Dear Quilt Doctor,
What is Trapunto quilting?
Trapunto is another way to add texture and dimension to your quilting. By stuffing or filling an area, then quilting it, a raised surface, or relief, is formed that gives shape to stems, leaves, and other motifs. It’s a very elegant look!
To begin, select a quilting design with trapunto in mind or choose from one of the patterns created specifically for trapunto quilting.
Transfer the design to the quilt top with a non-permanent marking tool. Cut out a muslin underlining to cover the trapunto design area. This will form the backing for the area to be stuffed. Baste the muslin underlining to the wrong side of the marked design. To prevent shifting while basting, tape down the corners of the muslin, then tape the marked quilt top to a work surface.
Using a smaller than normal basting stitch and contrasting thread, sew just inside the marked lines of the design.
Turn the fabric layers with the muslin side faceup. Trim away the muslin 1/4" from the stitching line if you’ll be hand-quilting the project. It is not necessary to trim the muslin for machine quilting.
Working from the wrong side of the quilt top, use a small scissors to cut a small slit in the muslin underlining. Work with one design element at a time, such as a leaf or flower, or on a section of a motif. Be careful not to cut through to the quilt top! Stuff little bits of fiberfill between the muslin and quilt top until the design is lightly stuffed. Don’t overstuff, as the fabric surrounding the design will pucker. Turn the project over from time to time to check for distortion. Once you’re happy with the amount of stuffing, whipstitch the opening closed. Repeat to fill in the rest of the designs, then quilt as you wish. Finally, remove the basting threads.
This is just a quick overview of how to do trapunto quilting. For more detailed information, check out the Better Homes and Gardens® Complete Guide to Quilting.
Happy stitching …
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