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Mark, layer, baste, easy preparation for machine quilting

by Julie Plotniko

Quality materials and good preparation are the keys to successful machine quilting. Yesterday we gathered our supplies and cut our fabric and batting to size. Now it’s time to prepare our pieces for quilting.

Let’s go!

Good preparation is the key to success.

Good preparation is the key to success.

Our pillow front will be quilted twice in some areas to create an effect called trapunto.

This is a form of stuffed quilting in which some areas use two layers of batting to give a raised, 3-dimensional effect.

Our Gütermann Dekor rayon thread will really make the quilting stand out!

Marking Matters

Before we layer our pillow front we need to mark the areas that we will quilt the first time. These are the areas that will have the trapunto effect.

With painters tape secure the 20″ square of fabric for your pillow front to a flat surface. Be sure that the right side of the fabric is facing up.

Use a stencil or stick on letters to mark your inspirational word.

I have used the word ‘dream’.

Imagine, inspire, create, quilt or even phrases of poems would be lovely. (You might just need a bigger cushion!)

Preview the positioning of your letters before you mark. The stick-on poster letters are great for this as they make it easy to see the positioning.

Simply draw around them when you’re ready to mark.

Preview your letters.

Preview your letters.

Use a base line to ensure that the letters are straight.

Use a ruler to create a base line.

Use a ruler to create a base line.

Funky, playful writing can also be fun!

Be bold, place your letters on an angle, a curve or even scattered randomly.

Angles can be fun.

Angles can be fun.

Once happy with the positioning of your letters use a fabric marker to transfer the writing to your fabric.

I chose UNIQUE fabric markers for this project as they mark clearly and are easy to remove.

UNIQUE markers come in two types, fast-fade and wash-out.

You need to consider how quickly you’ll get the marked design quilted before choosing which marker to use.

The fast-fade marker is meant to do just that.

It fades away fairly quickly so that you don’t need to worry about washing the marks out before using your project.

To be completely removed it does need to be washed out, like all other markers.

UNIQUE fast-fade fabric marker

UNIQUE fast-fade fabric marker

The wash-out marker will make lines that will not disappear until the item is washed.

If you don’t feel that you will quilt your design immediately after marking then it would be better to use a wash-away marker.

UNIQUE wash-out fabric marker

UNIQUE wash-out fabric marker

This is also the time to make any adjustments you need.

I found the E in my stick-on letters a bit narrow so I adjusted it more to my liking.

Letters marked and adjusted

Letters marked and adjusted

Next, mark some freehand motifs. I used flowers, leaves, and dragonflies.

Make them big enough that you’ll be able to easily trim the batting from around the outside of the design once it’s stitched.

Don’t worry if you’re not satisfied with your drawings at first. UNIQUE markers make it easy to make changes. I always do!

If you’re nervous about drawing directly onto the fabric you can create your designs on paper first.  Coloring books are a great design source if you aren’t comfortable with freehand drawing.

Remove the painters’ tape once you’re finished drawing.

Draw designs on paper first.

Draw designs on paper first.

Layering fabric and batting

Place one of the 20″ squares of Fairfield Soft & Toasty natural cotton batting on a flat surface.

Position the marked fabric square on top of the batting and smooth in place.

Note: Normally a quilt “sandwich” is made from three layers, a backing fabric, batting and front fabric.

In this case we do not need a backing fabric for the first layer as parts will be trimmed away of the batting to create the trapunto effect.

Basting for success

There are several methods that can be used to “baste” or hold the layers of a quilted item together.

This is done so that the layers won’t slip out of place and cause puckers.

Though traditional basting is done with either machine or hand stitching this is not satisfactory when machine quilting as the dense stitching over top makes the basting thread difficult to remove.

For our designer cushion baste with safety pins.

This will hold the layers firmly in place as well as make it easy to trim away the excess batting to create the trapunto effect.

Using Heirloom safety pins lightly pin baste your marked fabric to the single layer of batting.

Cushion front marked, layered and pin basted

Cushion front marked, layered and pin basted

Wow, look at us go!

Our designer cushion front is marked, layered, basted and ready for us to start stitching tomorrow.

Join me then, you won’t want to miss what Gütermann thread does next!

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1: Say it with free motion quilting, a designer cushion

Go to part 3: Quilting words – so much to say using Gütermann Dekor thread!

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Janie M September 11, 2018 - 11:12 pm

Thank you for the trapunto posts. I love the looks of it.

Julie Plotniko September 13, 2018 - 6:42 pm

Hi Janie. I’m glad that you are enjoying my posts on Trapunto.
I hope that I have inspired you to give it a try.

Sandy Allen September 11, 2018 - 7:26 am

Oh this is so pretty! Thank you for all the tips for marking.

Julie Plotniko September 13, 2018 - 6:47 pm

Thanks Sandy. I find that a little marking can go a long way especially when quilting words.


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