How to Quilt Your Own Fabric

  • 01 of 04

    Materials Needed

    quilted fabric sample
    Debbie Colgrove

    Buying quilted fabric is easy but you can't always find the weight and color you want. Or sometimes the fabric you want is simply out of budget. Many sewing projects such as small kitchen appliance covers or tote bags are best made with quilted fabrics but your supplier may have limited supplies of pre-quilted fabric. Knowing how to make your own quilted fabric to have exactly what you want and save money.

    Materials Needed

    • Fabric: Cotton fabric is usually chosen because it will "stick" to the batting and will not be slippery as many other fabric options might be.
    • Batting: Read the paperwork that comes with your batting to know how close the stitching lines need to be to stabilize the batting.
    • A backing fabric: Muslin is an inexpensive option.
    • Thread: Machine quilting thread is best.
    • Safety pins: The should be large enough to not bunch the layers of fabric.
    • Seam guide or template
    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04


    Labeled diagram of a prepped piece of fabric
    Debbie Colgrove

    Here's how you prepare your fabric for quilting:

    1. Preshrink your fabric to prevent it from shrinking after you are finished.
    2. Press the fabric and backing fabric well.
    3. On a flat surface, lay out the backing fabric wrong side up.
    4. Smooth the fabric so there are no wrinkles.
    5. Smoothly lay the batting on top of the backing fabric. It is easiest to roll up the batting and unroll it on top of the backing fabric.
    6. Smoothly lay the fabric on top of the batting with the right side up, so that the two fabrics make a sandwich out of the batting.
    7. Smooth all the layers.
    8. Use safety pins to "baste" the layers together without disturbing the smoothness of the layers. You will remove the safety pins as you sew. Do not try to sew over a safety pin!  If your fabric choices are slippery, hand baste the layers together.
    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Sew the Quilting

    Sew the quilting
    Debbie Colgrove

    Now you're ready to sew it all together!

    1. Use a rotary ruler to mark a line that runs at a 45-degree angle to the corner of the fabric, or on the bias of the fabric.
    2. Set your stitch length to a slightly longer stitch length if the fabric seems to tight or bunching.  Allow the stitches to be long enough that the fabric does not pucker.
    3. Sew one line of stitches on the marked line.
    4. Use a sewing machine guide to sew lines of stitching that are an even distance from the previous line of stitching. The spacing between the lines will be dictated by the requirements of the batting and the size of the project you will be using the quilted fabric to make. For example, a small change purse would need closer stitched lines than a bedspread.
    5. Continue until you have quilted the amount of fabric you will need for a project.
    6. Criss-cross your quilting stitches by quilting again from the other direction.
    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Jazz It Up!

    Quilting with decorative stitching
    Debbie Colgrove

    Of course, you don't have to stick to these basic rules. Use these tips to spruce up your quilt fabric for a creative touch.

    • Consider using decorative stitches rather than straight stitches. Experiment on scraps of fabric with all the decorative stitches your machine has to offer. Use scraps because you don't want to have to remove the stitching from your chosen fabric.
    • Quilt in curved lines rather than straight lines, just be sure your lines of stitching are an even distance apart.
    • Use contrasting thread to make your quilting stitches add to your fabric.
    • For a project that both sides of your quilted fabric will be visible, consider printed or colorful fabric for the inside as well as the outside or both layers of fabric.