I’m definitely the kind of sewist who likes to base projects on fabric, not the other way around—so when I saw these Island Batiks Foundation Basics Quilting Cottons, I knew they needed something fun but simple to really show them off. Truly enchanted by all the purples and blues that reminded me of Monet’s water lilies, I chose ten colors, and I decided to go for two projects: a gathered patchwork skirt and an appliquéd quilt, which together really display batiks’ versatility in everything from fashion to crafts to home décor.
- 0.5 yards each of
- Island Batiks Foundation Basics Peacock Abstract Quilting Cotton
- Island Batiks Foundation Basics Jelly Abstract Quilting Cotton
- Island Batiks Foundation Basics Teal Abstract Quilting Cotton
- Island Batiks Foundation Basics Pool Abstract Quilting Cotton
- Island Batiks Foundation Basics Parakeet Abstract Quilting Cotton
- Island Batiks Foundation Basics Marbles Abstract Quilting Cotton
- Island Batiks Foundation Basics Chameleon Abstract Quilting Cotton
- Island Batiks Foundation Basics Blurple Abstract Quilting Cotton
- Island Batiks Foundation Basics Aqua Abstract Quilting Cotton
- Island Batiks Foundation Basics Purple Abstract Quilting Cotton
- 2.5 yards of Black 100% Pima Cotton Broadcloth
- 1 package of 45″ x 60″ Fairfield Toasty Cotton Batting
- 5 pc Navy and Black Iridescent Swirls 4-Hole Plastic Saucer Button – 28L/18mm
Making a 2-Tier Gathered Patchwork Skirt
I started with the skirt since I knew it would require more fabric and I wanted to be sure I had enough. I chose to do two tiers with a non-stretch waistband button placket, but this style could just as easily be done with an elastic waistband!
Aiming for a skirt between 22 and 24 inches long with a first tier that’s around 3 times my waist measurement, and a second tier that’s at least 1.5 times the circumference of the first tier, I cut two 12.5-inch squares and two 12.5” x 6” pieces from each color, for a total of 20 squares and 20 rectangles.
I used 1 square of each color for the top tier, the remaining squares and half of the rectangles for the bottom tier, and 4 rectangles for the waistband, plus one rectangle for the button placket.
I sewed the four waistband pieces together and cut a strip 4 inches wide and long enough to sit comfortably on my waist plus 3” for the button placket and finishing, then folded it in half and pressed. I also pressed in ½ inch on one edge.
Next, I pieced each tier together, playing with the layout of both individually and together until I was happy with the distribution of different colors. I used a serger for the piecing to keep the inside neat.
The bottom tier I sewed into a circle, but the top tier I left open for the button placket. I also hemmed the bottom tier at this point—much easier to do it now than after it’s been attached to the rest of the skirt.
For the button placket, I cut one of the leftover rectangles into two pieces, one 4” wide and one 2” wide. I folded the 4” piece in half lengthwise and attached it to one edge of the top tier. The 2” piece was used to stabilize the other edge of the top tier.
I gathered the top tier into the waistband next, then gathered the bottom tier into the top tier, making sure to overlap the bottom of the button placket while sewing it on.
Last, I finished the back of the waistband and added buttons and buttonholes to the button placket to finish it off!
Creating an Appliquéd Art Quilt
With the rest of the batiks and some Black Pima Cotton Broadcloth, I made an appliquéd quilt, which I’ll probably use as a wall hanging, but it would be great as a picnic blanket or throw, too!
I applied fusible web to the back of the fabric, then cut out my appliqué pieces, making sure to keep the pieces within the area of the fusible web. The sizes of my pieces varied from about 1.5” to 18” long.
I cut the background fabric to roughly 44” by 60”, just slightly smaller than the batting, and ironed it.
Arranging the pieces was my favorite part of the process. I sorted them roughly by size and started with the larger pieces in the center, working along an imaginary flow line until I had placed everything.
After pinning the appliqués in place, I started to iron them down a few at a time—with a pressing cloth in between to protect the iron from any stray fusible web. Using a lot of steam helped the fusible stick.
Once that was complete, I layered the quilt top, batting, and backing fabric, smoothed everything out, and used large safety pins to hold everything together, pinning into most of the appliques.
Then it came time to quilt, simultaneously attaching the layers together and sewing on the appliqués.
Using a free-motion quilting foot, I set my stitch length to zero—I find this prevents skipping and timing issues caused by lowering the feed dogs, while still allowing free movement.
Rolling up the edges of the quilt around my working area makes fitting it in the machine easier, and keeps everything aligned. I used three different top thread colors to coordinate with the colors of the appliqués. I stitched around the edge of each applique 2 times, letting the stitch lines meander for a looser feel, but I made sure to stitch about ⅛ ” from the edge of each appliqué in most places.
After finishing the appliqués, I stitched a few small shapes in the open areas near the corners, to ensure the quilting met the batting’s requirements of stitching no more than 8 inches apart.
Once that was done, I trimmed and squared up the edges of the quilt so that the batting, backing, and top were all the same size. I attached the binding (made of 4-inch wide strips), and gave it some easy-but-elegant mitered corners.
With one final press of the binding, the quilt was complete!