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Wholecloth Quilting with Natalie Ebaugh

Wholecloth quilting with Natalie Ebaugh

Hi, I’m Natalie & here is my Hovea quilted jacket that I made for my partner, Matt! I was so excited when Megan reached out to me about her new quilted jacket pattern, the Hovea Quilt Coat & Jacket. I love how versatile this pattern is, with length, finishing and closure options, but also that anyone can wear it. I’ve made enough quilted coats for myself, so I thought I’d finally make one for my very patient partner, Matt. I rarely make him anything, so he was super excited to finally get a quilted coat of his own.

Whole quilting | Hovea CoatHovea Coat made by Natalie EbaughThe back of the whole quilted Hovea CoatFor my take on the Hovea I wanted to create a textured wholecloth linen version, meaning that rather than having the focus be on the patchwork or piecing design I would use the same fabric for the whole jacket and the texture created by the quilting would be the main focus.

Wool batting is used on the left, cotton/bamboo on the right.

Wool batting is used on the left, cotton/bamboo on the right.

BATTING

First, I made some test swatches to figure out a few things. I tested wool vs. cotton/bamboo batting to see which texture I’d prefer. I love how lofty, or puffy, wool batting is, the texture is so fun! But, ultimately I went with the cotton/bamboo for a lighter weight end product. We live in a very temperate climate, so lighter layers are preferable.

If you aren’t familiar with different batting types I recommend buying a small pieces and testing them out. Each batting will have a different texture and use. Each batting will sew differently too, so trying out different types will help you figure out what you like to work with.

Of the two that I tested, cotton/bamboo batting is lightweight while still being warm. The bamboo also adds a bit of drape to the cotton which makes it nice for garments. Wool batting is springy or spongy and is usually a bit thicker. Wool is a eco-friendly, sustainable option that has good longevity over time. There are positives to both options, but in the end it’s important and helpful to consider how and where this garment will be worn to decide which batting will work best.

Different thread colour options

Zoom in to see the different thread color options.

THREAD COLORS

Then I did a swatch to test thread colors. I decided to go with thread that matched the fabric and was the most invisible so that the quilted texture would be the focus. Choosing a contrasting color can add another layer of visual texture if you wish, so I encourage you to test a few colors out before you start quilting a project. This will help avoid needing to unpick stitches if you end up not liking the color you chose.

Testing stitch widths

Stitches go left to right from 2.5mm to 5mm.

STITCH LENGTH

Next, I did a stitch length test swatch. I started with my machine’s default stitch length of 2.5mm and added length each row until I was at the longest stitch. When quilting I like to use a longer stitch length and this time I chose to use a 3.1mm length. Since these stitches are holding the quilted layers together and not the actual structure of the garment, they don’t need to be as close together as your default length, they can be more decorative. The longer the stitch, the more visible the stitches will be from further away, so keep that in mind for what kind of finished look you want.

Hovea batting swatch test wash

My cotton/bamboo batting swatch before (left) and after (right) washing in hot water.

TEST WASH

After I finished my swatches I photographed and measured them before popping them in the hot wash. After drying I was able to compare with my photos to see how the texture changed, as well as how much they shrank. Each piece shrank ½ inch after washing and the shrinkage created a lovely crinkled texture.

Quilted panels before and after washing/drying

My quilted panels before (left) and after (right) washing and drying on hight heat.

Once I had an idea of how much shrinkage to expect I cut out panels of fabric for each pattern piece. The panels need to be at least 1-2 inches larger than the pattern pieces all around to accommodate for shrinkage during quilting and washing. I chose to quilt a 3″ grid on the diagonal to create a diamond shape. I love that your quilting doesn’t have to be intricate to make a big impact. A simple grid of straight lines is classic and adds movement and interest for the eye.

For this project I used a 5.3oz linen in the color Terra from FabricsStore.com. You can see how the panel’s texture changed in the before and after photos above. Remember, I did not pre wash it. Quilting the fabric before you wash it is key to getting really good texture and in this case quilting with stiff, starchy linen can be easier than if it were washed first. I washed all the panels in hot water and dried them on hot as well. When I pulled them out of the dryer they were so soft and drapey, ready to be made into a coat! 

Finished quilted Hovea JacketFinished quilted Hovea JacketFinished quilted Hovea JacketFinished quilted Hovea JacketI decided to use View A and B to make this coat because I loved the collar band detail, but I didn’t want to line it. The collar adds a cocoon, blankety coziness to the coat while wearing it. I bound all the seams on the outside of the coat to reduce bulk on the inside and I like how the binding breaks up the wholecloth look of the coat.

Finished Garment HoveaFinished quilted Hovea JacketFinished quilted Hovea Jacket

And of course I had to test it out, just to make sure it was as cozy as it looked. And it was. I may just need to make one of these for myself now…

I hope you enjoyed my guest post today! If you have any comments or questions let me know in the comments below or come and visit me on Instagram @Natalie_ebaugh

Natalie

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About Author

Natalie is a Oakland based fiber artist and clothing designer. Natalie explores simple, utilitarian shapes, often combining her love of piecing, quilting and wearable art. Her work is characterized by a strong color palette and bold prints, creating an energizing, intricate and playful style.

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Rebekah
Rebekah
8 months ago

I love this so much! Now I know what I’ll be doing with some linen of my own! ;)

Wendy Dyhr
8 months ago

this is such a great project. Your explanations clear and informative. Love the linen and colour used as well as techniques. Well done, thank you.

Holly
Holly
8 months ago

Wow. This was a thorough and informative blog entry by Natalie. I appreciate her taking the time to share her process and extensive knowledge. I appreciate all the sampling she does and that a great end product doesn’t just happen by chance.