I’m excited to share a gorgeous guest post today from talented quilter (and very lovely and entertaining person overall), Lee Chappell Monroe. She’s going to be sharing some great tips for sewing with those gorgeous Voile or Lawn fabrics that are becoming more widely available. I personally love sewing with these light-weight fabrics. They’re especially nice to work with for English Paper Piecing (see my Liberty stars) and sewing curves, such as my Steam Punk quilt.
Hello everyone! I’m Lee Chappell Monroe, quilt designer and teacher. You can check out all my happenings and full line of quilt and bag patterns at MayChappell.com. I’m excited to join you here and talk a bit about stitching with voile and lawn.
Voile and lawn are 100% cotton but differ from quilting cotton in their threads per inch. Voile is a thinner thread and has a very soft drape that’s almost silk like. It’s a lot like I imagine hugging a cloud would be. Lighter colors can even seem a bit translucent. Lawn has a slightly thicker thread and lower than voile stitch count that is still delightfully soft but with a crisper feel. Both are produced with garment sewing in mind but we are going to focus on using them in quilting!
Starching & Handling
Because of the finer threads, starch is your friend. It adds a bit of body and makes for crisper cuts. I prefer Flatter spray by Soak because I find it doesn’t spot on the finer fabrics. You also want to limit handling the cut pieces, as the thinner threads tend to fray.
When you’re choosing the best pattern for your first project, you want to consider foundation projects. This spiderweb is a free tutorial on my blog and works well with voile or lawn.
I also have a pattern All Strung Up that’s written for voile. It’s a traditional string quilt pattern.
You can mix lawn (or voile) with quilting cotton. You’ll want to be sure they’re fairly evenly spread out and not heavily one substrate in one area. This is my Scrappy Star pattern which plays well with voile, lawn, quilting cotton or a mixture of any of the above.
Don’t be afraid of trying any design in voile or lawn! This is a dresden I made with Liberty of London lawn scraps and stitched to a quilted basket.
Pin it Up
I’m not always a pinner, but voile and lawn can be a bit of a slip and slide experience without them. Pins will keep everything flat and pucker free. These fine glass head silk pins are perfect as the thinner shaft works well with lighter fabric.
Needles & Threads
Because of the fine nature of the fibers of voile and lawn, you’ll want a microtex/sharp sewing machine needle. I prefer a 70/10, but if you’re getting puckering, try a smaller needle such as a 60/8. A thinner thread works best. Aurifil 50 weight is a 2-ply and is the perfect choice. It is thin, strong and stitches through voile and lawn like a dream.
Back to Backing
Making quilt backs easily tops my list of least favorite activities. It’s cumbersome and just not much fun. Voile is 54” wide which means that when backing a bed size quilt, you’ll only need two lengths. And it’s so soft!! The quilting looks stunning and the finished quilt is a bit lighter weight. I back most of my quilts in voile!
The best tip for launching into voile and lawn…just go for it! You won’t regret it!! It’s so soft and yummy. And you can always start with a bit of patchwork for a bag;)
Happy Stitching! –
Lee Chappell Monroe
Thanks so much Lee! Lee has some gorgeous quilt patterns in her shop! Be sure to check them out.
These are such great tips!
And now that more fabric companies are producing voiles and lawns, the variety of choices to choose from is gorgeous. If you are looking for a selection of beautiful lawn & voile fabrics check out Bobbi Lou’s Fabric Factory, I Love Fabric, Pink Castle Fabrics the Fat Quarter Shop. Some of the most famous lawns are from Liberty of London. Check out Westwood Acres and DuckaDilly Fabrics for a gorgeous selection of Liberty.
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