Sewing for the Home: Adding Dimensions to Your Quilts

 A note from Amber: Stitch Technical Editor Mary Walter has a long history with making quilts, including running a quilt shop, teaching classes and judging contests. Here, she shares one of her own projects that includes dimensional quilt techniques.

As an art quilter, I have experimented with and enjoyed many dimensional techniques in my quilts. One of my favorite endeavors appears as part of My Front Door Quilt.  It has raw edge appliquéd leaves sewn by machine and hydrangeas made of knotted and beaded strips of fabric that were couched to the surface by hand.  It took a lot of experimenting to make those hydrangeas.

How to add dimension to quilts
Texture and dimension play a big part in
Mary Walter's My Front Door Quilt.
Close-up of the hydrangeas.

I finally settled on knotting two thin strips of contrasting hand-dyed fabrics into close knobby knots. Once my strands of knotted strips were made, I freeform couched them to the surface of the quilt– adding peach and pearly seed beads randomly onto my thread for added color and texture. The beading was much more subtle than I wanted after the whole strip was couched, so I plan to revisit that idea in the future.

When considering dimensional elements in quilting design, hand quilting itself adds a low relief texture. The creative byproduct of hand quilting is up to the quilter. It could be a contrasting thread color, a circle of feathers or a multi cable border design. The possibilities can be expanded to add even more dimensions to your quilting.

Consider the familiar Yo-Yo quilt and Cathedral Window patterns which have migrated into the contemporary quilt world. The fabrics and patterns may be updated but the ideas have their roots in tradition. Appliqué is also pushing the traditional boundaries in adding dimension to quilting. Today raw edge applique is often used to add an interesting design statement to a quilt.

I recommend experimenting with different ideas to find techniques that appeal to you whether traditional or contemporary.

For more great ideas, check out Exploring Dimensional Quilt Art by C. June Barnes, who has elevated the traditional quilts by transforming them into organic three dimensional shapes.

What dimensional techniques are you using in your quilts? Let us know on the Sew Daily blog.

Happy quilting,

 Mary  Walter

Stitch magazine
Technical Editor


Other sewing topics you may enjoy:


For the Home

About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.