Machine Quilt a Supple and Stylish Garment
It’s that time of year when a cozy quilted jacket is just the thing. But you don’t want to look like you grabbed the cover off your bed and threw it around your shoulders. Here’s how to make a quilted garment composed of three layers – fashion fabric, batting, and backing—that has shape, some great surface texture, and is stylish and flattering to wear.
Start with great fabric
Most any fabric can be quilted, but for best results choose a light- to mid-weight fabric that’s not too tightly woven. I think natural fibers work best—cotton, silk, linen, light-weight wool, and rayon. The backing, or lining fabric, needs to be smooth so it slides easily over other clothing. I love using silk for a backing, but smooth cotton batiks and Bemberg rayon work well, too.
For this sample I’ve used silk taffeta fabric and a silk/rayon lining with bonded wool batting in the middle.
Batting is key
There are lots of different battings available in all fibers and types. My favorite is Hobbs Heirloom Wool, which is a soft, bonded product that’s easy to work with and wonderful to wear. Cotton flannel fabric also works well (be sure to preshrink before cutting). Be careful of firm needlepunch battings that have a lot of body and are great for wall quilts but can be too stiff in a garment.
Thread is the icing on the cake
Choose thread carefully. You can use regular sewing thread or a decorative embroidery thread that’s a size 30 weight or 40 weight. Heavier cotton threads work well, too, when you really want to emphasize the stitches. Color is a factor. Threads that are darker and lighter than your fabric will stand out. Variegated threads are great when your…