Saturday, November 23, 2013

The art of quilting on bedspreads and beyond.

The other day I brought some fabrics to my quilting workroom.  We are having it quilted for  bedspreads for a project.  The owner of the workroom, Jay, has been in business 36 years and that is all he does, quilt.  He will tell you himself, it is his passion.  I showed him a photo of a recent installation I completed with my partner, Ellie Caimano from Caimano Interiors.  Most of the time he would never see the completed project.  Jay outline quilted a sea shell fabric and also fabricated the fitted spread and shams for a pair of twin beds in a beach front grandchildren's bedroom.

The project we are working on now is contemporary. At first we were not going to quilt the fabric but then when we talked to the client he said he would prefer it.  The fabric for the master bedroom is a geometric and Jay is going to outline quilt it. Which means he picks out a pattern in the fabric and follows it with the stitching.  We will use just a 4 ounce dacron fill so the spread is not too puffy or heavy.

The other bedspread will be a special design that will quilt little circles in the center of each sunburst.
It is going to look fabulous!   I won't finish this post until I can take photos of the finished product.

Here are a few interesting quilt patterns.  These I refer to as "machine" quilt which means they are standard patterns and can be done on plain or patterned fabrics but the stitching does not follow the outline of the pattern. The stitching is in a regulated design.

This is a beautiful machine quilt pattern.  I have never seen it before, have you?

This is a basic "channel" quilt design.
A channel quilt pattern is simple and looks great on a patterned or plain fabric.  It is tailored and works well in contemporary or traditional style interiors. This one is done on a fabric called moire which has a water mark design woven into it.

"Squares" is very popular and simple.
This design is perfect for the checked fabric seen here but would work on other geometric, floral, solid or patterned fabrics. You can see what dimension just a simple square quilting can give.

Here is another geometric style. Do you like it? I think it is a variation of a hexagon. It almost looks like the fabric is shirred, but I think it is just the way this fabric reacted to the quilting.

This design is called "Ivy".
Ivy is a such a pretty style.  I think it might be difficult to use it on a patterned fabric because it is so patterned itself. So I would keep the fabric plain and let this design stand on it's own. One way to make it more interesting might be to use contrasting thread.  White would be soft but blue might be fun....or orange...whatever color would go with the colors of the room.  Wouldn't this be pretty done on white fabric with black stitching?  I will post a photo if I can find one but if not close your eyes and imagine it!

This pretty yellow quilt has contrasting stitching in blue just as I was imagining.

Here is the reverse of that quilt and just as pretty.  

Vermicelli has always been a favorite of mine.  It is a little playful.  This photo is close up but when you see it on a whole bedspread it becomes almost a lacey texture.

Clouds is a very common design. It has been popular for years. You might have had it on one of your own bedspreads.  Here you see it on a pink and white dotted fabric.  Below is "Clouds" on a colorful print. It looks totally different.

Can you see the "Clouds"?  Amazing!
Jay is a master at figuring out what machine quilt pattern would work best when done on a print such as this.  It looks even more beautiful in a person. I can only imagine the entire bedspread.

Outline quilting is perfect for this fun print.
Outline quilting is definitely more labor concentrated and is usually more expensive.  But it certainly makes a big difference for these parrots!

There are a few things to keep in mind when having your fabric quilted. One is that quilting "takes up" fabric so you might need extra yardage.  The other is the amount of fill you use.  A standard light weight fill would be 4 ounces, but for a puffier softer feel, use 8 ounces.  If you are making a comforter then you might want to increase the fill to 12 ounces. Don't forget to think about the weight of the bedspread. An 8 ounce filled king spread might be quite heavy especially if the fabric is not light weight.  I always check with my client to see if they have a preference.

Here Jay shows how each 4 ounce layer can be multiplied for extra fluffiness.
 I call it the Fluff Factor.

The dacron comes in gigantic rolls.   I wanted to jump on it and see how soft it was.
Whether the trend is to quilt or not to quilt, I believe there will always be a market for soft fluffy bedding.
Quilting  on decorative fabrics can also be found on upholstered furniture.  There are even fabrics that are manufactured already quilted like these that have small repetitive designs. They are frequently used for upholstry or bedding.

 I have seen a sofa where the seats are quilted and the frame is in unquilted fabric.  For a dramatic look try hanging a quilted panel on the wall above a bed or simply upholster a wall with a quilted fabric.  Now that would be dramatic.
Look  at these  beautiful contemporary pieces.  The quilting gives a extra dimension and pattern to each of them.  As you can see quilting is not just for bedspreads any more.

I promised I would include the photos of the custom quilting that inspired this blog in the first place.

Here is the first fabric I brought to the quilter, unquilted.

Here is the finished bedspread.

This close up shows the accent pillows with contrast trim,
contrast trim on the shams and the over scaled neckroll pillow.

You can really see how the pattern in the fabric stands out when it is outline quilted. 

The quilting on this fabric is very subtle.  You can't really see it in this photos.

Can you see a bit of quilting? Look closely.  The center of every other circle has a small circle in it.

The little circles are a little closer and easier to spot.
As you can see quilting is just one more way to add detail to your decorating.  What is your favorite quilt pattern?  What do you think about quilted fabrics on furniture?  Can you think of other places you would want to use a quilted fabric?

As always I invite you to share your answers to these questions and other ideas and decorating experiences in the comment box below.  After you write your comment it will be sent to me before it is published, so you may not see it right away.

Are you thinking about a design project and don't know where to start?  If you need some assistance with decorating your home feel free to email me at  Our full service interior design team is available for consultation or complete interiors.


  1. I love the quilted or matelasse bedding. It feels fresh again. Great post

  2. Thanks for your kind comment, Carrie, so glad you like it. I now notice quilting everywhere!