Sunday, March 6, 2011

Making Quilted Fabric

I have been searching since last year for a case to fit my over-sized sunglasses. All I have been able to find are very large clam shell style cases, which took up a lot of space in my fairly large handbag. Either the stores are stocking a lot of these glass cases on their shelves or they just are not selling well. I suspect it's the latter because most women don't want to carry one of these bulky, heavy clam shell cases in their handbags. Since the soft cases don't seem to exist, once again I must design my own.

After a quick stop to my local fabric store and about $5 in fabric and thread, I had the necessary materials to make my own quilted fabric. I have done a lot of quilting but have never attempted to make a quilted fabric. I measured my sunglasses and drew a simple pattern on a piece of white paper. I used a quilting pencil to draw light lines on the diagonal, 2 inches apart, on the paisley fabric. Next I layered quilt batting between the fabric layers and quilted on the lines. Then I turned the piece so that I could repeat the process on the opposite side. You are trying to quilt a diamond shape.

Fabric and batting layers.

Diagonal lines drawn with white quilting pencil. For a better view of the lines, click on the picture to enlarge it.

Reverse side of quilted fabric showing diagonally quilted lines making a diamond shape.

Pattern for sun glass case placed on folded edge of fabric.

Finished sun glass case.

Making quilted fabric is easy and only requires basic sewing skills. Given both the cost and ease of making the fabric, I would definitely do this again. This fabric could be used to make other purse accessories ( cosmetic bags, mp3 cases, etc.) and the best part is that I can choose any pattern of fabric that the fabric store stocks. If you plan to make multiple accessories I suggest that you buy fabric by the yard rather than use the fat quarters.

Directions for Quilted Fabric Sun Glasses Case:

1/2 yard cotton print fabric-I used a black background paisley print.
1 fat quarter cotton print fabric, in a coordinating color-I used a purple print.
Piece of quilt batting
Gutterman polyester thread to coordinate with fabrics and JP Coates quilting thread in Ecru
Quilting pencil or #2 pencil
Straight Pins

1. Iron the fabrics. Fold the fabric pieces and cut off the uneven ends. Cut the paisley fabric to the same dimensions as the fat quarter.

2. Cut a piece of quilt batting 2 inches larger on all sides than the pieces of fabric.

3. Starting at one corner of the paisley fabric measure approximately 2 inches from the top and draw a line diagonally across the fabric. Measure approximately 2 inches down from the line that you just drew and draw another diagonal line. Repeat this process until you come to the end of the fabric.

4. Lay the purple print fabric on a table with the wrong side facing up and the right side facing the table. Next place the quilt batting on top of the fabric and then place the paisley fabric right side facing up on top of the batting. Pin the layers in place.

5. Thread the bobbin of the sewing machine with the Ecru quilting thread and then thread the Gutterman thread through the sewing machine guides and needle.

6. Starting at the edge of the fabric, using the diagonal lines as your guide, sew along the lines. Sew each diagonal line until the entire fabric has been quilted.

7. Turn the fabric and mark lines on the diagonal about every 2 inches. These lines will run across the previously quilted lines. That's perfectly all right because we are trying to achieve a diamond effect in the quilting (refer to pictures above). Sew the lines along the diagonal marks that you just made until the entire piece has been quilted. Lightly press the fabric with an iron.

8. Cut a piece of paper 3 3/4 inches wide by 7 1/2 inches long. This is your pattern. Round the corners on the right side of the pattern. Fold a piece of the quilted fabric in half and place the long un-rounded edge of the pattern against the fold. Pin the pattern in place and cut along the lines.

9. Cut 2 strips of paisely fabric 1 1/2 inches wide. Sew the strips together at one end. Press the seam open. Fold 1/4 inch under on the right side of the strip ( the length of the strip) and press. Repeat the process on the left side of the strip. Fold the strip in half lengthwise and press.

10. Pin the strip along the edges of the sun glasses case to bind the raw edges. Sew along the open edge of the binding, removing the pins as you sew. Sew slowly around the rounded edges, moving the binding along with the fabric as you sew to avoid bunching the fabric.

11. Fold the finished case in half and press lightly. Pin the bottom and the edges of the case together. Measure 3/4 inches from the top edge of the case and mark it with a pin. Sew the case together along the outside, starting at the bottom, folded edge. Continue sewing along the edge of the case until you reach the marked area.