Sew a Design Wall - Nancy Zieman and Donna Fenske



By Donna Fenske, Nancy’s Notions Guest Blogger

As a quilter, I appreciate the flexibility a design wall gives me. I audition and arrange—then rearrange—my quilt blocks, sashing strips, borders, and other elements before committing my layout to stitches. Design walls are equally beneficial when I work on landscape quilts. I enjoy cutting out different elements from fabrics and playing with the arrangement until it’s just the way I want it. It’s easy and economical to sew your own design wall for wall-to lap-size quilts. Use Gridded Flannel Fabric for patchwork projects, or Solid White Flannel for landscape quilting.

If you’re a block-oriented quilter, you’ll prefer a design wall made with gridded flannel, to help align the square and rectangle pieces of your projects. You only need two fabrics for this project: 1-3/4 yd. of Quilted Iron Quick Fabric, and 1-7/8 yd. of Gridded Flannel Fabric. The Iron Quick provides stability as well as a heat-proof backing for quick pressing jobs on the spot.


Sew a Design Wall - Nancy Zieman and Donna Fenske



Cut along the gridlines of Gridded Flannel Fabric to make a piece 42″ x 63″. Cut a separate piece 4″ x 42″ for a rod pocket. You’ll also need Quilted Iron Quick Fabric cut 42″ x 63″ to back the design wall.

Layer the design wall by placing the silver side of the Quilted Iron Quick Fabric face down on your work surface, then topping with the Gridded Flannel Fabric, gridded side up. Square up the edges on all four sides. Pin the layers together using Curved Basting Pins, about every 4–5 grid squares apart. Close the pins easily using the Kwik Klip.


Sew a Design Wall - Nancy Zieman and Donna Fenske



Set up your sewing machine for a bartack, and bartack the squares you’ve pinned, removing the pins as you come to them. In our example, we’ve used contrasting thread for you to see the stitching. Use white thread when sewing your design wall, and the stitches will be virtually invisible.


Sew a Design Wall - Nancy Zieman and Donna Fenske



To complete your design wall, turn under 1/4″ on the short 4″ ends of the rod pocket fabric and press. Turn under another 1/4″ and edgestitch in place. Fold the rod pocket in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Center the rod pocket and pin the raw edges to the wrong side at the top of the design wall.


Sew a Design Wall - Nancy Zieman and Donna Fenske



Baste the outer edges of the design wall to hold the layers together, removing pins from rod pocket as you stitch. Finish the edges by zigzagging with a standard sewing machine, or serging with a 4-thread overlock. Be sure to seal serged thread ends at the corners with Fray Check or Fray Block. A third option would be to cut four 2-1/2″ lengthwise strips from the remaining Gridded Flannel Fabric and bind the outer edges using your favorite binding technique.


Sew a Design Wall - Nancy Zieman and Donna Fenske



If landscape quilting is more your style, you might prefer a design wall using White Flannel Fabric. This literally gives you a blank canvas on which to create your masterpiece.


Sew a Design Wall - Nancy Zieman and Donna Fenske



Cut Quilted Iron Quick Fabric 42″ x 63″ and White Flannel Fabric 42″ x 67″. Layer the flannel over the Quilted Iron Quick, right sides together, with flannel extending at the top of the design wall. The 4″ extension on the flannel will be used for the rod pocket. Stitch the two sides and bottom of the design wall with a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving the top open. Trim corners diagonally to reduce bulk, and turn the design wall right side out through the top edge.


Sew a Design Wall - Nancy Zieman and Donna Fenske



Create your rod pocket by pressing under 1/2″ at each side edge on the 4″ extension. Fold under 1/4″ on each side of the rod pocket extension. Then fold under 1/4″ on the top lengthwise edge, and edgestitch all the way around the design wall, starting at the top extension.


Sew a Design Wall - Nancy Zieman and Donna Fenske



Fold the extension over the top edge of the design wall and stitch the lower edge in place to form a casing.


Sew a Design Wall - Nancy Zieman and Donna Fenske



Bartack the design wall randomly to hold the layers together. You have a big, blank design wall to create landscapes to your heart’s content.


Sew a Design Wall - Nancy Zieman and Donna Fenske



Take your portable design wall to quilting class or club without removing your in-progress work. Cut two or more equal pieces of Velcro One-Wrap Ties Tape to secure your rolled-up design wall and everything stays in place. This is also a good option if you need to store your quilt between sewing sessions.


Sew a Design Wall - Nancy Zieman and Donna Fenske



Watch a simple step-by-step video demonstration for the Portable Flannel Design Wall project, download the free pattern instructions, and buy the supplies you need to make yours today.


Sew a Design Wall - Nancy Zieman and Donna Fenske



Thanks to Nancy’s Notions, and especially to Donna Fenske, for being today’s guest blogger!

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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