Sew Your Own Whole Cloth Knit Quilt…Yes, I Said Knit

February 26, 2017By Mister DomesticQuilting, Tips & Tricks 15 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

When I first started sewing, I was obsessed with sewing knit. And I’m pretty confident that many of the first dresses and shirts that I made for my friends and family might not still be intact. And after a few years of persistence and humility, I can confidently say that I have conquered knit… enough so that I am going to share with you how to make your own whole cloth knit quilt. And I promise that it won’t fall apart.

Machine Used

DreamWeaver® XE VM6200D (AKA Felicia) with the MuVit™ Digital Dual Feed System

Supplies

  • Two 1.5 yard cuts of knit fabric (one fabric for front, one fabric for back)
  • ¼ yard Width of Fabric knit fabric for binding
  • Wool batting – throw size (60” x 60”)
  • Spray fabric adhesive
  • Standard weight thread for top
  • Stretch thread for bobbin
  • Jersey/knit needle for sewing machine

Mathew’s Choices

  • Blueberry Cobbler Plaid & Deep Sea Plaid for main knit fabrics and Sahara Sun knit for binding from the Knits collection by Art Gallery Fabrics
  • Hobbs Tuscany Collection 100% Wool Batting
  • Aurifil 40 wt thread in Pale Yellow (top) & Maxi-Lock STRETCH™ thread in white (bobbin)

Preparing Your Throw For Quilting

So if you’re used to working with quilters’ weight cotton, knit has a stretch and requires a more gentle touch when working with it to keep it in its natural state. The added stretch can also create runs if you baste with traditional sharp pins, which is why glue and clips are preferable to pinning. Before basting, I encourage pre-washing and drying the knit before making your quilt sandwich. If you’re new to using spray adhesive to baste, follow the instructions on the can and spray each layer liberally. As you smooth out the fabric, try not to stretch it when smoothing out the bubbles. Once you’ve done this and trimmed any extra batting, you should have a full cloth knit sandwich around 50” x 58” ready to be quilted. So roll this puppy up and take it over to your machine for quilting.

Whole cloth knit quilt 1

When choosing my fabric, I made sure that one of my picks had a pattern that I could stitch directly on top of for quilting. The blue plaid knit fabric I used had a grid of 2.5” squares that was perfect for this batting, which called for quilting up to 4” apart. Before you begin sewing, make sure you have the following set-up on your machine:

  • MuVit™ Digital Dual Feed Foot (or standard walking foot)
  • Ballpoint or jersey needle
  • Lightning bolt looking stitch (called the Stem Stitch), length increased to 4 mm
  • Standard thread in the top & stretch thread for the bobbin

Quilting

Whole Cloth knit quilt 2
Assuming you have this set-up, begin quilting over the pattern you’ve selected on the fabric until you’re done. If you’ve never used the stretch stitches before, they take longer than a traditional straight stitch since they’re going back and forth, so I cranked up the speed of my machine. I was actually pleasantly surprised that there was no shifting of the quilt sandwich layers as I proceeded quilting, but retrospectively it makes sense since the stretch of the knit would keep everything in place if there were any pulls as I quilted.

Binding

Once I was done quilting, I machine basted the desired perimeter of the quilt and trimmed any excess to ¼” outside of the perimeter stitching.

Whole Cloth Knit Quilt 3

For the binding, I cut four 2.25” WOF strips from the solid color knit, connected them, and pressed them in half lengthwise, which is my go-to binding technique for machine binding. I used a slightly different set-up for my machine for attaching the binding:

  • MuVit™ Digital Dual Feed Foot (or standard walking foot)
  • Knit or jersey needle
  • Triple Stretch Stitch with length increased to 3 mm
  • Standard thread in the top & bobbin

Whole CLoth Knit Quilt 4
Whole Cloth Knit Quilt 5

Aligning all raw edges along the back of the quilt, I initially stitched the binding 8 mm from the edge. This should allow for the binding to then be folded over and sewn to the front of the quilt without having to stretch it. And once you cut and connect the open ends, you’ve got yourself a whole cloth knit quilt.
Whole Cloth Knit Quilt 6

  • Mathew Boudreaux is also a Sewcialite (brand advocate) for Art Gallery Fabrics.

  • Blueberry Cobbler Plaid & Deep Sea Plaid for main knit fabrics and Sahara Sun knit for binding from the Knits collection are Art Gallery Fabrics products and Brother International Corporation makes no representations or warranties regarding such product.

  • 40wt Aurifil thread is an Aurifil product and Brother International Corporation makes no representations or warranties regarding such product.

  • Maxi-Lock STRETCH™ thread is an American & Efird product and Brother International Corporation makes no representations or warranties regarding such product.

  • Hobbs Tuscany Collection 100% Wool Batting is an Hobbs Bonded Fibers product and Brother International Corporation makes no representations or warranties regarding such product.

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15 Comments

  • Very nice for a casual quilt! I’m still a bit petrified of sewing with knits so I don’t. Nor do I sew in zippers or buttonholes – LOL! I’m too old to get stressed in my sewing room. Glad you had the persistance though. These would make great Project Linus or other charity quilts I would think.

    • Hello Gailete,
      I’ve been teaching sewing for over 20 years, and fears in sewing are a natural thing. One of my aims as we put this blog out for readers, is to help you through your fears. You mention that you are too old too get stressed in your sewing room. Perhaps to try this technique, size it down to a doll quilt size or baby quilt size and give it as a gift to a loved one or friend.
      We have a few blog posts that detail how to install zippers, with more to come! (Simply put the word zippers into the search box on the upper right of the blog window and see what comes up!) In fact, I recently taught a class at the Craft & Hobby Association Trade Show where we put a zipper in to a vinyl bag. VINYL – that’s another fear people have (and a project I need to write up to share with everyone!) Trying out these techniques on small projects often gets you over your fears. Every time you have one of those “Ah-ha!” moments, it opens another door in your sewing room. Hopefully we’re helping with those new doors here at Stitching Sewcial!
      Best,
      Kimberli

  • This is great but what about stretching? The top and back may have great stretch but the batting does not – what happens when the batting stretches but cannot recover?

    • Howdy Alison. This definitely isn’t a quilt you’d play tug-of-war with. Part of the reason I used wool batting is because it actually does retain its shape and springs back when stretched. While it’s more expensive than cotton batting, I wouldn’t even consider using anything but wool for this reason.

  • I do hope you are still monitoring this – i am in process of making a whole cloth quilt with jersey knit fabric – I’ve done lots of quilting and I used to do a lot with stretch fabrics for skating costumes – but not the two together. My question is on the grain – should both top and bottom fabrics go in same grain direction – or opposite? I’ve been thinking about this all day and need to get this done by next weekend. The knit is 2 way stretch. Thanks!

    • That’s a great question. For mine, I used 4-way stretch knit so it really didn’t matter. And like mine has been through the ringer with my 4 year old and even hung on the wall at a quilt shop for a while and it’s still amazing. The key to quilting with knit it to make sure to use wool batting because then it springs back like knit does. As long as you have that, you’ll be fine having the grain go the same way.

    • It’s an amazing built-in feature that my Dream Weaver comes with. Exponential improvement of quality and efficiency

  • This really interesting. My question is regarding the bobbin. Do u wind the stretch thread by machine or hand?

    • Hello Pamela,

      I’m curious of Mathew’s answer to this too…I’ll reach out to him to be sure he sees your question.
      Meanwhile I can tell you that I hand wind my elastic thread, but it’s not the same type of thread as the stretch…hmmm…Mathew? What DO YOU DO?

      Happy Quilting!
      Best,
      Kimberli

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