I am so FREAKING excited to share this Quilted Velvet Blanket project with you all! I have been drooling over the GORGEOUS quilted velvet blankets and bedding from RH, Pottery Barn and Pine Cone Hills for months! While I refuse to spend hundreds of dollars for a blanket that will be USED and ABUSED in my home, I did make a replication for much less!
George Costanza would approve...I also like to drape my body in velvet ; )
Fair warning, this is a time consuming hand-quilted project. It is also very addictive and one of my favorite projects ever! I already have plans to make at LEAST 2 more.
This tutorial creates a finished blanket 60 inches x 70 inches, a generously sized throw. For size reference the standard size of a twin-sized bed quilt is 66 x 89.
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The general plan for this blanket is as follows:
- Piece together cotton quilt front (or back...I will refer to as "front" in this tutorial).
- Create quilt sandwich of velvet-batting-cotton.
- Trim & square edges.
- Mark and hand quilt with perle cotton.
- Create & attach binding.
As always, prewash and dry your fabrics. I wasn't sure how the velvet would fair in the washer (and more specifically dryer), but it came out beautifully. Remember, this is panne velvet which is a polyester velvet, washable and pretty durable!
This project will NOT work with traditional thick velvet, which is found hanging on hangers in the fabric store and is dry clean ONLY!
Cut & Piece together back panel
First step is to assemble the cotton panel which will form one side of the quilt. I do this on the floor in my sewing studio, where I can spread out and work easily with these large pieces of fabric.
Please excuse the nasty indoor/outdoor carpet...replacing that is on my home project list!
I stated earlier that we need 4 yards of cotton for the quilt back. We need this amount of fabric since the finished quilt width will be wider than the 44 inch width of the cotton fabric. The velvet used in this tutorial comes in the standard width of 58/60 inches. As a result,we need to piece two cuts of cotton together to get a panel large enough to use as the backing.
***You could make this blanket more narrow. If you wanted a blanket around 44 inches wide, you would only need 2 yards of cotton. However, you would have to cut down your piece of velvet to 44 inches wide to match your cotton backing. The overall size of a finished blanket made in this way, would be 44 by 72.***
Measure the width needed to complete the back panel.
To do this easily, lay a 2 yard cut of the cotton fabric on top of your velvet fabric. Measure the distance from the edge of the cotton fabric to the edge of the exposed velvet (see photo above).
Another option is to use some good old-fashioned math.
Subtract the width of the cotton from the width of the velvet, and you get the width needed (of your second 2 yard cut of cotton), to complete the back panel.
60 (width of velvet) - 44 (width of cotton)= 16 inches
For ease of measuring and cutting (and because more is ALWAYS better than less), I added 1 inch to that "need" number of 16 and will use a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Based on these calculations and my fabric measurement while layed out, I cut a 17 inch wide strip of cotton from the second 2 yard cut piece.
This will leave a piece of scrap cotton, about 27 inches x 72 inches, left over for another project or your scrap bucket. If you don't have one, start one...they are so handy to have!
Cut second cotton piece to width
Take the fabric to your cutting station and cut to size using your rotary cutter and mat.
This does not need to be super precise, since the ends of the quilt will be squared and trimmed up after the quilt sandwich is made.
Sew cotton panels RST
Sew the two cotton pieces, right sides together to form your cotton quilt back. Choose your seam allowance, I used 1/2 inch.
One of the great things about this project, is that you can buy the velvet in the cut length you need and it is ready to go!
I choose to make this blanket with the full width of the velvet, so as to not waste any of the gorgeous olive beautifulness (swoon!). It also makes this a more manageable project, since velvet is tricky to work with and not a good beginner fabric.
Buy the cut length, based on the desired finished length of the blanket.
- 2 yards of velvet--> 72 inches long
- 1.5 yards of velvet--> 54 inches long
Press seam open and Iron panel WELL!
After your cotton pieces are joined, press the seam open.
Iron the entire panel, removing any remaining creases or wrinkles. It is important to get those out before making your quilt sandwich!
Creating the Quilt Sandwich
1. Quilt Back
On to making that quilt sandwich!
Take your nicely pressed cotton backing and lay wrong side up on a large work surface or floor (clean of course!).
I have learned to tape this layer to the surface your are working on, using masking or painters tape. I have and LOVE Frog Painter's Tape, so that's what I typically use. This helps keep this backing layer tight and taunt while you are making your quilt sandwich.
Wrinkles and loose fabric are NOT your friend when quiting!!!
Next layer is the quilt batting.
Since I am a serious sewer (meaning I use LOTS of supplies), I tend to buy in bulk. It is SO MUCH CHEAPER to buy certain materials in bulk if you are financially able and have the room to store it!
