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Thread: Homespun Quilt Tips

  1. #1
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    Homespun Quilt Tips

    Yesterday I was lucky enough to hit the jackpot at the local thrift store where they had five bags of homespun fabric for a $.25 each! Now I definitely have enough to make a homespun quilt.

    I have never done a homespun quilt, so I'd appreciate any tips. Here's what I intend to do. I am going to wash the fabric to preshrink it first and with a color catcher just in case. I have a serger, so I intend to serge the fabric before washing to prevent too much fraying and a big mess.

    I have read somewhere to use a larger seam allowance too, when using homespun, and a shorter stitch. The pattern I am thinking of is Bonnie Hunters Scrappy Mountain Majesties, http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/...majesties.html, so I am wondering if I need to regraph her pattern to include a larger seam allowance? Is this necessary?

    Any other useful tips from the pros here I would love to hear too Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    That pattern would be great, or any of her patterns for recycled men's shirts. Homespun also makes great rag quilts, but I wouldn't wash the fabric until after it was sewn.
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  3. #3
    Super Member Wonnie's Avatar
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    Definitely, definitely not a pro! But my opinion would probably be not to use homespun for a pattern with so many vulnerable points. I find it to be stretchy, loose woven and vulnerable at stress points. I'm sure someone else may have the opposite opinion though so 'majority rules'. Just my humble thoughts........

  4. #4
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    NZQuilter ... Smart plan to serge the edges before washing. You would have the shrinkage dealt with and know for sure what you are working with. Plus that will help to tighten up the weave some and counter some of the potential fraying as you work with it. I wouldn't change my seam widths, but instead, would prepare the fabric with Best Press, before I started to cut and stitch. It will help to prevent fraying as you work with it. Once you have your top quilted, the ends will be well protected.

    If you do decide to alter your seam widths, keep in mind that it could alter the results of your finished blocks/quilts and change the proportions, and thus the measurements as you work through the project.


    SewBizGirl ... why not wash it before cutting and sewing?
    By serging the ends, she has protected them from a frayed mess!
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  5. #5
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I think all of your plans are spot-on. I like the idea of washing the fabric first (with the edges serged), especially since it came from a thrift store. If you plan on quilting densely then a wider seam allowance is probably not absolutely necessary, but if the quilting will be sparse or in the ditch then I think increasing it is a good idea. I have a throw quilt made with loose-weave decorator fabrics, and I am regretting not using a bigger seam allowance. Live and learn. This pattern lends itself nicely to changes in seam allowance, and it will look great with your homespun fabrics.

  6. #6
    Super Member jbj137's Avatar
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  7. #7
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    I purposely made a homespun rag quilt for my brother. It turned out great. Have fun.

  8. #8
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    I have found that "homespun" varies from almost as loosely woven as bandage gauze (that's exagerating - but not by much) to about the same as "regulalar" quilting cotton.

    I would also soak these fabrics in HOT water (after serging the edges) to get as much shrink in them as possible.

    Then - as QuiltE suggested - use some sort of sizing/starch on the fabric BEFORE cutting it to help stabilize it.

    An aside: I think one is supposed to starch/size the fabric - let it dry - and then dampen it? I know that I soaked a block with sizing - ironed/pressed it when sopping wet - and totally stretched/mutilated the poor block.

    So - may want to check on the "proper" way to use sizing/starch.

    I am in the "wash before cutting camp" - it just seems so much easier to not have to fret about what my fabrics may or may not do when they are washed.

  9. #9
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips! I'll get some starch/sizing sometime soon then. Its probably a good thing to have on hand anyway.
    We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

    1912 World's Rotary Treadle (White Company), 1942 Singer 66-16, 1952 Pfaff 130-6, 1954 Singer 15-91, 1956 Singer 201-2

  10. #10
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    I think I need to find your thrift store....what a deal!

  11. #11
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    I think your idea to shorten your stitch length is in error if the fabric is loosely woven. In that case, you need to use a slightly longer stitch length so the stitches don't fall entirely inbetween the woven threads.

  12. #12
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    I saw a NY Beauty quilt made entirely of darker homespuns in the Possibilities Fireworks pattern by Lynda Milligan. It was stunning. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/54535845461113053/ It is paper piecing so, I don't know if that's something you would want to do.

    Edited to add: This photo is more in the color tones that my friend made her quilt. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/54535845461113053/
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  13. #13
    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE View Post
    NZQuilter ... Smart plan to serge the edges before washing. You would have the shrinkage dealt with and know for sure what you are working with. Plus that will help to tighten up the weave some and counter some of the potential fraying as you work with it. I wouldn't change my seam widths, but instead, would prepare the fabric with Best Press, before I started to cut and stitch. It will help to prevent fraying as you work with it. Once you have your top quilted, the ends will be well protected.

    (Don't forget to let the best press set for a minute or two to absorb before pressing.)


    If you do decide to alter your seam widths, keep in mind that it could alter the results of your finished blocks/quilts and change the proportions, and thus the measurements as you work through the project.

    (Not sure you need wider seams if you are using a serger, but the stitches on a serger should be tight enough, but don't forget to secure the any seam ends you do not sew over with sone kind of seam sealant or tie a knot by hand.)


    SewBizGirl ... why not wash it before cutting and sewing?
    By serging the ends, she has protected them from a frayed mess!
    (I would serger then wash just for hygiene sake. Who knows how it was stored before the shop got it...)
    If you always do, what you have always done, The results never change. Change is the wings you give yourself.

  14. #14
    Super Member Cam's gram's Avatar
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    Clean your sewing machine much more often. It's amazing how fast stuff accumulates in your machine with homespun.

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