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We’ve been talking recently about how to take your sewing studio to the next level – like getting an AWESOME sewing table, and setting yourself up right with all the best gear.* Now, it’s time to talk about a quilting studio must-have: a quilt design wall.
* Reviews on the Best Sewing Gear!
Check out these blog posts about sewing machines:
Check out these blog posts about the best tools and notions:
What is a Quilt Design Wall?
A quilt design wall is basically a blank space on the wall where you can project your quilty brain. You can use it for aaaanything, like arranging fabrics, comparing colors, organizing finished quilt blocks… so many steps of the quilting process can benefit from a design wall. (Bonus: your knees and your back can benefit, too. Without a design wall, I’d be crawling all over the floor all the time, probably in knee pads.) Design walls are made with material that ‘sticks’ to fabric, so you don’t even have to use pins to arrange your work--you just slap it to the wall, like a crafty magician. It’s the best.
Should I Have One?
You totally should. This is one of those things I really push quilters to create for themselves because
- It’s really easy.
- I’m guessing you probably have walls.
- Previewing quilts makes a big difference. Like huuuuuge difference.
Literally Just Stick It to Your Wall.
(The quilt above is the Stars Hollow pattern – get the PDF download now!)
There’s the easy way, and then there’s… like five more easy ways. Let’s start with the Suzy Quilts Original Method (AKA the lazy way):
What do I mean when I talk about quilt previewing? I’m talking about setting up your quilt blocks, and stepping back to take a look at your work from a distance before you actually sew it together. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve found layout errors and rearranged colors after a quilt preview.
You don’t want to notice this stuff after that quilt’s all quilted and sitting on your bed. Preview it. Move stuff around. Have a quilt design wall.
Yes, that’s really all you have to do to have an official, totally useful design wall. I used cotton batting because it has that handy cloth-sticking factor, but it’s not the only fabric with that magic touch. Here are some other options.
- Cover a thin composite board with neutral-colored flannel: Flannel is another one of those ‘sticky’ fabrics, and it’s relatively inexpensive. I recommend neutral colors because trying to evaluate your quilt blocks against a background of pink stripes can be kind of confusing.
- Use foam-board, with or without cloth covering: If you are someone who actually likes the idea of pinning fabric up, go for foam board! It’s really easy to get pins in and out, and it’s a great lightweight option.
- Secure a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth to your wall, flannel side-out: If you do it right, this can be a great option if you want to be able to remove and roll up your wall in case, you know, you’re having company over and pretending you have more interests than just quilting.
- Buy an actual, commercial design wall: These exist! This one is inexpensive, removable and very transportable (for retreats and stuff.) If you can make a larger investment, this one has great structure (so it's not flapping about when the ceiling fan turns on) and is also collapsible. I just bought myself one and you can see it pictured below.
- Use a door: This can be a great use of space if you have a smaller craft room or quilting space in your home. Cover a closet door, or the door to the room, with flannel or batting, and you’re good to go!
Get this same portable design wall here. It takes about 10 minutes to put it together the first time, and then it gets much quicker. Since first writing this article, I decided to take down my on-the-wall design wall and get this one. I take mine up and down all the time. My reason for the change is because I wanted to utilize that wall for hanging a quilt permanently.
Basically, I get the itch every 6 months and need to change everything in my studio completely. 🙂
A Few Other Ideas Found on the Blogosphere...
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