As we wander deep into winter in the southern hemisphere, our hearts and wardrobes begin to yearn for the cosy, the cuddly, perhaps even the snuggly. And what represents those qualities more than the humble quilt? Unfortunately, it’s not yet acceptable to swaddle yourself in Grandma’s old quilt and head out into the world – as Edna Mode once said, “No capes.” But, fear not! Quilting, you see, is not just for quilts.
According to the Secret Sewing Council which defines all the definitions and makes all the rules, “quilting” is not “the act of making cute quilts” but in fact the technique of joining a minimum of three layers of fabric and stitching through all the layers to create a three-dimensional padded surface. Anything can be quilted!
So toss your blankies aside and allow us to take you on a magical journey of the endless possibilities of quilting.
From little things…
Piecing together a big ass blanket can be an intimidating endeavour. Why not build up your quilting muscles with a small project?
Suzy Quilts – whose website is a wonderful repository of quilting knowledge where you are starting from baby basics or jonesing for those high-level quilt patterns – has some great tutorials on small quilting projects for groovy accessories like a quilted sleep mask or a cool quilted collar!
Eliane of Patchwork & Poodles was looking for a way to use up offcuts from her quilted coat projects when she developed her adorable Mini Quilted Zipper Pouch project. And, of course, we would be remiss not to mention our own teensy quilting project – the quilted coasters we made with Spoonflower.
The amazing technicolour dreamcoat
When taking quilting to the world of apparel, the obvious place to start is with quilted coats. It’s effectively a blanket with arms, perfect for encasing yourself in cosy contentment.
Brittney Frey and Romy from @SewLike have both shared some pretty comprehensive tomes of tips and tricks for crafting a quilted coat, while Eliane has compiled a rousing roundup of coat sewing patterns that work well with quilted fabrics.
Theoretically, you’d think you could take any pattern and simply cut the requisite pieces out of quilted fabric but it’s not that straightforward. The process of quilting adds bulk and reduces drape so you should consider how that will impact the fit and flow of a garment. In general, quilted fabrics work best in garments where structure is a plus.
See my vest
If coats are a tad too bulky for your climate or vibe, or maybe you want to keep your core warm but suffer from chronically hot arms, a quilted vest might be the solution for you! Embrace the adult bib life with these cool quilted vests, which go over your head and fasten at the sides, to create the optimal canvas for your beautiful quilt work on the front and back. Meredith from Sew Liberated goes into more detail about how she made her version here.
Quilts maketh the clothes
Even more traditionally free-flowing garments are not impossible to quilt – they might just require an extra moment of consideration. @Tartan_Tarlatan and @The.M.Archives show off their sweet pants made from secondhand quilts, and @Spaghetti_Western_Sewing and WithWendy’s adorable quilted baby doll dresses give that chic, straight-from-bed, Cecilie Bahnsen vibe.
Skip the Q
And a final pro tip… If you are hesitant to dive into the deep end of quilting – Wadding? Wacky rulers? Walking feet? What does it all mean? – there is often a treasure trove of secondhand quilts hidden in op-shop corners waiting to be re-loved and transformed into something new!