Completed: wholecloth handquilted pillow

With the Dutch modern quilt guild we have a theme each quarter and we are challenged to make things that fit inside this theme. Last summer the theme was modern traditional. The challenge was to create something with a modern twist using the churn dash, ohio star, dutchman’s puzzle or basket traditional block.

I played around with the idea of doing a wholecloth quilt where the quilting defines the shapes of the traditional block. I got as far as making a small quilt sandwich and machine quilting the outlines of the Dutchman’s puzzle. Then I got sort of stuck on what to do next and it just sat in one of the piles on the desk next to my sewing machine.

The first theme of 2021 was slow stitching and we did a Zoom hand quilting workshop for which I needed something to practice on. Instead of making another quilt sandwich I simply pulled the unfinished Dutchman’s puzzle from the pile and started stitching in the background triangles without much of a plan. Just starting is sometimes the best way to get out of indecision. I used the Sulky 12wt Cotton Petites thread that I had received from the DutchMQG for this theme and I really liked sewing with it. It sewed smoothly and didn’t tangle.

After filling in the background triangles it was time to do something with the geese and I thought the piece needed a bit more colour so I switched to the thicker Wonderfil Perle 8 thread that I already had in my stash and picked green, blue, pink and yellow. After finishing I didn’t like the yellow so much because the contrast with the green background wasn’t as good as with the other 3 colours so I replaced it with a light brown which worked much better.

At some point I also started to hate the black machine stitched lines and pulled those out as well. Much, much better.

For the back of the pillow I picked a quilting cotton from my stash and underlined it with another piece of cotton before installing an invisible zipper. I am very happy with how this pillow turned out. I am now toying with the idea of doing a larger wholecloth quilt to create a handquilted sampler using traditional block shapes. I do tend to overthink these things and am currently stuck on what to choose for the background fabric since that is going to define the look of the piece so much. Suggestions anyone?

April 14, 2021

Emmely Treffers

About Emmely

I am a sewing enthusiast from the Netherlands. I live in the Leiden area with my husband and two daughters and I am currently working as a senior researcher in molecular virology. With my quilting patterns and sewing blog I want to infect as many people as possible with my love for sewing.

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  1. katechiconi

    The finished cushion looks great, I really like the contrast between the angular quilting design and the softness of the surface and the cushion. Regarding the larger piece; obviously any print is going to distract too much from the quilting, but I do think a very muted tone-on-tone print will give better dimension and texture than a flat, plain fabric. The green cushion is very pretty and i know it’s your favourite colour, so how about a nice green with a muted graphic print, or perhaps a shot cotton?

    • Emmely

      Thank you! Ooh, I like the idea of a shot cotton! I hadn’t thought of that yet. I may even still have a piece of fabric that’s large enough, a somewhat darker blue if I recall correctly.

  2. marissthequilter

    This is STUNNING and your stitching is beautiful. I think your idea to make a whole cloth with stitched traditional patterns is a brilliant one. Why not just choose your favourite colour for the background?

    • Emmely

      Thank you! I am now leaning towards a darker blue. I always love white sashiko stitching on denim. Denim is too heavy to work with though for a larger project.

  3. tierneycreates: a fusion of textiles and smiles

    Congratulations on the beautiful pillow and the color is fantastic – wow! I am impressed with the invisible zipper – I have plans to make a pillow cover with one of those one day.

    • Emmely

      Thabk you! The colour is great but a nightmare to photograph! An invisible zipper foot helps a great deal! I always use the method from the book “Quilting Modern” which works great. I think Katie Pedersen also has a tutorial on her blog Sewkatiedid.


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