One of my guilty pleasures is Instagram. One of the people I follow on Instagram, @orchidowlquilts, posted a photo of some awesome quilting and an astounding mini quilt. It inspired me to try the technique as well. If you’d like to give it a try, here are the steps you need to follow:
Supplies you’ll need:
Small (super sharp) embroidery scissors
mini quilt (backing, batting, 2-3 layers of top fabric)
Tips and tricks:
-If you cut too closely to the quilting thread, your top fabric may come loose from the quilting. Try to stay about 1/16″ away from the quilting thread. You may need to go back and quilt again if you clip too closely.
-Be careful not to slice the final layer of top fabric!!! If you do, the batting will be exposed (sad panda).
-I wouldn’t recommend this technique if you plan to wash the finished quilt, but it’s perfect for a mini quilt that will be a wall hanging or a display piece that won’t be handled much.
-There were a couple times that I sliced through the wrong fabric, but fray check is your friend, and you’ll be amazed at how well you can hide your mistakes with it!
1. Choose two or three fabrics (solids work well for this).
2. Make a quilt sandwich. For my first time, I made a mini as well. I think it’s good to try this out on a small quilt so you don’t get discouraged by the time involved…
3. You will lay your backing fabric wrong side up, batting on top of that, then one of your solid fabrics on top of the batting (right side facing up). Smooth to get all the wrinkles out.
4. Now you’re going to layer another solid fabric on top of the one you just smoothed. This could be your final piece of fabric, or you could choose to layer one more on top of this. I would keep it to three fabrics for the top for your first attempt.
5. Smooth all the top fabric layers to remove wrinkles and baste in place.
6. Mark the top fabric for quilting if you need to mark, or if you like to wing it like me, get ready to quilt!
7. Quilt your mini quilt. I would recommend not quilting too heavily or small for this. It will make cutting the fabric much easier if the space between your quilting lines is at least an inch.
8. You can do smaller quilting (like in the picture above), but plan on not cutting those teeny tiny pieces–to keep your sanity.
9. Once you finish quilting, you should decide which areas you want to cut. I marked the areas to be cut with a small marking pen that irons away so I wouldn’t get confused after the fact.
10. You’ll need a small pair of embroidery scissors and a seam ripper before you get down and dirty with this!
11. In the photos, the gray is my top fabric, the green is the middle top fabric, and the blue is the last top fabric. When you see the green, I am only cutting through the gray fabric. When you see the blue, I am cutting away both the gray and the green fabric.
12. Use a pin or a seam ripper to pull the top layer of fabric away from the next layer of fabric (without grabbing the layer of fabric you want to leave alone. I use a seam ripper to pull it away and make a small slice so I can get my embroidery scissors in to do the cutting. You can see in the picture below that some of the gray fabric has been sliced with a seam ripper already.
13. Once you have a large enough space to get your embroidery scissors, start clipping the top fabric away.
14. Put on your favorite Netflix shows and clip, clip, clip. Then clip some more!
15. When you finish clipping fabric away, go back with fray check and outline all the cuts you made with it to keep the fraying in check! Allow to dry completely, then you’re ready to put your binding on and call it a day (or week)!
I really love how mine turned out, but I would definitely make the quilting spaces a little larger and less dense on the next go-round. This is not your typical reverse applique, but it is a fun spin on an oldie. Give it a try and see what you can do!