Trapunto Homework and FMQ Practice

Dream Big Mini-quiltDoing My Handiquilter Group Trapunto Homework

If you have been following for a little while, you may remember that I have been attending monthly local Handiquilter group meetings at the Adelaide Sewing Centre. I really like these meetings because they expose me to different techniques and give me a semi-hard-deadline to try them before the next meeting. This past two months we have been looking at trapunto.

The meeting before last, Heather talked about trapunto in general. Then last month she upped the ante by talking about shadow trapunto. This is fantastic, because I first discovered shadow trapunto on the internet years ago, and put it on my to-do list. Where it sadly stayed ever since. Until now.

I was pretty pleased that the next month or two’s worth of homework is something I have always wanted to try. But of course, time slips away and the next meeting is looming very large, so today and yesterday I have been madly going trapunto! πŸ™‚

Dream Big Trapunto

Researching my Trapunto Homework

A few months ago, I also discovered an amazing quilting blog by Geta Grama. If you are not familiar with this blog, you are definitely missing out. I highly recommend that you check it out (Hey, not just yet! – when you are finished here!! ;)).

What’s more, I discovered Geta Grama about the same time Heather announced that we were going to be looking at trapunto for the next few months. And, guess what Geta does a lot of? That’s right! Trapunto! So ever since, I have had one of Geta’s tutorials earmarked. Now I am having a crack at it, and here’s how it went….

Where to get this Trapunto Pattern

The first thing you need to know is where to find the patterns and tutorials if you would like to try this project. The design is by Geta Grama and is available for free download (it will cost you an email address). She also has a free tutorial on her trapunto method and recommended tools, so even if you aren’t wanting to do this particular project, I would still urge you to take a look.

How I made Geta’s Trapunto Mini-Quilt.

After downloading Geta’s “Dream Big” file, I printed the pdf (4 pages) and stuck them together…. this went without a hitch. Now, here’s where I started to deviate from the script. I don’t currently own a working wash-out marking pen, and they make me nervous anyway. So, I traced the lettering onto greaseproof paper and layered this over white cotton quilting fabric and 200gsm (30mm) polyester wadding. I immediately wished I had opted for the thinner polyester batting, as the fat wadding didn’t fit very well under my sewing machine foot. It probably wouldn’t have been such an issue if I had just marked the fabric rather than trying to use baking paper, so perhaps I shall have to remember to buy a washout pen next time I am shopping.

Anyway, with a little care, I managed to sew around the lettering without losing the baking paper. I used soluble thread on the top and ordinary bobbin thread underneath.

Dream Big on paper sewn to batting
“Dream Big” sewn onto fabric and polyester batting
Dream Big from the back
“Dream Big” sewn into polyester batting (from the back)

Then came the bit that has always put me off trapunto. The cutting away of the excess polyester batting. I hate the thought of nicking the top fabric or the stitching holding it all together. Just to cut out this little project took me an hour, and I did accidentally cut the stitching once. It promptly started coming undone quite badly, so I re-sewed the loose part straight away. Thankfully I didn’t nick the top fabric at any point. At this point I was pretty sure that trapunto is not for me. Too stressful for a hobby!!!

Dream Big trapunto cut out
“Dream Big” trapunto cut away from excess batting.

I will  note here that I should have read Geta’s tutorial more thoroughly before I started. She says starching your fabric really stiff helps keep the fabric from getting accidentally snipped. I’ll have to try that next time. If there is a next time….. see, I am warming to the idea.

Putting the Quilt Together

Once I had the trapunto prepared, I layered it over another two layers of bamboo/cotton blend batting (that’s what I had at hand) and put white fabric on the back. I used two layers because I read on Karen’s quilt blog that this will give you better quilting definition and more texture. I wanted to give this a go, and there’s nothing like killing two birds with one stone.

Then I traced the innermost heart shape onto more greaseproof paper and positioned it over the quilt sandwich using the lettering as a guide to placement. I stitched the outline of the heart in white thread and removed the paper.

heart stitched around trapunto
Marking the boundary of the innermost heart with stitching.

Then I filled in the heart around the lettering with micro stippling and finished off the letters and heart outlines by going around them twice. I used variegated Wonderfill cotton thread for the micro stippling and Robison-Anton rayon for the outlines. The Robison-Anton shreds too easily in my Sweet 16, although I never had any problems with it in my domestic machine. I personally prefer Madeira rayon in my Sweet 16. However, the colour was the decider from the threads I had on hand, so I just persisted through the inevitable broken thread episodes.

