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.
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.
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. Rocksea.org is a great resource for stitch techniques.