If You're Sick of Squares, It's Time to Meet the Wholecloth Quilt

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Forget everything you know about quilting — that it requires cutting fabric into a gazillion pieces, then placing and stitching all those pieces together in a precise pattern. There's another, simpler way to get an equally amazing end result. Say hello to the wholecloth quilt .

Made from one (yep, one) piece of fabric enhanced with decorative stitching , wholecloth quilts can be a lot quicker to make than their patchwork cousins, yet deliver all the handcrafted, one-of-a-kind loveliness.

Ready to try one out? Here are some guidelines to get you started.

1. Start small

Size doesn't matter (really). What does matter is that you have a great time making your quilt and are gaga over the results. If you're a newbie, consider making a small piece, such as a pillow cover or bed runner. This will allow you to nail your technique before tackling that king-sized coverlet.

2. Get out your sketch pad

Start doodling some designs. They don't have to be perfect or to scale; the goal is to get your creative juices flowing. Do you have any fave free-motion stitches in your arsenal? This is the place to strut your stuff! Once you've played around with your pencil and paper, pick out a few designs that stand out to you.

3. Find your fabric and thread

A wholecloth quilt is typically made with a solid white or cream fabric, but there's no rule saying you can't go with fuschia or charcoal gray if that's more your jam. As for thread, you can opt for a color that blends into the fabric, allowing your shapes to be the star of your quilt, or choose a hue that's opposite your fabric on the color wheel — this will highlight your designs, as well as your rad quilting skills. Totally U2U!

Whatever thread color you choose, you'll need plenty of it, depending on the size of your quilt. It's a good idea to have your bobbin thread match your top thread, so if you do have some teensy tension issues, they'll be less conspicuous.

4. Map out your design

Wash your fabric to get rid of any sizing issues. Then square it up and press it thoroughly. (Pro tip: Use a little starch to keep the fabric crisp while quilting.) Mark your quilt with your design using your favorite marking tool. Then stand back and see how it looks. Correct or add any other designs and details where necessary.

5. Ready, set...practice!?

Before you set needle to fabric, take some scraps and try out the designs for your quilt. That way, you'll be a boss by the time it comes to the real thing. When you're ready to graduate, start in the middle and work your way out. Whenever possible, complete one repeating pattern before moving on to another. Pretty soon you'll be wholeclothing like a natural.

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If You're Sick of Squares, It's Time to Meet the Wholecloth Quilt