Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Making of Warm and Cozy Quilts


Quilts are a delight to eyes and cozy to feel. However, much effort is put into for making quilts so beautiful and comfortable. They are made through quilting, which is a form of sewing done either by hands, sewing machines, or by quilting machines.

The basic process of quilting involves selecting of patterns, fabrics and batting; measuring and cutting the fabrics into right sized blocks and then piecing these blocks together to make the quilt top. After that the three pieces are layered to form a quilt sandwich and then sewed with hand or machine. Excess batting is trimmed from the edges and binding is sewn to the front edges of the quilt with machine and hand-stitched to the quilt backing. Batting, binding, piecing etc. are the exclusive quilting terms one, who's interested in quilting should know.

The quilts are decorated with complex designs and patterns which depends upon the visualization and creativity of the quilter. Various quilting softwares have made this work an easy task for them. With all the embellishing needle work and techniques various quilt styles are made such as appliqué quilt, block quilt, embroidered quilt, patchwork quilts among many others.

Apart from hand quilting, machine quilting has also become very popular. Machine Quilting is done by sewing machine as well as Longarm quilting machine. In sewing machine, the layers are tacked together by laying the top, batting and backing with pinning, using large safety pins, or tacking the layers together before quilting is done. The longarm quilting machine holds and keeps the quilt stationary on rods while the machine head moves the needle across the quilt. When quilting with sewing machines, the fabric has to be moved through the machine.

Longarm quilting process is a very fast process done with the help of longarm quilting machines that are 10 to 14 feet in length and consist of an industrial sewing machine head, a 10-to-14 feet long table, and a number of rollers on which the fabric layers are positioned. There are hand guided as well as computer guided quilting machines. The computer-guided machine head is attached to a computer system that lets the quilter to choose a design to be sewn onto the fabrics. With selection of the design, the machine will sew the chosen design onto the quilt without any assistance by the quilter.

There are two types of longarm quilting- pantograph designs and customized designs. Pantograph designs span the length of the longarm table which is placed beneath a plastic layer on the table and then traced using the laser found on the machine head. The design can be repeated in rows to create an all-over design on the quilt top. This is a relatively fast and easier method of quilting. Customized designs have individual designs or blocks on various parts of the quilt depending upon the requirements of the end user or the customer. Many sewing styles are adopted for the purpose, such as meandering, feathers and motifs. It is time-consuming and therefore quilts become expensive when made through this method.
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