DIY World Map Soft Quilt
by Haptic Lab Follow

Whole-cloth map quilting is very simple. Two pieces of cloth sandwich a fluffy inside layer of quilt batting, and the design of the quilt is transferred by stitching a traced drawing through all layers of material. The stabilizer (with the map template design) is then carefully torn off the top layer of the quilt to reveal the final design and special embroidery details can be sewn to personalize the project.  Be patient, and give yourself lots ot time: even a small quilting project can take about 60 hours to complete, but the results will last a lifetime-- or longer!

These intstructions show how to hand quilt the design; you can also machine-stitch your quilt project, if you prefer.



Gather Supplies

You'll need a few basic quilting supplies and tools: scissors, safety pins, a straight edge ruler, an iron, and a sewing machine.

Prepare Quilt Layers

Start by ironing out your materials and keep them flat as possible. Smooth your quilt layers, working from the center towards the edges. 

Pin Quilt Layers

Baste your quilt by spacing safety pins equally through all three quilt layers. 

Start Quilting

Once the quilt layers are assembled, or sandwiched, and properly basted, loosely pin the map template to the top layer of fabric. Start quilting from the center, and trace the map with a simple running stitch through the template. Make sure your stitches are taut! 

Tip: Keep one hand above your quilt project (weaker hand) and one hand below (dominant hand) while stitching. (You'll sew much faster.) Keep your thread length under 18" or so to avoid snags. Tie off your ends on the back side of your quilt project by knotting them.

Personalize Your Quilt

Alternate your thread color, thread thickness and stitch lengths to create different map elements. Each map template has a legend of recommendations, to get you started. Continue quilting as much, or as little of the template as you like. 

Remove the Map Template

The map template is single-use. When you're done stitching, carefully tear away the material to reveal the finished quilted design.

Adjust Quilt as Needed

If some of your stitches become loose after the template is torn away, gently pull them from the back of the quilt or massage the quilt layers to even out puckers.

Square Quilt Edges

Square up your quilt edges. You'll probably lose some map elements near the edges, but that's OK. Air-erase marking pens are really helpful. Sew a simple frame border around your quilt with a sewing machine. 

Trim and Bind Quilt

There are many different of methods of binding quilt edges. For an easy binding technique: trim your quilt border and apply your quilt binding edge with the sewing machine. You can make your own binding strips, or purchase bias-cut strips that are pre-made. Fold the edges at the corner and sew down.

Add Final Details

Add details to personalize your quilt using embroidery stitching. Use a removable marking tool to sketch out details to embroider. is a great resource for stitch techniques.

Discussion 6

  • Julia commented 5 years ago

    Quick question. I just started my DIY map from Hapticlab last night. I'm doing a city map, not the world map, and I'm not a big quilter. When stitching the main roads that are in the shape of blocks, should I tie off each block separately? Or should I run my stitch straight through each street. The first option makes the blocks the same on the back. Whereas the second option will make the back inconsistent with the actual roads. I'm kind of lost! Any advice would be SO appreciated!

  • Nicole commented 6 years ago

    These are so beautiful. The attention to detail is amazing!

  • Haptic Lab commented 6 years ago

    Thanks @sew4my3 and @Nora! Yes, we'll be launching a collection of countries (Australia, the UK) and US national parks in 2013. @kaitui_kiwi, tissue paper won't really work... but you never know, maybe with a little experimentation? These map templates are printed to a tearable/semi-transparent stabilizer that won't pull out stitches or deform. 

  • Nora commented 6 years ago

    So cool. Do you also plan to do countries, states, or regions? 

  • Sew4my3 commented 6 years ago

    What a fun project! I love that there is so much hand stitching with it. Beautiful work!

  • thecuriouskiwi commented 6 years ago

    This is really cool, a fun project to potter through in front of the tv and to learn some nice hand stitching. But $38 for a map outline? Wow guys, that is ridiculous, I suggest googling "world map outline" and trace it on to tissue paper instead!

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