Hey, quilters! Kimberly here from NW (Northwest) Pepper. Today, I am going to show you how to create a collage quilt!
What Is A Collage Quilt?
One of my favorite kinds of quilts to make is a collage quilt. Typically, they are made by arranging random bits of fabric over a large, impactful design outline. The fabric is used to fill in the shapes, and then later, the shapes are cut out and placed on a background.
The technique is basically a mosaic of fabric, so random pieces and random sizes are needed. They are overlapped a bit to ensure that there are no blank spaces in the finished design.
A couple of my favorite collage pattern designers are Laura Heine and Shannon Brinkley. Laura’s designs are beautifully complex and many include fussy cutting specific shapes and designs and layering them into the background. Shannon’s designs are large, striking pieces that use the mosaic fill-in technique, in which the less complex the overall design, the better.
Make A Collage Quilt with Me!
Regardless of the pattern, the process is basically the same. For this project, I made two baby quilts for my young granddaughters - one for Sasha and another for Amaya.
The first step is to select the fabrics you would like to use for your collage. For the most part, all designs will have a scrappy look to them, but you can select fabrics within specific color families and fabrics that coordinate with each other, or you can select random fabrics, including a range of both solids and prints.
For these baby quilts, my fabric selection was based on a color theme of navy and chartreuse. I chose a variety of light and dark prints and solids that I thought would look nice in baby quilts.
After selecting your fabric, iron and begin to trim away fabric strips that are the width of your die, such that it overlaps your blades by at least 1/4”. Fanfold your strips so that they fit the height of your die.
After trimming, you will then want to apply a fusible to the back of the fabric, so that after the pieces are cut out, they can be fused to each other on top of the design. I used Misty Fuse and applied it to the back of my fabric selection.
After making sure to give your pieces time to cool so that the fusible can set, it is time to place your fabric on your die to cut out your pieces. Don't worry if your fabric does not completely fit over the die since you will be cutting out random pieces.
After I cut my pieces, I group all the fabrics together. Even the scraps that are leftover from the sections between the main pieces are worth saving because they add to the random effect of the mosaic and can help to fill in small gaps.
I like to keep my fabric cuts organized so that once I begin collaging, it is easy to keep the scrappy effect in balance. If I plan to work on the quilt on and off, I will also store them in small sandwich bags to keep the project pieces together until I need to add them to the quilt.
When the time comes to start collaging, you will be working with an image, which you will use as the base of your design. The image is drawn on top of the fusible interfacing or another lightweight stabilizer, which is used as a foundation for the design. The foundation material needs to be very lightweight, but strong enough to hold the layers of fabric and fusible.
The fabrics are placed on top of the drawing with the goal of having no gaps within the fill sections. Any gaps would show up in your finished quilt as pieces of the interfacing showing through, which you would probably not want!
If you need to, you can use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut your pieces down as needed for your design.
A very important tool to include any time you are working with fusible is a Teflon pressing sheet. I use several! One of my favorite brands is Goddess because they are large, effective, and also transparent. The Teflon sheets will protect your pressing surface as well as your iron.
After you have filled in your drawing with fabric pieces, you will want to fuse them in place onto your foundation material. If your foundation material is fusible interfacing, you will HAVE to use a Teflon sheet underneath to ensure that it is not fused to your pressing surface.
Your goal here is to fuse your fabric pieces to the foundation material to prepare to transfer it to your actual background fabric. Your pattern instructions will provide you with the information you need to cut, piece, and square up your background.
After all your fabric pieces have been fused in place, you are ready to cut out your design. You will follow your original drawing lines to cut out your collage design, typically by flipping over and cutting from the back of your foundation material. You can use your original pattern as a guide to keep track of the pieces and where you will place them.
I do this by placing the original pattern under my background fabric, then, using a light box/board as a guide for where to place the collaged pieces. I found that the light board was optional when using a light or white background, but very important when using a dark background.
Once all the foundation pieces (with the collaged fabric) have been fused to the background, you can secure all the raw edges of the applique pieces to secure them in place and make sure they do not fray and detach from the foundation.
I use an invisible thread to do this and use my machine on a free motion setting. This process is very forgiving since the thread is basically invisible. I just go over all the sections and ensure the fabric is secured to the background, especially corner pieces. The stitches don’t really matter as long as they secure the main sections. This means that I can just randomly stitch with a general zig-zag until I have covered all the pieces.
After all the pieces have been secured to the background, your quilt top is finished and ready to quilt!
GO! Products Make Collage Quilting Sew Easy
As you can see, collage quilts are a lot of fun to make! The hardest part is choosing your fabric because cutting up the fabric pieces is made so quick, simple, and efficient with GO! Dies and GO! Fabric Cutters.
If you do your own version of this tutorial, please share the photo on social media using the hashtag #AccuQuilt and don't forget to tag @nwpepper and @AccuQuilt so that we can see your collage quilt!