Celebrate your passion for sewing and quilting with this week’s Gifty Galore project: a colorful quilted wall hanging, featuring fabrics from the Mary Jo’s Sewing Room collection from Connecting Threads. As soon as I saw these prints, I knew just what to do for my Gifty pattern project. Sew Let’s Sew fills a blank wall in any sewing room beautifully—it sure adds a spark of color to mine. There’s no mistaking what goes on there! For this pattern, I used my favorite fabrics from the collection—but there are several others from which to choose.
The sewing machine takes center stage and is joined by large appliquéd spools and the quintessential tomato pincushion with strawberry emery, plus a rotary cutter and scissors. The blocks are all tied together with red sashing and multiple borders, making a wall hanging that measures 31″ x 57″. I added hanging tabs at the top, but you can add a hanging sleeve to the back of the quilt if you prefer. The tabs are easy to make, using a fold-and-press-and-stitch technique, which eliminates the pesky problem of turning a long tube right side out—my sewing pet peeve!
Appliqué Made It Fast and Easy
I wanted to create a wall hanging easy enough for beginners, so the design includes fusible appliqués and a few simply pieced blocks. Most of the appliqué pieces are large, making stitching around their edges relatively easy. There are only a few tiny pieces that require a bit of care and slow stitching. All of the templates are included in the pattern and have been reversed for fusible appliqué. I love to use the blindstitch over fused appliqué edges, but on the thread loop and the yellow spool parts on the sewing machine, I substituted a narrow zigzag for easier stitching on those tiny pieces.
Be sure to choose a lightweight fusible web, especially for the sewing machine, to avoid overly stiff areas in the finished quilt. For large appliqués, like the sewing machine, pincushion and spools, you can cut the fusible to shape and then trim out the center 1/2″ from the drawn lines before applying it to the fabric. That way you create a fusible frame that will adhere the appliqué, without adding stiffness in the center.
First, I have to admit that doing the actual quilting is my least favorite part of quiltmaking. I’d much rather dream up designs, turn them into the quilt, and leave the quilting to someone else. I’ve never mastered free-motion quilting so I quilted this wall hanging with simple utility quilting (straight and wavy zigzagging) and a few very simple border-quilting patterns.
After layering and basting the top, batting, and backing, I always “set” a quilt that has sashing and multiple borders by stitching-in-the-ditch of the seamlines, as well as along the border seamlines. If you don’t want long lines of straight stitching on the back of your finished quilt (they can interfere with other more elaborate stitching, you can do this stitching with a basting stitch and contrasting thread and remove it later. Using a walking foot helps keep all layers smooth and pucker-free when doing straight-line stitching. I’ve also “discovered” quilting gloves. What a difference they made in handling and moving the quilt as I stitched. They are my new best friend for machine quilting.
My favorite “go-to” machine-quilting stitch is the serpentine zigzag stitch. This wavy straight stitch, adds a lot of depth when used in multiple rows. I often use in quilt borders. However, on this quilt, I did three rows of this stitch in the sashing strips and the inner border only (all of the red strips), and chose a large rickrack-like border design for the 2″-wide middle border, and hearts for the 3″-wide outer border. After setting the quilt and doing the sashing, I moved on to the appliqués, leaving the middle and outer borders for last. Stitching around each piece right next to the raw edges is essential, unless you decide to stitch around the edges as part of the quilting process. I also did echo quilting beyond the appliques wherever possibly by stitching 1/4″ beyond the raw edges of each applique piece at least once. On many shapes there was plenty of room to do multiple rows with the same spacing to fill in the background squares. I love my 1/4″ quilting foot for this type of quilting! I also stitched 1/4″ away from the edges inside the large spools and thimbles to better anchor those shapes to the quilt layers.
For the thread on the machine and the needle, just use a long stitch and heavier thread–polyester buttonhole twist is perfect. If you can’t find it in the right color, stitch over the first stitching once or twice to “fatten it up” a bit.
Embellish As Desired
This design lends itself to embellishment, so I added buttons to the pieced blocks (easier than small appliqués). There’s also a large button added to thee sewing machine dial above the needle. If you wish, just do the button and not the appliqué underneath. I also poked a few of my favorite flowerhead pins into the pincushion for a touch of realism. Of course you can add more buttons—maybe to the sewing machine to add more knobs across the arm. If you are a machine embroiderer, consider embellishing the machine base with a favorite design.
I love striped bindings, whether cut on the straight of grain or on the bias. With the bias stripe from Mary Jo’s Sewing Room, I didn’t need to cut strips on the bias to achieve the look I wanted. The stripes add the perfect finish, I think, to this colorful wall hanging. Happy stitching, whether you gift yourself with this wall hanging or stitch it up for someone special on your gift list—or both!
A new Gifty Galore project will be posted each Monday through December 8th. To keep track of all of this year’s Gifty Galore projects, click here. We would LOVE to see how your projects turn out. Join the Gifty Galore group on Quilt With Us (QWU) and post your pictures there for everyone to enjoy. If you’re on Pinterest, upload your picture and tag it with #GG14. Of course, we would also love to see your pictures on our Facebook wall!