My Big Stitch Tutorial

Here is a tutorial on how I Big Stitch Quilt the little gauze quilts.  What I love about this project is that it is hand quilting but it is not heirloom hand quilting.  It is relaxing and fast and you don't need to be a hand quilter to dive in!  The finished product is cozy, homey, and just plain adorable, as far as I am concerned.  You can do as much stitching as you like and your stitches can be small or big...whatever takes your fancy!

Double gauze consists of two very fine layers of 100% cotton  gauze tacked together.  It is fluid, a bit see through and a bit stretchy because of the fineness.  But easily tamed.  I have not pieced with it (yet) but I think with a lot of spray starch it is doable.

When you purchase the gauze from me, I scissor cut it on the fine grid that is in the fabric so you have a piece that is ready to work with.  That is why I like the Shannon Embrace has a grid so you don't have to mark!  (I hate prep work)...just follow the lines.

The first thing I do is take it to the ironing board, lay it out, spritz it with water and iron it (I use steam), then spritz it with spray starch (I use Faultless Heavy Starch...Lavender, because I love the smell!).  The gauze irons beautifully this way and it lays nice and flat for the next step.


Here is a comparison of ironed double gauze and unironed double gauze.

The next step is basting!  I usually thread baste on my longarm but I have also hand basted it on my table and this last one (featured here), I pin basted.  It all works.  The only thing I have not done is spray baste and that is only because I am chemically sensitive. But I see no reason why it could not be done.  

Lay your backing on a table, wrong side up, and smooth it out (you can tape the edges with masking tape if you like.  Lay the batting on the backing, then lay the top on the batting.  All nice and smooth.  If you are pin basting, place the pins about every 4 inches.  If you are thread basting, put several straight pins in the sandwich to stabilize it and then baste with long stitches in a grid. I baste with #7 darners (The needles I carry work well) with some sewing thread and baste in a grid...again, every 4 inches or so.

I use a hoop for my big stitch quilting and although I have several lovely wooden hoops for my heirloom quilting, for big stitch straight line quilting I use an inexpensive Q Snap hoop! It is light and long and square and holds the gauze and batting layers well.  And many quilters do not use a hoop at all!  Whatever works for you.  :)

I currently use the #7 darner for my quilting and I thread it with perle cotton, about an arm's length.  Knot it and start on one edge in the need to bury the knot as it will be hidden in the binding.

Sometimes I take one stitch...

 And sometimes I take a few....

Depending on the light, I can just quilt away following the grid lines but in the evening I find that I need to lightly mark the line.  I use a water soluble blue marker.

When I have reached the edge of my hoop, I just unthread the perle cotton and let it dangle.  And I start another line.  I don't unhoop until all the lines in that hoopful are done. When I rehoop, I just thread the needle and continue...knotting and burying as I need to.


When I am all finished quilting, I take the project to the machine and I stay stitch the edges.  Twice. 

Then I trim about 1/8" away from the stay stitching and sew on the binding.  I use cotton fabric for my binding as I believe it is more stable for the edges of a quilt.  You may find that your quilt edges, before binding, are a bit wavy from the quilting you have done.  When I apply my binding, I sort of lightly stretch the binding as I machine sew and that helps contain any waviness.  I machine stitch my binding (I use french fold, cut 2 inches wide) to the front and hand stitch it to the back.

My favorite part of the process!  Hand stitching the binding!

Then the quilt goes in the washer and dryer and it comes out all quilty and cozy..and about 2 inches smaller!

I may continue to tweak this tutorial a bit but I wanted to make sure it was on the website for those who have purchased kits.  If you have any questions, just contact me using the form below.  :)

Double Gauze quilts are not just for little ones!  Above is a photo of my own favorite cuddle quilt...two x 2 yard pieces of double gauze, thin cotton batting in between and big stitch quilted with perle cotton.