FREE Quilting Patterns, Tutorials, Magazine

Neutral backgrounds make your scrappy quilt design stand out


Yesterday, we took a look at the range of Wonderfil threads I’ll be using this week to create a little mini scrappy quilt to eventually hang in my re-organized studio space.

Studio Bird mini quilt uses leftover bits and pieces from other projects, and will be mostly worked by hand.

But first, we’ve got to create a neutral substrate for all this hand embellished goodness. That’s what we’re going to do today.

I gathered together a variety of neutrals and pieced them together using the traditional ¼” seam. My leftovers lent themselves to vertical piecing of strips that were 2½” wide. I just pieced the leftovers together, without concerning myself about the finished trimmed size. I planned to have the mini quilt measure about 7½” wide by 10” long when it’s finished.


WonderFil Specialty Threads - Efina
WonderFil Specialty Threads – Efina


Strips of neutral fabrics ready to be pieced together
Strips of neutral fabrics ready to be pieced together


Note: The important thing to remember is that applique, and other forms of embellishment, will shrink the substrate, even if you’re very careful about the tension.

When creating the pieced substrate, press the seams REALLY flat and to one side. Pay attention that the lighter fabrics press against the darker ones. Use a pressing spray to ensure there are no bumps and lumps — front or back.

Cut a piece of low-loft batting to fit the substrate, as well as a matching piece of quilter’s muslin, the thinner the better.

Use a light mist of basting spray to make all the layers as smooth as possible.

Baste the base (say that five times fast), from one corner to the other in both directions using contrasting threads, as well as through the middle along the four sides. Now, you’re quilt sandwich will stay together and straight as we embark on this applique journey together.


Basting a quilt sandwich together using a needle and long stitches. WonderFil Specialty Threads.
After you’ve sewn the strips together, baste the quilt sandwich together.


Come back tomorrow, when the applique fun begins.

Next, we’re going to do some cutting, piecing, and deciding which of your special leftovers will go. Keep those WonderFil Specialty Threads close by, because you’ll soon see how wonderful they are to work with in this mini scrappy quit.


WonderFil Specialty Threads bundle
WonderFil Specialty Threads bundle


This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1: 4 WonderFil Specialty Threads make this Studio Bird mini quilt fly high

Go to part 3: THIS wool thread adds luxury to a hand stitched mini quilt


Nancy Devine is a self-confessed craft-crazed blogger. She is a regular contributor to A Needle Pulling Thread Magazine, one of the administrators for The Craft Café, a Facebook page devoted to the international sharing of the creative life, and a curator of an impressive collection of fabrics, notions and seam rippers. In her spare time, she wrangles dust bunnies and writes a blog called Nancy Dee Needleworks. Understandably, her house is a mess.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

It may take up to 24 hours for your comment to appear above.