Making an outdoor quilt may not be on your radar. The concept, actually, might even sound a bit silly, however, if you have lived a moment like I did this morning, you’ll rethink your position.
This little slice-of-my-life story sounds exaggerated, but with Scrappy as my witness, it happened just moments ago. I was walking through my living room when something snagged my foot and sent me stumbling forward. I had tripped over a discarded quilt crumpled on the floor. No problem, I’ll just fold it and place it neatly on the couch – hmmm there’s already a quilt on the couch. OK...what about the corner quilt rack… Nope. Full.
Sigh...throwing the unwanted stepchild of a quilt over my shoulder, I trudge up the stairs to toss it into the linen closet. Thump. thump. THUMP. An avalanche of quilts, sheets, and other random linens hit me in the face. Apparently, this is not the first time I have tried to haphazardly throw a quilt into my linen closet.
Good grief, Suzy. This may be a sign that you have enough quilts in your house.
Lightbulb: I have too many quilts inside my house. Let’s make a quilt for outside my house! An outdoor quilt! Muhahaha.
Read More From Our Quilty Adventures!
A Fully Canvas Quilt: Can It Be Done?
You know that here at SQ we’re all about trying new substrates and combining unlikely fabrics. We even went on a Quilty Adventure discovering how to sew with each one! Our most recent adventure, if you do recall, was canvas.
Quilting with canvas is pretty new to me because I had assumed it was reserved for bag makers and home decor DIY-ers. But then I had an inspiring conversation with my new friend Tami of Premier Prints.
Tami gave me the 411 on making quilts with different kinds of canvas and water-resistant outdoor fabrics. The more she talked, the more I excitedly nodded my head. This new world of canvas would allow for rough and tough quilts for picnics, camping, movies in the park, dog beaches, human beaches, toddlers, BBQs, should I keep going??
All Premier Prints fabrics are 45” to 64” wide and are 100% designed and printed in the USA. They also do their best to be environmentally friendly by using a water-based pigment printing system.
So I got off the phone with Tami, full of excitement for my newest favorite substrate and with a steely determination that my next quilt was going to be an outdoor quilt.
Let’s do this, canvas.
How To Make An Outdoor Quilt
Before launching in with your exciting new bundle of canvas and pattern instructions, hop on over to this post on How to Sew with Canvas. There are a few tips that you don’t want to miss.
Supplies to make an outdoor quilt just like mine:
- Maypole Quilt Pattern
- Canvas. I used all 7 oz. Cotton Canvas by Premier Prints. Specifically: Color 1 - Unprinted Natural, Color 2 - Vintage Camper, Color 3 - Pixie Canal, Color 4 - Solid Village Blue, Color 5 - Wilson Village, Backing - Navy Plaid, Binding - (I deviated here a little bit and used some Kona solids I had on hand.) Kona Terracotta and Kona Brown.)
- 90/14 Needle. I use a basic Universal 90/14.
- 40 wt. thread. I used Aurifil Muslin 40 wt., but if you only have 50 wt. that will be fine too, just make sure you are using a brand spanking new needle – otherwise your thread will keep breaking.
- Basic Tools. Sewing machine, rotary cutter, mat, bla bla bla you know the drill (but if you don’t know the drill, read this post on your Must-Have Quilting Tools.)
For the most part I followed the Maypole quilt instructions, except for two key differences:
- A thicker seam allowance. I added a ½” to my seam allowance so that my seams would be nice and thick. To get that extra space in my seams, I cut all of my pieces a ½" larger. I did this because canvas has a tendency to fray and also so this quilt would be extra sturdy.
- No batting. This quilt is made up of just the backing and the quilt top. I wanted this quilt to be more like a blanket than a quilt and also if/when it gets wet and dirty, I wanted it to dry quickly and not get bulky and heavy if drenched.
One last tip! Before you run out of here screaming, "Get me some canvas!" I have one more thing to add. If you choose a quilt pattern other than the Maypole pattern, pick one that uses large pieces of fabric. Canvas seams can get bulky and if you have too many seams in your quilt top, you'll start experiencing lumps and bumps and frustrations.
Quilts Patterns that Make Great Outdoor Quilts
One way to alleviate seam bulk is to iron your seams open. I chose to do this and it helped a lot. Because I ironed my seams open, I also kept my stitch length to 2.5 – to make it extra secure.
Are you excited to make your very own outdoor quilt with canvas? If you’re a first time customer at ShopFabric.com, use coupon code BEHGDESIGNS for 10% off your order!
If you have any questions at all about sewing with canvas or making your own rough and tough canvas quilt, ask away in the comments.
(If you're wondering why there are exactly zero shots of this quilt spread out without a tiny dog on top it's because my tiny dog is obsessed with this quilt. Now that she knows it exists she refuses to sit on grass. Sigh...but that's for another blog post.)