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Hovea Sewalong: Quilting Prep

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Hovea Sewalong: Quilting Prep

Ok, is it just me or is anyone else been blown away by how beautiful the quilted Hovea & Hovea Curve samples & guest makes we’ve been seeing so far are?! There’s been such a range of contemporary & classic styles, every single one I’ve seen has been unique! The versatility of Hovea is definitely one of my favourite parts of the pattern. And guess what, in today’s sewalong post we’re getting ready to start the hands on steps for our own jackets & coats! Yayyy!

Before we dive in to the exciting quilting part though, we need to make some important decisions and prepare our materials. If you’re not making a quilted Hovea or you’ve chosen a pre-quilted fabric, then pop your feet up and relax! This post is only covering info for the quilters – we’re discussing batting, cutting out our pieces as well as layering & basting our quilt sandwiches. So all the quilters out there, both machine & hand, let’s get started!

The Hovea quilt jacket sewing pattern comes in sizes 0-20 and Curve sizes 14-34!Deciding On Batting

Sourcing your batting (also known as wadding) is right up there with picking your fabrics. They come in lots of weights, fibre types, widths and textures and what you decide on can affect the whole look & feel of your final garment. Do you want soft and squishy, warm or summery, structured or drapey – all of this is affected by the wadding.

It’s also influenced by your stitching pattern (which we will discuss in our next post), but I bring up now because if you have a very specific stitching style in mind this can also factor into your decision on batting. If you’re planning on a densely stitched pattern, a lower loft batting will be easier to work with, where a high loft batting can lend itself to loser, more spread out stitching. What’s this loft business you’re on about? you may ask; well the “loft” of batting is basically it’s height or thickness. A low loft batting is relatively flat and a high loft batting is thicker and puffier.

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Hovea Sewalong: Quilting Prep | BattingIf your indecision is based off aesthetics, get yourself some swatches of different types of wadding and sew up some little samples! Natalie Ebaugh’s guest blog post takes you through some great ways to test your batting/fabric/thread before you start quilting! That way you don’t have to predict the way things will look, you’ll know from the get go.

Apart from the way it looks, there are of course heaps of other factors that can go into your decision, a few of which I’ve summarised in the little infograph below. As with a lot of things in sewing, sourcing the highest quality batting that you can is going to give you the best result both in your coats look & longevity. But at the end of the day, it’s up to you, what you are wanting out of your garment and what’s available to you. For more advice & discussion, check out Wendy Chow of the Weekend Quilter’s post where she brings up some great points which might help you make your decision!

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Hovea Sewalong: Quilting Prep | Choosing Your Batting

Alternatives to Batting

There are of course alternatives to batting if you’re looking for a different look or feel to the classic quilted coat. For example, if you’re wanting a lightweight quilted jacket that still has a little body and warmth, using cotton flannel or other lofty fabrics as the batting layer, like Wendy suggests in her tutorial, can work really well. If you’re looking for an even lighter weight jacket though, just leaving out your central layer completely and simply quilting the lining & outer fabrics together can work too!


Pre-Washing

We’ve now come to the eternal question – whether to pre-wash or not. Everyone has a different opinion, but I am pretty firmly in team pre-wash when it comes to my main & lining fabric. If anything is going to happen during washing, I want to know about it at the start of my project. If I’m mixing fabrics & fabric types in my garment, I also don’t want things to shrink at different rates and end up distorting my jacket.

You can pre-wash some battings, but you don’t have to. People can get pretty stressed about the decision because a lot of the natural fibre battings will have some noticeable shrinkage. But because Hovea is a relaxed fit, boxy jacket, we have thought about this potential shrinkage and included enough ease that if there is some shrinkage, you’re not going to have any major issues. Some shrinkage in your wadding will also end up encouraging the puffiness & puckering that gives you that distinct quilting look and emphasises your stitching patterns – so it’s not always a bad thing! You can use the shrinkage to your advantage. The batting manufacturer will usually provide the shrinkage rate and any wash instructions, so check that and make your own decision based on the result you’re looking for.


Cutting Out

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Hovea Sewalong: Quilting Prep | Cutting Out Your Jacket Pieces

When it comes to cutting out your pieces there is also lots of discussion around whether to quilt your fabric then cut out, cut out larger rough shapes of your pattern pieces to then trim down after quilting, whether to cut only the wadding larger than your pattern pieces, or whether to just cut your lining, wadding & main fabric pieces straight from the pattern. Wendy of the Weekend Quilter and Jodie from Scribbly Gum Quilt Co both used different methods for their Hovea jackets and discuss why & how in their awesome posts, so definitely check them out! As you can see from the photo above, for this jacket I decided to cut my pieces straight from the pattern. There may be some shrinkage after quilting (because things get pulled in & puffed up), but as I mentioned before, Hovea has enough ease for this not to be a big issue, so I just dove in!

You will need the following number of pieces in each of your jacket components – your main fabric, batting & lining – remembering that each pair needs to be mirror images of each other:

  • 2 x Jacket Fronts (i.e 2 main, 2 batting & 2 lining)
  • 2 x Pockets
  • 2 x Sleeves
  • 1 x Jacket Back

Making Your Quilt Sandwich

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Hovea Sewalong: Quilting Prep | Making Your Quilt Sandwich

With your pattern pieces cut out (or whatever form you’ve decided to quilt your layers in), we can go ahead and make our quilt sandwiches. As you’re layering things up you may wish to give everything a quick once over with a pair of snips to catch any loose threads on patchwork quilt tops and a lint roller to keep anything random from sneaking into your jacket (pet/Naomi hair I’m looking at you).