This is the 20 yard roll of cotton quilt batting that I purchsed last Black Friday from JoAnn Fabrics for a steal! It can be tricky to work with and manage, secondary to the large size of the roll. However, the cost savings is worth the slight inconvenience in my opinion : )
Open up, or unroll, the quilt batting and lay on top of cotton quilt back. It is always a good idea to have a little extra batting on all four sides of the quilt, since you might lose a little bit during your quilting process.
I have never had this be an issue, but it's what we're told to do by the professionals....I usually leave an extra 1/2 to 1 inch around the perimeter.
Smooth out the batting as much as possible.
Now the next step is kinda controversial in the quilting world....but I use SPRAY BASTING! It really is a game-changer in my opinion.
Instead of using a needle and thread and sewing large basting stitches through the quilt layers to hold them together, you spray a fabric adhesive onto the inside surfaces. This tacky, slightly sticky adhesive, holds the layers together nicely so that they do not shift around while you are quiting! That is DEFINETELY not what we want!
I was initially hesitant and slightly concerned about the "chemical" nature of the product and using it in my home linens and textiles. However, it washes out beautifully and really does a great job holding the layers together for your quilting!
After I tried it, I never looked back! This is the brand that I use, but there are several available.
It's so easy to do!
Peel back your batting layer half-way. Shake can and follow directions for spraying distance.
Spray the cotton backing thoroughly.
Roll batting from the middle out, smoothing and pulling taunt as you go.
Go to the opposite side of the quilt and repeat the process. The batting is now adherred to the cotton backing and will not "move around" while you are working and quilting!
3. Quilt Front (Velvet)
It's time to add the top layer and complete the quilt sandwich!
Lay the velvet, right side up on your batting and backing. The velvet edges do like to curl towards the wrong side of the fabric. This can make spreading it out on the batting a little more difficult. Do your best to uncurl the edges before you use the spray basting.
Repeat the process for adherring to the batting with the basting spray. This time spraying the adhesive on the batting and smoothing the velvet onto it.
Mind the edges of your velvet and make sure thay are uncurled.
This is what your sandwich will look like at this step.
In addition to the spray basting, I also secured safety pins through all 3 layers of fabric, scattered throughout the quilt, for an extra layer of stability.
This may not be necessary, but I felt better doing it since I knew it would take me several days to weeks to complete the quilting.
God forbid a kid or dog mess up my quilt during the process....there would be quite a price to pay!!! Better safe than sorry....
Mark quilting pattern
I like to mark my quilt tops with quilting lines. The marking pens I prefer to use, are heat sensitive and iron out after project completion. Since velvet is not iron friendly, I choose to mark the cotton side and not the velvet side. I suggest you do the same.
This means that I had to flip the quilt sandwich over, so the cotton fabric is right side up.
Choose your quilting pattern and mark away! I made a simple grid of squares, 6 inches apart, across the entire quilt top.
Your quilt sandwich is made, quilt lines are marked and you are ready to start big-stich hand quilting!
Tieing a Quilter's Knot
Big stitch hand quilting is what makes this project so special...in my humble opinion ; )
It is not difficult to learn and do, but does require a few special techniques. The most important being the "quilter's knot".
This knot is used at the start and end of hand quilting stretches, and prevents stitching from coming undone.
To create a quilter's knot, follow these steps and pictures:
- Thread needle, leaving a 4-6 inch long tail at your needle.
- Orient thread (perle cotton here) to needle, as shown above.
- Grab needle and thread, keeping them in this orientation (shown left).
4. While holding the thread end firmly in place along needle, wrap thread around needle 3 to 4 times (shown right).
5. Move your finger grasp on the needle, grabbing and holding the wrapped thread in place (shown left).
6. Using your opposite hand, gently pull the needle and thread thru the thread in your grasped fingers (shown right).
The goal is to hold the wrapped thread in place between your fingers, while allowing the needle and subsequent length of thread to be pulled through it.
After pulling the needle and thread all the way through the wrapped thread, you will have a nice quilters knot at the end of your length of thread (shown left).
If it didn't work the first time....try again! It might take you a few tries to get the hang of it. If you are struggling, adjust the amount of tension you are placing on the wrapped threads by your finger grasp.
This is a great knot and will not be "pulled out" or "come undone" with pulling, tugging and other stressors that will be inflicted on your quilt.
Bury that knot...
Now we have to bury that knot in the quilt batting, underneath the top layer of the quilt.
This is done most easily, when the line of stitching is started at the edge. Bring the needle up through the batting and top layer, leaving the knot on the outside edge of the quilt.
This prevents you from needing to "pop" the knot through the cotton quilt backing, as we will do after our stitch line. This will be descibed in a few moments.
