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How to Make Quilted Fabric
|Pre-quilted fabric can be used in a great variety of sewing projects such as bags, potholders, placemats, and table runners, to name just a few. Or, cut a square, round the corners, bind the edges, and you have a quick and easy baby quilt. Unfortunately, the selection of pre-quilted fabric often leaves a little to be desired and the price tag is even worse. I have seen double-sided quilting fabric priced as much as $26.99 a yard. At that price, projects can quickly become very expensive. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to quilt your own fabric, it just takes a little time and preparation. And, by making your own pre-quilted fabric, not only will you save money, but you will be able to make projects in the fabrics and colors that you want, rather than settling for the designs available at the fabric store.|
The fabric stores typically carry two types of pre-quilted fabric: single-sided and double-sided. Single-sided quilted fabric has a fashion fabric on the top with a layer of thin batting underneath and the two layers are quilted together, leaving the batting exposed on one side. The wrong side of single-sided quilted fabric is not typically left uncovered in finished projects. Double-sided quilted fabric is quilted with three layers - two layers of fabric with batting in between. Double-sided quilted fabric often has a printed fabric on one side and either a coordinating solid or print on the other side like the example shown here.
Dilly Day Double-Sided Quilted Floral/Blender Green/White - available at www.fabric.com
This tutorial will show you how to make the pre-quilted fabric with a three-layer quilted "sandwich", but depending on how you plan to use the finished fabric, you will either use a fashion fabric for both sides, or use a plain muslin on one side.
Supplies to Make Quilted Fabric
To make your own pre-quilted fabric, you will need the following items:
- Fabrics for top and bottom (quilting will cause the fabric to shrink, so adjust the size of your fabric pieces accordingly)
- Batting (if you plan to use the finished pre-quilted fabric for items that will be exposed to heat such as hot pads, do not use polyester batting, because it will melt)
- Thread (match thread content to the fabric content)
- Safety pins or quilt basting spray
- Marking chalk or disappearing pen (always test on the fabric first to make sure it really disappears)
- Sewing machine seam guide (some sewing machines come with a seam guide - it looks like a curved bar that attaches to your presser foot)
Preparing the Fabric for Quilting
|The first step is to prepare the fabric and batting "sandwich" and secure the three layers together so that they don't shift while you are quilting them.|
Be sure to prewash all fabrics and and press them flat (all the wrinkles need to be pressed out) before moving on to the next steps.
Lay the backing fabric, wrong side up on a flat surface and smooth it flat, so that there are no wrinkles (shown here). Gently place the batting on top of the backing fabric and smooth it into place (if you are working with large pieces of fabric, roll up the batting first and then unroll it on top of the backing fabric, lining up the top edges). Place the fashion fabric on top of the batting and smooth all of the layers together.
Marking the Fabric for Quilting
|The next step is to mark the quilting lines. You are going to be sewing a grid of intersecting lines across the bias of the fabric at intervals determined by the type of quilt batting you are using (however, I would recommend not having your lines further apart than one inch). Using a long quilting ruler and your chalk or disappearing pen, mark a line from side to side that runs at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric near the center of the quilt sandwich (if you happen to have a seam guide that attaches to your sewing machine, you can use this to space your sewing lines as you sew across the fabric instead of marking them). To determine the direction of the bias, you can use a square ruler and align the diagonal line along the selvage edge of the fabric as shown here and then place your long ruler alongside.|
|Continue marking lines across the fabric at an even distance from last line that you marked. When you have marked all of the lines going in one direction, turn the fabric 90 degrees and mark lines perpendicular to the ones you just marked. Continue marking until your fabric is covered with a grid.|
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