Friday, May 03, 2013

Auditioning your machine quilting on your quilt....CHEAP

This is not my idea,  I've read about it in several places, but not sure if my quilting friends know about this trick.    Have you ever wondered if a certain style of quilting would work on your quilt?  Now you can rehearse your ideas directly on your quilt -  with a dry erase marker and vinyl table cloth.

 Purchase -  a clear vinyl table cloth. Mine was called a tablecloth protector, purchased from Walmart for $2.00.   Yes, look who stole the label when I was busy organizing the ideas for this post.  sigh. 
 This comes in different sizes -  mine was 52 x 70.  I cut this into FOUR large pieces.  Keep one the rest for next year, or  give to three friends (Cheryl? Lee?)
Tape the edges, like a fold over binding - I used masking tape, you can use duct tape as well.  This is very very very important.   VERY IMPORTANT.  Because your vinyl is clear, when you are sketching on the vinyl you want to see the edge so you don't accidentally sketch over onto your quilt!
TRUST ME! ahem.

Your vinyl may have a few wrinkles in it, but over time, it will flatten out nicely.  Lay your vinyl over top of your quilt and sketch your ideas onto the vinyl. 

 If you don't like your plan,  it's easy to erase -  with a cloth.

Isn't that the coolest thing??? 
 Another idea -  if you see a design you like in a book, etc.  Do the same thing...trace it onto the vinyl and place the auditioned pattern vinyl onto your quilt.  

I have some pantographs that I have organized in a binder.  A pantograph is a long pre printed pattern that you trace with a laser light...while your machine stitches.  I organized sample copies of the pantographs into my binder and put them in sheet protectors. 

  I traced the sheet protector with a marker and then if I need to audition the pattern on a quilt, I slide the paper copy out...and just use my clear sheet protector to try it out on the so. 
Again, these are ideas that have been in use for quite some time, but thought these would be really helpful ideas for domestic machine quilters as well!

Have you ever tried this?   What do you think?   


  1. Great ideas Andrea! I normally take a photo of any quilt I'm working on and audition different patterns on it via Photoshop (yes, I'm a geek). I had not seen the idea for the panto patterns but I love it! I'll be implementing that this weekend. Thanks for the tips!

  2. What a great tip! Thanks so much! I have never heard of this before.

  3. I know a lot of longarmers use a piece of clear plexiglass for trying out quilting designs, but I kinda like this idea. By cutting the larger piece into smaller ones, and having 3 or 4 of these, you could even compare a few designs at the same time. This would be much more cost effective. Thanks for sharing!

  4. fantastic ideas! I am interested! You are so organized!

  5. Hi Andrea, I hope you don't mind my adding this blog post as reference in my blog. I just think that your tip here is really wonderful! So don't be amazed if you get more Finnish visits to your blog in near future :)

  6. Anonymous6:30 PM

    Great idea. This was also covered on the Fons and Porter episode I saw just the other day.

  7. Great tip! I'd heard about using photos and overhead transparencies but this gives you actual size… And cheaper than a box of transparencies, that's for sure. :-)

  8. Oh my goodness! I went and bought a roll of that "specialty" quilt plastic for an outrageous sum. It never even occurred to me to get a tablecloth. Thanks for a great idea!


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