This trapunto quilt tutorial is part of the series
In just a few words, trapunto means a quilt design raised with an additional layer of batting and with a pronounced "stuffed" effect. While it wasn't an easy technique in the past, today's quilters made it easier- you just have to try it.
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You can see below (you can feel it too if you touch it) the difference between a wholecloth quilt and a trapunto quilt. The look of the design depends by the thickness/type of the batting used.
For the trapunto design I used the same batting I used for the wholecloth quilt, which was not very thick.
But more dramatic 3D effect could be achieved with thicker batting.
|left picture- wholecloth; right picture- trapunto|
A dense quilting around the design makes it stand out even more.
|picture on the left - wholecloth; picture on the right - trapunto|
Materials List for this small sample
- top fabric, batting, backing :16''x 16''
- additional layer of batting for trapunto: 14''x14''
- washable marker
What batting to use for trapunto
- For my past trapunto projects I used a fluffy polyester batting, like
Hobbs Poly Down Plus or Poly-fil Hi Loft by Fairfield, weighting about 4 -6
ounces per square yard (150-200 g/square meter). Quilters Dream Puff is also good for this technique.
Thicker batting could also be used (with better look for trapunto, of course), but then you need more care to keep the fabric flat while quilting.
- For some projects I used cotton batting or cotton -poly blend;
- Some quilters use 2 or even more layers and this is definitely harder to trim.
You need to know: fluffy polyester batting is easier to trim than felt-like cotton batting.
To assemble the pattern, cut on the dashed line of the first page and tape it to the second page.
|-click on the picture to download the design -|
Using the washable marker, transfer the design onto fabric.
Many quilters use it only in the needle (paired in the bobbin with a thread in a color that matches the fabric); but I like to use it in the bobbin too - it means a few more dollars but less headaches with the thread tension, stitching mistakes or the bobbin thread showing on the top after washing the quilt.
If you don't have water-soluble thread at hand, you could try the technique with invisible thread- see how it works for you and decide if you want to invest in water soluble thread.
|Stitching on the front|
|Stitching on the back|
Cut the batting away around the design. This task probably scares many quilters and they don't even have the desire to try this wonderful technique. But here are 3 tips that make the technique easier.
The trimming is easier (and with less chances for snipping the fabric) if the fabric is stiff - so starch it WELL. My fabric is not well starched, I don't have enough patience for this, but this step is a HUGE help. Take your time and starch your fabric a few times.
|Trim the batting as close to the stitching line as possible.|
2. The scissorsThis thread snip (thread clipper) is the best tool for trimming the batting. I did not even try other scissors, because it is fantastic.
The short blades allow better control while trimming, meaning- again- less chances to clip the fabric.Keep always the fabric flat while you trim the batting.
3. HOLESAccidents happen, no matter how carefully you trim the batting away. If you clipped the fabric, usually the hole can be covered with a dense quilting, in the final quilting stage.
Then wash the quilt.
And here are a few of my trapunto quilts, made many years ago.
The design is enhanced by light color fabric.
It is an interesting technique, with beautiful results. I hope you will try it at least once.
See the other tutorials of the series here
Let's keep in touch!