Dream Big heart finished
Micro-stippling allows the trapunto to really pop out.

Quilting the background

The original pattern from Geta Grama was finished off with some simple echo quilting. But never one to stick to a pattern, I had to mess with it. Besides, I am always looking for ways to increase my quilting practice without increasing my number of projects. So, I drew up a slightly altered echo quilting plan and filled in the first concentric heart with half feathers. By this stage I was having fun. There will probably be a next time after all. 

Dream Big with echo quilting
“Dream Big” trapunto with echo quilting.

Then I decided to complete the feathers rather than repeating the half feathers and alternate the feathers with other designs. I started with pebbles, but my bobbin ran out. Which was fortuitous because I decided I didn’t like the pebbles after all and ripped them out.

Quilting the Dream big trapunto
Here are the pebbles I started before ripping them out.

In the end, I decided to fill in the gaps between the feathers with micro-stippling. It seemed better to keep the number of design elements to a minimum.

Micro-stippling and feathers
Micro-stippling combined with feathers between the echo quilting.

Finally I decided  that I liked the extra white space left at this point, so I actually didn’t fill in the last few sections with dense quilting. So the project finally ended up looking like this:

Dream big quilt, quilting finished

Dream big trapunto close up

Blue Clever Chameleon logo

When I get this mini-quilt bound I will show you. I have also been playing with some shadow trapunto with felt on a cushion that I will post soon, possibly with a tutorial. Remember, if you’d like to give this Dream Big trapunto project a go, visit Geta’s Quilting Studio.

Don’t forget to follow this blog for regular quilt inspiration and tips. You can follow me by email, RSS feed or on Bloglovin’.

I’d love to see how you personalise this project. If you make it, let us know, and tell Geta how much you appreciate the pattern.

P.S. Here are my recommended finds on the internet this week:
Geta’s Quilting Studio blog
Karen’s Quilts: 2016 Free Motion Quilt Along
Create a Card Project on C&T Publishing blog – I am teaching my 9yo daughter to sew at the moment, so all relevant ideas are on my radar lately! Visit for a chance to win a copy of The Best of Sewing Machine Fun for Kids, 2nd Ed.

P.P.S. Also, don’t forget to check out the upcoming Art with Fabric blog at Tweety Loves Quilting.

Art with Fabric blog hop @


P.P.P.S And finally, linking up with these favourite Linky Parties this week:
Free Motion MavericksFree Motion by the River
Quilt FabricationSew Fresh QuiltsMy Quilt Infatuation, The Inquiring Quilter,
Crazy Mom Quilts, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Don’t forget to check out these links for this weeks quilt happenings around the web!

9 Replies to “Trapunto Homework and FMQ Practice”

  1. Hi Dione! So glad to see your trapunto project – it’s beautiful in variegated thread, and the quilting outside the heart is amazing! You used a good batting for trapunto, thinner batting doesn’t show the trapunto effect so well. Also, the paper we use to stitch through is so important – if it is not the proper type, it’s not fun at all and you will hardly want to repeat the experience! I stitch a lot through paper, here is what paper I use:
    The crisp paper – like freezer paper – doesn’t make this job easy!

    1. Hi Greta. Thanks so very much for dropping by and giving us your expert advice. πŸ™‚ The greaseproof paper is not as hard and crisp as freezer paper, but I agree, it is still not the best. I should definitely try some foundation paper, as I have that lying around somewhere. Also, I suspect distressing the greaseproof paper by crumpling it would help with handling under the machine. Thanks for linking up your extra tutorial…. I hadn’t found that one yet. Your hexagon ball quilt covered with shadow trapunto is just breathtaking. I am going to play with this technique some more. I have lots of things to try now! Very grateful.

    1. Hi Susan, I’ll take you for an examiner any time!! πŸ™‚ I was so pleased with the result. I’ll be even happier when it is bound and up on my wall!

    1. Hi Joy. Thanks πŸ™‚ I bound and hung it yesterday and took some pics. Will be showing as an aside in a coming blog post this week. Lovely to hear from you!

  2. I love your fearlessness in trying trapunto! It doesn’t look like it’s for me either–too stressful–but then again, it’s so lovely I might just try it sometime. Thanks for all the wonderful links! Gotta check those out. And thank you for linking up to Wednesday Wait Loss.

    1. It’s fun once you get past the trimming part! “Fearless” was actually just looming deadline :). hahaha. Try a small project to see what you think. I have used another method that gets rid of this scary step. You might prefer it. I hope to blog it next thurs, life permitting! Thanks so much for coming by.

Now it's your turn.... what do you think?