If you need to start a line of stitching away from the quilt edge, follow the instructions below for burying the knot.
- Insert the needle into the quilt top and under the batting layer of the quilt.
- Bring needle back up thru the quilt top and pull thread to tighten. The knot will be resting on the quilt top at this point.
- Give your thread a quick, hard tug just until the knot "pops" through the cotton and buries itself into the batting.
Once the quilter's knot is buried and secured in the batting layer of your sandwich....you are ready to start quilting!
Pick your quilting pattern and the density of your stitches.
The quilting pattern of a quilt can ENTIRELY change it's final appearance! Don't let that stress you out....embrace it and have fun with it!
As noted earlier, I decided to quilt this piece in a basic square grid pattern which we marked on the cotton side of the quilt.
Honestly, I love a densely quilted look on these blankets, but I COULD NOT WAIT to get this thing finished! So I sacrificed on the density of quiting for the sake of time and getting it done. I can always go back and add more quilting....which I might do ; )
How exactly do you make this big-stich quilted stitch?
Go up and down through all 3 layers of the quilt sandwich with your needle, trying to keep the stitch length consistent on the front and the back. This is done quite easily when you enter and exit the sandwich with your needle perpendiculr to the fabric. It takes a little practice, but is not difficult!
That's about it. Use a thimble on the fingers that get sore...
And for heaven's sake, DON'T BLEED ON YOUR FABRIC!!! I often draw blood and have to take a break until my wounds clot...
Knot the end...
When you get near the end of your thread, it's time to knot the end and bury it in the batting.
No special knot required here.
Make a simple knot by making a loop in the thread and pulling needle and thread through the loop.
The trick is making sure the knot is tight up onto the quilt front, without slack in the thread.
Here is the veteran trick that a member of my sewing posse taught me....
After pulling your needle through the loop, BUT before the knot gets tight, insert the tip of the needle into the knot.
Use the tip of the needle to guide the knot down to the quilt top (shown left), before removing the needle and tightening the knot.
THis works SOOOOO well! I consistently get tight knots right where I want them....flush to the quilt top!
This is what your knot will look like, right up on the quilt top (shown right).
Now its time to bury that knot into the batting layer, just as we did when starting our stitch line.
Bury end knot...
To bury the knot, we are going to insert our needle (still threaded) back into the EXACT same hole that we came out of before tieing the knot.
This is very important!
If you don't use the same hole, you will be unable to pop or pull the knot back through the quilt top and bury it in the batting without disrupting your fabric.
Shown to the left, the needle is inserted in the same hole through the quilt top and batting layers, and pulled back out through the top.
The knot will be resting on the quilt top and your thread end and needle will be off to the side (shown right).
Now it's time to "pop" your knot through the top cotton layer.
I like thinking of this as a "pop".
Give your thread a quick, hard tug just until the knot "pops" through the cotton and buries itself into the batting.
This may take a few tries to get the feel right. Make the motion a short, hard, deliberate tug and then STOP once it pops thru. This is a quick tug or pop, not a prolonged pull.
Quilt, Quilt & Quilt...
Continue quilting to your heart's content and you are happy with the look.
It is always a good idea to check the quilting density recommended on the packaging of your quilt batting. The cotton batting I use, recommends quilting at least every 8 inches. This ensures that you are providing enough quilting density to hold everything together.
We don't want this beautiful creation to fall apart!
Square up quilt...BUT learn from my mistake!!!
Square up your quilt sandwich BEFORE you quilt it!!!
I failed to do this and squared it up after quilting, as is standard when quilting with a sewing machine.
Remember all those quilters knots that we tied and carefully buried in the batting?
Well, I cut off a whole bunch of those buried knots when I trimmed off the edges!!!
It is VERY likely that my quilting will come undone with use and washing. It's not the absolute END of the world, as I can re-quilt the areas that come undone after the fact....but STILL!
Do it in the CORRECT order and save yourself some extra work!
Create & Attach Binding
I used Option #2 to attach the binding to this project, meaning I attached with my sewing machine without hand sewing required. Although, I usually need to touch up a few areas on the back edge of the binding that didn't "catch". Full disclosure : )
Enjoy your one-of-a-kind Quilted Velvet Blanket
I am so in love with this blanket! I already bought velvet to make 2 matching throws for the twin beds in our guest room. Navy blue velvet with blue farmhouse ticking cotton...swoon!
I may attempt the next one without binding like the RH inspiration pieces. I'll provide an update on that...
If you are a lover of velvet and it's texture, run to your fabric store and make one or two! It's so fun to pick your own fabric and choose your quilting pattern.
It is also a LOT more cost effective than buying from one of the high-end stores offering them AND you can customize until your hearts content!
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Be Kind & Stay Safe,