It might be sort of obvious, but I love pushing myself creatively.
It might also be sort of obvious if you have ever been in my home, that I often move on to the next challenge mentally….before finishing the project at hand.
Thankfully I have a very patient husband.
I’ve realized that I get so inspired with new ideas, I struggle choosing just one to implement for a project. Especially when it comes to quilting, I love to push myself. I want to try new techniques: I want each new quilt to be better than the previous one. But with each new idea, comes five more. With each decided upon direction, branches into 7 more ways to try it next time.
I think I’ve probably gone mad.
I’m breaking up the pieces of this next quilt into a few tutorials for you guys! I’ve been so so so encouraged by the response to these tutorials. I always get pretty nervous — especially if my face is in a video — but the bottom line is that I want to give you all the knowledge and confidence to create on your own. I absolutely love seeing the beautiful outcome of your projects! So thank you for sharing them with me!
It’s definitely giving me the good ‘ole kick in the rear I’ve been needing to get my knitting patterns — and a few leather kit supplies — out to you all as well. I give you permission to keep hounding me about those. :)
But today I am super excited about what I have to share with you!
I challenged you all a while back to purchase a machine that will push you to do more and learn more. I have shown you how I used this machine to lengthen a favorite maxi dress that was just way too short and create (in my completely biased opinion) some of the cutest burp rags around. And while this machine has a great beginner price, it is packed with accessories and features to push and challenge your sewing skills. What I’ve been super excited to show you is a little something that might sound simple, but is pure genius. I was immediately intrigued with a feature and accessory that accompanies the Designio DZ3000—the Brother Circlular Sewing Attachment.
Have you ever tried to sew a perfect circle with your sewing machine? Sounds simple? Mmmmm it’s not.
The Circular Attachment allows you to mark exactly how big you want the circle to be, tack your fabric in place, and let your machine sew a perfect circle, while you simply guide the fabric around.
Of course I’m thinking of a million projects I could create with this little bugger. Of course.
I had a hard time narrowing it down to one project to show you today, but I’m hoping this will inspire you to try some new techniques on projects you want to try.
Let’s get to it.
What the tra-what?
I know. I wondered the same thing the first time I heard the word.
noun \tr?-?pün-(?)t?, -?pu?n-\plural tra·pun·tos
: a decorative quilted design in high relief worked through at least two layers of cloth by outlining the design in running stitch and padding it from the underside
I quickly fell in love with the dimension and interest that trapunto brings to a quilt, but I also found myself desiring to see it used in more simple and modern designs. I love the traditional feathers typically found in trapunto designs, but they aren’t totally my style and really, let’s face it: my free-motion quilting skills are umm…. yeah, not up to that skill level yet. But those little dots in that bottom-right image? I am obsessed.
I often second guess myself in quilting, but after realizing that there are about 1,000 “right” ways of doing just about any technique, I’m just going to keep plugging away! So today will be the first in a few steps of this quilt — and multiple tutorials for you all. I am excited to show and teach you each step!
|| Supplies ||
- completed quilt top (mine is roughly 42″x42″ square) or the area that you wish to trapunto your circles –or whatever shape you decide to do!
- completed quilt back
- polyester batting or polyester fleece
- water soluble thread (optional, but definitely recommended)
- sewing machine!
- circular sewing attachment, if not included with your machine
- cotton quilt batting
- glue stick
- fabric pen
- thread and typically sewing supplies :)
1|| I decided on a striped quilt top of varied widths — the five circles I used the trapunto technique on echoed the polka dots found in another fabric used on my quilt top. I love painting with fabrics, in a sense, and I know I am going to be hooked on trapunto for a while because of this love’o’mine! Trapunto adds such a subtle — or not so subtle — dimension to your quilt. This design can tell a story, echo a pattern, create your quilting pattern, or whatever you want it to do!
Mark the center and at least one point on the circumference of the circle to be sewn. Be sure to use a fabric pen/marker/pencil.
2|| Cut your fleece or polyester batting down just bigger than each circle. I chose to do a more subtle trapunto on this quilt — but doubled one of the five circles to change it up just a little bit. (I have a more dramatic and free-drawn trapunto quilt to show you soon! See? I told you I was hooked.)
