Enhance Small Quilting Projects with Surface Design

Judging by the comments on the Quilting Daily Facebook page, a lot of you received fabric and new quilting gadgets for Christmasperhaps even a new sewing machine? If you're like me, you're now itching to use those new goodies in quilting projects. Maybe scrap quilts with all the leftovers from your quilted projects you gave as gifts or small quilting projects to test out your new rotary cutting blades and specialized feet.

quick quilting project pillow by margaret applin
Use screen-printed fabric pieces to make small
quilting projects like this block pillow
by Margaret Applin.

I like to create quilt-in-a-day projects like pillows and table runners, myself. Quick quilt patterns like these let me experiment with mixed-media and surface-design techniques without a lot of commitment of time and materials.

For example, I've resolved to learn more about how to use Photoshop® in the New Year, going beyond resizing photos to creating digital collages I can print out and use as imagery in small quilting projects.

I'm also eager to learn more about screen-printing. I'm not sure I'm ready to dedicate myself to an entire quilt or large wall hanging full of screen-printed fabric. But I'd like to screen-print a few fat quarters and then use the successful prints in a blocked pillow or patchwork table runner.

To create a pillow cover similar Margaret Applin's, shown at left, follow these directions:

1. Gather your screen-printed fabrics and cut them in squares or rectangles, with 2 squares that are the equal dimensions, and 2 rectangles that add up to the total width of both squares plus 1".

2. Cut 2 strips of contrasting fabric 1-1/2" wide, one the same length as the squares and the other the width of the squares plus one inch.

3. Using 1/4" seams, stitch 1 of the squares to the short strip (right sides together) and other square to the other edge of the short strip (right sides together).

4. Sew the 2 rectangles together (as pictured) right sides together. Then stitch that piece to the long strip (right sides together) and the first stitched block (with the squares) to the other edge of the long strip (right sides together).

notebook covers by diane doran small quilting projects
Notebook covers, like these by Diane Doran, also
make quick quilting projects.

5. Trim to square up the completed block, if necessary.

6. Measure and cut a backing for the pillow. Place one fabric square on top of a second square, right sides together. Sew around 3 sides using a 1/4" seam allowance. Clip the sewn corners.

7. Turn the pillow cover right side out. Gently push out the sewn corners. Fold in the raw edges of the opening by 1/4" and press lightly.

8. Push a pillow form or polyester stuffing  into the cover. Close the opening by whip stitching by hand or carefully machine stitching close to the folded edge.

Sewing and quilting projects don't come much quicker than that!

With new quilting supplies and a new year, I'm eager to learn new things. How about you?

Whatever your creative goals-from making quick quilts or creating and elaborately stitched and surfaced-designed series of wall hangings-we have the tools to help you achieve them. You can start with our Digital Fiber Arts Premium Collection: four video workshops focused on helping you learn how to use surface design and digital design in you quilt art.

Here's to a New Year and New Ventures!

P.S. What new creative ventures are you going to tackle this year? Leave your answer below.

Other topics you may enjoy:


Fabric Painting & Dyeing, Monoprinting & Screenprinting, Quilting Daily Blog