Free Pattern Friday – Technique Edition – Wholecloth Trapunto

Karen McTavish Wholecloth Quilt

Every time I go to a quilt show I see one or two wholecloth quilts and just stand there fascinated by the detail and patterns put into these one piece quilts.  It is a whole different kind of quilting when you have to think about the entire piece and create patterns without using different patchwork fabrics.  

You can purchase pre-marked kits if you want to attempt this yourself without marking your own top.  

A technique commonly used in wholecloth quilting is called trapunto.  This is where extra batting is inserted in certain areas of the quilt to really make it puff up and stand out.  One technique featured on Simply Quilts is the McTavish Style and you can see the written out tutorial here. You can watch videos of this being done along with videos on how to do “shadow trapunto” and “color trapunto” creating a neat color effect using fabrics between the top and the batting:

Have you ever tried a wholecloth quilt?


  1. Karen Mc Tavish has several books and DVDs that can be purchased through her web site about her quilting techniques. I hear she is also making a new DVD showing how her style of quilting can be done on a long arm machine.

    I am hearing because of the economy more and more quilters are taking classes in HOW TO MACHINE QUILT. I have noticed a marked increase in classes being offered in this technique.


  2. Thanks for the flashback to Simply Quilts.

  3. I did a little TRUPUNTO using washable thread to baste the extra batting on the back side of my applique piece before I sandwich it. I also had done some bobbin work on those pieces. If you get a chance see RICKY TIMS GRAND FINALE DVD he has a lot of tips on how to do detail work on quilts.

    When you go to buy your new machine check out the repair guy…. Your machine is hostage to the maintenance and repair person. If he /she is not any good YOU will be unhappy with your machine. I do not think I have ever bought a new machine without finding out about the repair service first. Ask at your guild.. they will have the down low on who is good at repair and who to stay away from.


  4. hi i'm your newest follower. doing research ready for back to college in september (might as well do something productive while on bed rest right!!)
    thanks for the great info, cant wait to expplore your blog more.