A design wall is a place on a wall where we can hang units of a quilt. This permits the quilter to stand back and scrutinize the design before sewing the quilt. Quilters often dangle batting or plain white flannel on their design walls, because quilt blocks tend to stick to it effortlessly without pinning.
A design wall is one of the tools that are of immense advantage to any quilt-maker. It allows her to stand back and assess the flow of colors, the combination effect and the effects of various patterns in a current quilt making project. In the initial stages, a design wall helps us to cut out and accumulate block or appliqué pieces to assess whether the selection and combination of colors are working. As work progresses, we can also mount each new section as and when we finish so that we can assess the work and make necessary changes. You can make various color adjustments in the borders based on what you perceive about the middle of the quilt while it hangs on the design wall.
How to Create a Design Wall
A further piece of good news is that a design wall is not difficult to make at all. However we must take certain aspects into consideration.
• The size – The larger the area of the wall, the bigger the design wall can be. It is best to have the design wall on a wall that you can stand at least eight feet away from. The best way to analyze a design is to review it standing away from it. The next decision to be taken is whether the design wall needs to be portable or fixed. If portable, then it needs to be small in size.
• The fabric – Depending on the size of the design wall, we need to buy fabric for both the front and the back, and cut it to the preferred size. The fabric used at the back can be the same that is used in front. We must keep in mind not to use too heavy a fabric. If the design wall is big enough to require seaming together the fabrics, using a flannel sheet can be considered. It is a good idea to pre wash all fabric used.
• The batting - Polyester is not a first-rate option for a design wall since it tends to have a good deal of loft and pills. A total cotton batting is the best choice. Quilts made with cotton batts are popular all the year round. They do not hold heat and make you feel cooler during summers. At the same time, they absorb and trap air and keep you warm on cold wintry nights.
For making the design wall, we need to stick the three layers of fabric that go into the making of the quit, batting and fastening them together with the help of safety pins. Using a walking foot, we need to stitch on the vertical, marked line down the center of the fabric and continue sewing vertical lines out to the rim of the fabric. Once that is done, we need to stitch the horizontal lines in the same manner. Once the entire vertical as well as the horizontal lines is sewn, we need to straighten and square the edges.
Now we are ready to hang our design wall and start using it. We just need to place bits of fabrics, blocks or quilt tops on the design wall, bring into line the corners and boundaries with the stitching lines. The consistency of the flannel will cause the fabric to fasten. There are times when we can use straight pins to break through the batting. This proves helpful in keeping all the sections in place.
Using a design wall will add a new level of creativity and life to your quilting and assure a design you'll be happy with for years to come.