January 22, 2012

Silk Quilt

I did go ahead and make sew up the five large pieces of silk brocade into a quilt.  I used Dream Puff batting and a cordoroy backing, with quilting in about 9" squares, making it into a kind of comforter.  I wanted a warm quilt for napping on the couch, which led me to Dream Puff.  (I learned about this batting from Weeks Ringle--see this post.)  To get the "comforter" look, I sewed the layers with a "pillowcase" finish rather than using regular binding.  I'd never done this on anything larger than a placemat before, so the size was a challenge. 

Also, the silk is quite challenging to sew with because of how slippery it is, and because it gives quite a bit in sewing, rather than holding its shape.  I was pleased that it ending up working out all right.  I did a few small trials along the way, for one part or another of the process, and that helped.  It also helped that I had some experience at this point with the fabric after sewing the scarves.  (Double-clicking on photo should bring up a larger version.)

More about the process,  mostly for the quilters out there:  I pinned the batting to my design wall, and spray-basted the silk to the batting.  (I am a big fan of spray-basting; see this tutorial by Patsy Thompson.)  Then I trimmed the batting so that it was 1/4" less that the top all around. (See helpful tutorial by Susan Brubaker Knapp.)  I taped the cordoroy backing to the floor of my studio, right side up.  I laid the top and batting on it, pinned around, and then cut the backing to the same size as the top.

When I sewed the three layers together, I kept the batting on top, so that I could check that I caught a bit of it most of the way around the edge, using a 3/8" seam.
I left an opening, turned the quilt right side out, and then hand-sewed the opening closed.  How then to mark the quilting?  I didn't want to mark the silk, even with chalk.  I thought of quilting with the cordoroy side up, as it could be easily marked, but I thought it likely the silk would then bunch up underneath.  I ended up "marking" the silk by putting a line of straight pins where I wanted to quilt.  This had the dual benefit of not only marking the quilt, but keeping the 3 layers together as well.  (The top and batting were secured by the spray-baste, but the cordoroy needed pinning to those 2 layers.)  You can see the white heads of the pins in the photo below.

When I was finishing the quilt, I suddenly noticed that--minus the light green--I had once again been using the colors of my "Shelter" quilt.  Seems I'm not done with these colors. . .


  1. The colors are magnificent! I'm glad that you are keeping this quilt for yourself after all the effort to figure out how to sew it together.


  2. It looks like it will be a beautiful thing to dream under on a chilly eve on the couch.

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