Sunday, July 7, 2013

Whole cloth quilting with Nani Iro double gauze

Whole cloth quilting is just what it sounds like - making a quilt without the fiddly piecing! It's a lovely way to showcase a single gorgeous fabric like our Nani Iro double gauzes.

Firstly, credit must go to this tutorial at The Purl Bee, which is the blog of New York yarn and fabric store Purl Soho, and a treasure trove of inspiration. You can follow their tutorial if you like, or use ours for The Drapery's take on it, adding simple hand quilting to the loveliness.

These small quilts are gorgeously light and soft, filled with the warmth of our 100% Australian wool batting. On the front is the beauty of Japanese Nani Iro double gauze featuring designer Naomi Ito's stunning hand-painted designs. On the back is silky, lightweight organic cotton.

The finished size is around 105cm square, perfect for keeping your knees toasty on the couch, or as a cot quilt or baby playmat. A beautiful gift for a new baby or anyone who'd love a bit of warmth, colour and cosiness.

We will put together a kit for you in store at The Drapery or you can purchase the kits online.


1.1m x 110cm wide Nani Iro double gauze (choose from our selection)
1m x 150cm wide organic cotton in Melange or organic cotton/hemp in Oxford Blue
110cm x 120cm 100% Australian wool quilt batting (this is half the width which we will cut specially for these kits)
Cotton thread
Valdani perle cotton for hand quilting


Sewing machine (walking foot recommended)
quilt basting pins or needle and thread for hand basting
hand needle with eye large enough for perle cotton
Optional: quilting hoop.

Iron your fabrics and lay on the floor or other large, flat surface, starting with your Nani Iro feature fabric, face upwards.

Carefully lay your backing fabric on top (if it has a right side, make that face the right side of the Nani Iro), and finish with the quilt batting. Take care to smooth the layers out and align the edges.
 Pin the layers together with quilt basting pins (specially curved for the job), starting from the middle and working your way outwards. This will keep all layers in place as you sew the edges. If you don't have quilt basting pins, you can use a hand needle and bright coloured thread to cover the quilt in very long, running basting stitches that are easy to see and remove later.
 Trim the edges to square it up and make sure you will catch all layers when sewing.
 Mark an opening about 20cm wide to leave open for turning the quilt in the right way.
 Sew around the perimeter of your quilt, through all layers, with the back of the Nani Iro fabric on top to guide you for the squarest finish. You may find it helpful to roll up the bulk of the quilt as you sew each side, to keep it out of the way. Backstitch at the beginning and end, remembering to leave your gap for turning.
 Remove all your basting pins and trim the edges about 1cm away from your stitching.
 Clip the corners quite close to your stitching.
 Through the opening, grasp the two fabric layers and turn the quilt right way in. Gently push out the corners - a chopstick can help!
 Turn under the edges of your opening and pin. Topstitch all around the edge of the quilt, closing the opening in the process.
 The finished edge:
 Now you need to secure the quilt through all layers, which will make sure it stays intact through plenty of loving and washing. You can simply machine quilt in lines, squares or patterns, or tack down in regular spots as per the Purl Bee technique. We have chosen to hand quilt using lovely Valdani perle cotton, which gives a lovely hand-crafted texture and is rather a lovely, meditative activity for wintry evenings.
 Unlike stranded embroidery thread, perle cotton is twisted into a smooth strand that resists tangling and separating. Hand quilting can also be done with a more 'invisible' specific hand quilting thread, however we love the perle cotton look.

Here's a basic tutorial for hand quilting, and another great resource that we have learnt from is Anna Maria Horner's beautiful instructions here.

On a small quilt such as this, you can probably get away without a quilting hoop (like a giant embroidery hoop to stretch your quilt in and keep all layers neatly together), but use one if you prefer. We simply used the quilt basting pins again to stabilise each area we were working on.

We used the coloured checks on this fabric as inspiration to start the hand quilting, then filled in around them with more shapes following the checks. You may choose to follow the print on your fabric or use straight lines at intervals, or whatever takes your fancy.

Thread your needle with about 80cm of perle cotton and tie a knot in the end. Push the needle into your fabric a couple of centimetres away from where you wish to start stitching and bring it up in your starting spot. Pull the thread through until the knot is sitting on top of your fabric.
 Grasp the thread and gently tug until the knot pops through the surface.
 Now your starting knot is hidden and you can begin quilting.
 Make small running stitches through all layers. With some practice you may be able to pick up two or three stitches on the needle at once. We find a thimble is helpful to protect the finger you use to push the needle through (likely to be your 'rude finger' as the kids would say!).
 When you come to the end of your design or your thread runs out, tie a knot close to the fabric.
Take a final stitch into the quilt top but don't go through to the bottom. Push your needle back out a couple of centimetres away on the top and pull the thread through until the knot is just on top of the fabric.
 As you did in the beginning, grasp the thread and pull carefully until the knot pops through to the underside of the fabric.
 Carefully snip the thread off close to the fabric and smooth it out so it disappears into your quilt.
 Using a cream thread is very subtle on the front and allows the Nani Iro fabric to shine, while creating a visible pattern on the back.
Here's another sample we have in the shop (this one is 150 x 110cm), done with different coloured threads echoing the floral design.

Sew some winter cosiness... kits available here and in store.

- Jane & Fiona xx