I also like to quilt over the markings to test to see if quilting drives the color into the sandwich, making it harder to remove.20140311_Angelas_test_color74kbAt the same time, you the opportunity to test and adjust the thread tension.

Here’s the top with the pattern completely marked.20090216_Angelas_trapunto_completed66kbAnd a close up.20090216_Angelas_trapunto_top_close54kb

I used green lines to layout the 9 squares, then used brown lines for the quilt design. After it’s all marked, thread your machine with water-soluble thread on top and natural colored thread in the bobbin. Pin an 8″ square of high loft batting to one of the center blocks and stitch the design using free motion quilting. Repeat in all the blocks, then the borders.

Cut away the areas that will not have trapunto.20090216_Angelas_trapunto_cut46kb20090216_Angelas_trapunto_cutclose39kbAnd the completed cutting.20090217_Angelas_trapunto_cut156kbAfter that’s completed, make your normal layered quilt. Place the prewashed & starched backing fabric, wrong side up, on a flat surface and tape it down just so it’s lightly taut. Layer the regular batting, and then the trapunto top. Pin every 3-4 inches.

You’re ready to start free motion quilting. Remember to remove the water-soluble thread. I like to quilt the outline areas first, then do the detailed quilting. I find that it stabilizes the quilt. Here’s a shot of the bottom of the quilt after doing the interior’s outlining. 20090218_Angelas_trapunto_bottom38kbOkay, here’s the scary and fun part. After all the quilting is done, you need to wash out the water-soluble thread and the markings. I plunked the quilt into a tub of cool water. Even though I did my pretest of the markers, it was a bit concerning when I saw those brown lines spreading across the quilt. I stopped just for a moment to get pictures, so they are blurry, sorry. 20090313_Angelas_washing1-38kb20090313_Angelas_washing4-79kbAll cleaned up!  Here’s a couple close ups.

Closeup20090321_Angelas_closecorner53kbThis pattern is from Hari Walner’s Garden of Hearts in the book “Easy Machine Quilting”. She does a detailed job of walking you through all the steps. She even includes a list of what to buy and how much.


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