Your lining will be on the bottom, with the right side of the fabric facing down. Next is the batting – make sure everything is smooth and aligned as you place each layer on top of the next. The sandwich is then finished by placing your main fabric on top with it’s right side facing upwards. And that’s a quilt sandwich, delicious!

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Hovea Sewalong: Quilting Prep | Reducing Underarm Bulk By Thinning The BattingQuick tip: when making our Hovea Curve puffer sample I decided to reduce the bulk of the very high loft polyester filling I was using in the underarm & armsyce seam areas. The drop shoulder style of Hovea means that there is already fabric that folds under the arms and I thought considering how puffy the jacket was going to be, getting rid of some batting in that area would be a bit more comfortable and less *toddler in a snow suit with starfish arms*. Because it was synthetic, it was quite easy to peal away some of the fibre layers without disturbing much else, but I’d recommend a little more caution in other batting types that might take it as an opportunity to break apart within your jacket.


Basting Prep

With your sandwich made we need to mark our grainline & a perpendicular line at the bottom of the armscye to help us with alignment of our pieces & when we are marking out our quilting pattern. I find the easiest way to mark your grainline is to fold your pattern piece along the pattern grainline and to mark some points along it, then to use those marks to line up your quilting ruler and draw your grainline around the middle of the pattern piece with your preferred tool. If you’re going to do some hand baste stitches, these will be your first lines to stitch. While I’m doing this, I just pop some pins in temporarily around the edges to keep my sandwich in place while I work.

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Hovea Sewalong: Quilting Prep | Marking Your GrainlineChalk

There are lots of different tools you can use to mark your fabric and we’ll go into more depth in our next post, but one I’m using today is chalk. My favourite form that it comes in is the chaco chalk liner pen which I picked up from Kylie & The Machine‘s online store.

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Hovea Sewalong: Quilting Prep | Marking Your Grainline With ChalkCrease Tool

Another favourite of mine is the Hera creasing tool, which Jodie from Scribbly Gum Quilt Co also mentions in her post and stocks in her store. It’s marks are clear & stay in place well and if you don’t have access to one, there are also heaps of household items that can do the same job!

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Hovea Sewalong: Quilting Prep | Marking Your Armscye Line With A Creasing Tool


Basting

Basting, the next step in preparation for quilting, is the process of adhering your quilt sandwich pieces together so they are secure and less likely to shift, warp and bubble while you quilt. Probably the most common method is hand basting which are large running stitches you can sew with a needle and thread vertically & horizontally across your pieces. When doing these stitches it’s best to start in the middle and work outwards, beginning on your grain & armscye lines we just drew, before continuing to add parallel lines out towards the edges.

Work on a nice flat surface where your can be sure your stitches are catching all three layers evenly and not causing any gathering or bubbles. These are temporary stitches so they don’t have to be pretty and I find doing them in a contrast colour makes them easier to unpick later.

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Hovea Sewalong: Quilting Prep | Basting Stitches Or Pin BastingDo I have to? What are the alternatives?

This can be a time consuming process and might seem a bit tedious, but basting your jacket pieces is really important as it prevents the layers from moving all over the place while you quilt which is frustrating, difficult to control and it usually results in a less than perfect final product. If it’s just that hand stitching isn’t your shtick, that’s ok – there are alternatives!

One option is to secure things with pins, safety pins or quilting pins (which are safety pins that are nice and strong and have a curve to them to help you get through the layers). They are easy and quick and do the job well, but one downside is they can sometimes get in the way while quilting or be a bit awkward to take out while you’re in your quilting flow. A second option is spray basting – using a specialty spray adhesive to temporarily glue your lining to one side of your batting and then your quilt top to the other. It’s fast, relatively easy, there’s nothing to get in your way while you quilt, but it can be a little bit messy, it’s more expensive than it’s alternatives.

Find your own method

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Hovea Sewalong: Quilting Prep | Finding Your Own Basting Method

It may take experimenting with a few ways for you to find the method of basting you prefer. It might be a mix of different approaches or none of the ways we’ve mentioned so far. When I was making the Hovea Curve quilted coat sample which had a gauzey crinkle stripe lining, I found that in order to prevent the stripes from being warped on the underside, I ended up machine stitching just the lining to the batting along all of the stripes with a large stitch length. After that was secure, I found it a lot easier to then baste the top of the quilt to the half made sandwich, without things warping. So at the end of the day, it’s whatever works for you and your project!

And that’s all for our quilting prep folks! Next up in the Hovea sewalong is our quilting design prep – where we get to start on the fun creative stuff!

Naomi xx


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About Author

Naomi is the Design Assistant here at Megan Nielsen Patterns, and our resident helping hand. She stays busy assisting Meg with pattern development leg work, getting super excited about good instructional diagrams and making green coloured fabric suggestions for every sample we make. She’s a problem solver, a fabric addict, a serial tea-forgetter and a passionate maker.

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Christine
Christine
2 years ago

Awesome post! Please help me find the ‘pre-Hovea’ use of toile posts I see referred to. Thanks so much

Christine
Christine
2 years ago
Reply to  Naomi

It was the post on alterations. “If you have larger biceps and found your toile to be too clingy on your upper arm,”