Whisperlite Quilting Tutorials

Build your fabric Collage Quilt designs on Whisperlite;
Whisperlite is a fantastic alternative for voile or muslin, as a super lightweight foundation to build your fabric collages on.
It won't add extra bulk or weight to your collage and it trims away nice and clean.
Here's how you do it...
Simply cut a piece of Whisperlite lslightly larger than your collage drawing. Tape the Whisperlite over your drawing and trace your design onto the Whisperlite with a #2 pencil or washout marker.

Whisperlite for collage quilts thistledown and company
Collage quilts using Whisperlite foundation by Thistledown and Company

Build your fabric collage onto the Whisperlite foundation. Whisperlite is not a fusible product.You will add a lightweight fusible web of your choice to the wrong side of your fabrics. Fussy cut the shapes desired from your prepared fusible fabric pieces. Place them, and then fuse them to the Whisperlite foundation. Once your collage is completely built, then simply trim away the extra Whisperlite from the outside edges.  Now your collage is ready to place onto your background. 

 Continue on for more tutorials.........

This is the tutorial for String Piecing a quilt block

 First... what is a string quilt? A quilt made from kite string? Butchers string? NO, not from literal strings.....
In the case of quilts, the term string, actually refers to strips of fabric. The fabric strips can be of almost any width. Usually 2-1/2" or less, all the way down to 1/2" if you dare.
The strips or "strings" are stitched side by side to a base foundation for the purpose of stabilizing any bias edges (especially if using scraps) and to keep the strings straight (not curving) and on course. In many cases, as in the tutorial below, the strings are stitched diagonally across the quilt block.
String quilts are a fabulous way to use up your stash for a scrappy look. you can also be more precise about color choices and placement for a more graphic and dramatic quilt.

Below is my tutorial for making a string quilt block using Whisperlite as the foundation instead of muslin or paper. You'll love it.
Enjoy stitching.

How to string piece a quilt block using Whisperlite tracer/foundation
String piecing is a great way to utilize your fabric scraps, use up some of your precious fabric stash, or, you can always go shopping at your favorite quilt shop for more.

String piecing on a foundation will stabilize your work along with any bias edges. Traditionally, muslin was used as a foundation, but muslin adds a lot of extra weight to your finished quilt. Sometimes paper foundations are used but then, when you are done stitching, you have to tear away all the paper. Groan.....
That is very messy, and time consuming. Don't know about you, but I'd rather spend my time stitching than tearing.
By using Whisperlite as the foundation, there is no need to remove it when you are done sewing, and it is super lightweight.  You can barely tell it is there.

You can "string piece" free form (without any drawn lines) or, if you like, you can draw the position and width of the strings directly on the whisperlite foundation. In this example I am showing a string pieced quilt block with the stitching lines drawn on the Whisperlite tracer foundation, and placed diagonally on the block foundation.

Step 1. Cut the Whisperlite foundation to the size of the block you want. Make sure to add your 1/4" seam allowance to all sides. Draw the stitching lines for the "strings" of your block with a regular pencil. The closer together the lines are, the smaller your strings will be. That means you can use narrower strips, but it also means more stitching. The strings can be of varying widths, and can be lined up evenly, or skewed like this example. It's up to you or the pattern you are using.

Step 2. Cut your fabric into 'strings" (strips) allowing extra width for seam allowances and placement. I cut most of mine 1-1/2" to 2-1/2" but again it's depends on your design. 
Place two of the strings right sides together, and place them under the Whisperlite with at least 1/4" extending past the line you are going to stitch on. 
You can start in the center as I did here, or, start from one corner and travel across the block.  
Pin the strings in place. 
Step 3. Stitch your first strings on the drawn stitching line, with the Whisperlite on the top, through all layers. I used a dark thread so you can see it better.


Step 2 - String Quilting quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company

Step 3 - String piecing quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company

Step 4.  Turn your block over so the fabric is on top, then flip the strips open as shown. Press. The new string should cover the next stitching line with an additional 1/4" for the next seam. You can hold and fold your strings as you put them in place to be sure they are wide enough before stitching them in place. If you are free-form stringing you don't have to worry about it.

string quilt block tutorial
Step 4 - String piecing quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company

Step 5.
  If your seam allowance of the just stitched seam is more than 1/4", trim the seam allowance to 1/4". Do this after adding each string.

String quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company
Step 5 - String piecing quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company

Step 6. Add another string to the last one sewn. Make sure that when you place it, that you have at least a 1/4" seam allowance past the next line that is on the foundation.

String quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company
Step 6 - String piecing quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company

Step 7. Continue adding strings until the entire block of the Whisperlite foundation is covered with fabric strings.
It's as easy as..... stitch, sew, trim, flip, press....repeat

String quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company
Step 7 - String piecing quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company

Step 8.
Turn the quilt block over to the wrong side and trim it square using the edges
 of the Whisperlite as your trimming guide, or use the markings on your ruler.
 Caution....you may find yourself addicted to string piecing.  

string quilt tutorial Thistledown and company
Step 8 - String piecing quilt tutorial by Thistledown and Company

Here's a block that I started from one corner and I have trimmed two sides.

I hope this tutorial fully explains String-piecing, or foundation-piecing to you. 
It's a fun technique, give it a try.

Whisperlite tracer/ foundation is sold by the yard. Whisperlite 42" wide. 
It is not a fusible product but you can iron it and fuse to it. 
You can find it here...or here.... or ask for it at your favorite quilt shop.

This is the pattern that inspired this tutorial.
Peppermint Strings - a Bed runner quilt pattern 
You can find it here

Peppermint String bed runner quilt pattern




Here's an the tutorial for an easy way to make turned edge applique.....

Use Whisperlite to prepare turned edge appliques. By using Whisperlite you can get the same look of needle turn applique, but quicker and easier.
If you are a beginner to applique this is a great technique for you.  It is also great for anyone that has limited hand movement, or hand pain that makes needle turn applique to difficult.

Here's how you do it......

Trace your applique motif onto a piece of Whisperlite using a #2 pencil or wash-out marker.

Place the traced Whisperlite onto the right side of your applique fabric.

Using a short stitch length, stitch on the drawn line, all the way around the design.

In this example I am using a heart motif. For best results, use a 50 or 60 weight thread to match the applique. I used a contrast color here so you could see it.

HINT ~  If you set your machine to a shorter stitch length, you will get a smoother curved edge.
Trim the applique to a generous 1/8" seam allowance.

Make a slit in the center of the Whisperlite and then, turn the applique right side out. Use a turning tool such as the "Purple Thang" and place the tool in the seam allowance between the fabric layers. If you place the tip of the turning tool between the Whisperlite and the fabric, you'll poke right through the Whisperlite. It's that lightweight.

Continue smoothing out the turned seam allowance, clip inside corners and trim outside points of the seam allowance and then press. Now you have an applique with nicely turned edges that you can stitch to your background either by hand or by machine. Your applique will be neatly finished with no raveling edges and it will be nice and soft, it won't be stiff like fusible applique can be.


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