Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Let's Talk Some Quilting Techniques and Quilt a Free Table Topper for Spring: "I'ts Hip to Be Square!"

For those of us who grew up during the eighties, that title makes you wanna break out in song, doesn't it?

It's also the name of my latest project over at You Can Make This and it's free! If you're new to quilting and you've wanted to create something but are not quite ready to tackle an entire quilt, this may be just the perfect project for you. It's a 24" square table topper made from a charm pack of fabric (a variety of 5" pre-cut squares). If you can mark and sew straight lines, you can totally do this quilting project. I promise!

With photos and detailed instructions and the help of Quilting 101, I will walk you through the whole process. It will make a great spring-time (or any-time!) addition to your decor, and with so many beautiful charm packs available, you can't go wrong when choosing one.

The Moda fabric lines are my favorite, and you can find some here: And with Moda charm packs, you can easily create two of these toppers from one pack...one for you and one for a friend.

Now a little note about quilting your table topper: When you have completed sewing the top panel and you are ready for the table topper to be quilted (the top panel, batting, and backing layers all sewn together), there are several options. Quilting 101 over at You Can Quilt This is a marvelous resource for some quilting techniques. Two of the most common (and easy) types of quilting with the sewing machine are "Stitching in the Ditch" and "Outline Quilting" as some call it.

"Stitching in the Ditch" involves sewing the three quilt layers together right along the seam lines of the top panel so the new seams are nearly hidden. It works best if you have a walking foot for your machine which prevents the quilt layers from shifting (you can find a walking foot for your machine at your local sewing machine dealer, or check online. I actually purchased one on Ebay). You can see an example of Stitching in the Ditch here in this photo:

With "Outline Stitching," you are sewing quilting seams about 1/4" from the seams of the front panel. This type of quilting adds an additional level of dimension, and also works best with a walking foot.

Another style of quilting that takes a little more practice is "Stippling". One of my testers and friends, Micki, did a beautiful job of stippling her table topper that you can see here.

In fact, I was so impressed with her skills, that I asked her to stipple my table topper that you see in the project. With this type of quilting, you drop the feed dogs of your machine, add the darning foot, and freestyle-sew squiggly or curvy lines. (I'm trying to twist Micki's arm to write up a tutorial for this when she gets some time!) I was so thrilled with the results and the unique look it gave to the topper.

Quilting can be so rewarding when you realize what a beautiful work of art you have created for your home. Give it a try! And if you have any questions about this project, I'd love to help you any way I can. What quilting techniques do you prefer?


  1. I just had a reader contact me about a direct link to this project...I'm sorry if I didn't make it clear in my posting! But if any of you couldn't find it either, here it is again:


    Good luck!

  2. I still think it's gorgeous and it's an awesome pattern! I had so much fun with it and now I want to make a slighter smaller version. You know, after I finish that mile-long list of other projects that have to be done.

    Twisting my arm, lol! My next project is actually a quilting project, so I'm hoping to get a little tutorial made up. I need to get my machine serviced first, but it will happen eventually! Thanks, as always, for letting me play!


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