3|| There are a lot of “right” ways to tack the batting or fleece to your fabric, but because we are going to be trimming away parts of it, spray basting is not your best choice. Right now I’m a fan of a simple glue stick dot in the center of your circles with a few pins in the corners to keep everything in place. I honestly have no idea why I have a glue stick that isn’t completely dried out, or how I happened to have it readily available, but I saw it, I tried it — and it worked!
4|| Okay! Now that you have your fabric prepped with your fleece or batting, you can set up your Circular Sewing Attachment according to the included directions. If you are using the Brother DZ3000, the attachment plate simply sits in place, tightened with the included screw onto the metal sewing plate of your machine.
5|| Using your center marking, place the pin gently through the weave of your fabric and through the fleece/batting as well. Insert the pin into your attachment plate, and slide to your desired circle size.
Thread your machine with the water soluble thread — you can use regular thread in your bobbin.
There are a few reasons why water soluble thread is used for trapunto. It’s not an absolute must, but it’ll help your quilt look more crisp and clean. After completing these trapunto circles, we will be quilting our quilt sandwich as normal. When we stitch around the circles again — to accentuate the trapunto depth — we don’t have to worry about thread build up or not sewing 100% over your initial pass…the thread will wash away!
It’s pretty magical, but be sure to store your spool of thread in a ziplock bag to keep it nice and dry….or else, well, you’ll be wasting a lot of money on thread!
6|| Sew each circle, being careful to let your machine foot and feed dogs do the work. You want to allow the fabric to glide around in a circle, so that it matches up at its starting point.
I created a video to show you just how fun and simple the Circular Sewing Attachment is to use! You can click here to view if you are reading in a blog reader. I was a little skeptical when I read about this attachment, because it definitely seemed too good to be true! I can now say that it is just beyond good and so true!
7|| Sit back and admire the perfect circle you have just sewn. It’s okay, really. I’ll wait.
Repeat for all circles or shapes you wish to trapunto.
8|| Using a dull-pointed pair of scissors — kids’ scissors work great! — trim away the excess fleece/batting as close to your seam as possible. Be sure to not cut the fabric by accident — it is especially easy to do when using a pointed scissor. Be careful!
9|| Continue piecing together your quilt top. (Trapunto is a really fun technique to use on whole-cloth quilts as well! Which speaking of whole-cloth quilts….I have a tutorial involving one of those coming up next week!)
10|| When your quilt top and back are complete, compile your quilt sandwich: top–batting–back.
I am a huge fan of quilt basting spray, but again, there are many “right” ways to tackle this step! (if you have questions, feel free to comment below or email me!)
You can see that even without quilting your layers together, the trapunto circles still show subtle dimension.
I just love it.
11| Using the same marks used to sew your first layer of batting for the trapunto, place the pin carefully at the center of your circle, lining up the outside perimeter in the path of your needle.
12|| Sewing along the original circle seam. Remember, it’s okay if not ever stitch is exactly inline with your original trapunto outline — the water soluble thread will wash away, leaving you with a clean circumference.
13|| Now the back of our quilt also is starting to have a little character, as it receives the circles you are quilting as well.
And because I love the subtle dimension this fleece provides….
14|| Continue quilting each trapunto outline and the rest of your quilt. The tighter your design outside of the trapunto shapes, the more obvious your trapunto will become.
What else will you be learning how to accomplish with this quilt?
- A few of my favorite ways to plan your quilting lines. Sometimes I like to completely wing it, but lately I’ve been enjoying being a bit more intentional with these lines and designs. I have fun painting with the fabric — and painting with the thread as well!
- Those stripes you see above are a new little idea I thought of during a 2am brainstorm session — why do I always think of my favorite ideas in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping?! I am super excited about this one, folks.
- Binding your quilt.
So to prepare for those steps, go start some trapunto! Don’t have a Circular Sewing Attachment? Consider the DZ3000 or try some simple, straight edged shapes. Diamonds or triangles would be awesome, or even some simple squares and rectangles could be stellar!
I’ll be showing you some drawing and free-motion trapunto in the upcoming month — ah! I was not exaggerating when I said I was hooked on trapunto, but I promise it won’t be all I write or blog about.
I promise. :)
What have you been crafting or making lately? Do share!