Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Machine Quilting

Why is it that time consuming projects always come to mind when deadlines are imminent?

In this case, as I was finishing my cardinal blouse, I thought it would be a great idea to make a matching full skirt to wear with it.  And then I thought, how fun would it be to make a quilted skirt to match.  And why not quilt my own fabric, since finding pre-quilted fabric that I like was not likely to happen in a short period of time.

After a trip to the store, I had two layers of fabric plus a lot of batting to play with.  The underlay is a holiday themed quilting cotton (sale priced because of the impending holiday), and the solid green is a cotton twill with a bit of stretch.  Yes, I thought the stretch might be an issue, but I really wanted something thicker than quilting cotton.  In the end, a mid-weight quilting cotton probably would have worked fine and had just as much body as the twill.  And while I love the wrinkled look of antique quilting made with cotton batting, I decided against that for a garment and purchased the easy to find poly sew-in batting.

After cutting a wide margin around the skirt pattern pieces in all three layers, I stacked them together, drew a chalk line along the cross grain, and started quilting.  And I would like to say just how impressed I am with those of you that machine quilt large expanses of fabric with regular machines.  It's hard work wrangling all that fabric through the machine!

I know I have heard of spray basting some sort of glue to keep the layers together, but that seemed like an accident waiting to happen, so a few pins strategically placed kept things in place, for the most part.  The small amount of stretch in the twill gave me a bit of grief, but nothing too terrible.  I was also concerned after my first pass of (somewhat) parallel lines that the batting I had chosen was much too thick.  But after the second pass created a (mostly) square grid, that poof factor was much more under control.

The next step was to trim the quilted pieces to size.  I decided I would cut one size larger than normal  to account for the thickness of the fabric, and marked the outline in chalk.  This seemed like the easier way to do things, and it worked quite well.  If my pattern pieces were more complicated I might have been annoyed, but for a straightforward skirt with two pattern pieces, this worked nicely.

I also added three inches to the length of the skirt.  Might as well be completely covered in a quilt in the Winter weather, right?!

And then I just kept going with all four sets of fabric pieces.

And somewhere in the middle I really wanted a long arm quilting machine.  Never mind the fact that one will not fit in my empty sewing room, let alone with all the other tables and accoutrements that are currently living in there!  I definitely understand why they exist and how lovely it would be not to have to fight masses of fabric through a standard sewing machine.

But I got through it in stages . . . quilt one piece, cut something out, go back to quilting, stitch a seam together, cut some bias strips . . .

Which is how I decided to finish my seams.  My Hug Snug would be no match for the thickness of this fabric, so I bound the seams with leftover bits of my lining fabric.

And while I was posting progress images to Instagram, everyone kept saying how lovely the print side is; to be honest, I think so too.  But the original idea for this skirt was to add another winter skirt to pair with other blouses and tops to the closet, and a holly print, no matter how pretty, is decidedly holiday, and not the look I was going for.

I have to stay, though, this makes me want another quilted skirt, this time out of a print!

And while I am not quite ready to tackle another, and the expert machine quilters out there will be horrified that my square grid went off the reservation a couple of times and has a definite drunken look to it, I think the overall appearance of the skirt will make up for the messy quilting.  I hope!

1 comment:

  1. Perfectly parallel stitches, homemade HugSnug, and a skirt long and cozy enough to be worn by a back up dancer on a Mitzi Gaynor special.