Quilts,  Tutorials

How To Make a Mountain of Appalachian Mountain Quilts

Note: You can also use this tutorial to make only one mountain quilt.

What you’ll need:

–Fusible webbing – to stick down the mountains –I use Pellon Wonder Under (except I bought an entire bolt of it)

–A bunch of scrap fabrics, old sheets, etc. (amount depends on how big you want your quilt to be. 3-4 fat quarters should do it for the mountains.)

As I mentioned previously, I’m making a bunch of these quilts as little fundraisers for my favorite pro-mountain non-profits. I generally donate actual cash money each year to these groups, but ahh, not this year! I’m hoping each quilt raises between $50 and $150 for the groups, which is a decent ‘donation.’ I’m also going to offer up a few quilts I’ve already made and have part of the proceeds go to awesome environmental justice groups.

Mountain Quilts

Ok, onto the sewing! Click the link for instructions on how to make these things.

1. Take your sky colored fabric (whatever color the sky is to you). Cut out a piece of fabric, sheet, etc. in the shape that you want your quilt to be. I used an old bedsheet for this. NOTE: if you are planning on hand-quilting, bedsheets aren’t the best choice, because they are dense and hard to sew through.

It’s pretty important that this piece be square (or whatever shape you are going for).  A nice width might be 28×36? Iron this piece and lay it flat on your desk/table/floor.

2. Take your mountain fabrics and begin cutting out some mountain. Start from the bottom and work your way up. Feel free to look at pictures of actual mountains for inspiration.

Mountain Quilt Tutorial

Mountain Quilt Tutorial

You can move the mountains around. To reduce bulk, once you have your mountains arranged, cut off the parts that overlap under the next mountain. I leave an inch or so extra so I can rearrange as needed.

Mountain Quilt Tutorial

You can use one long piece across or split your horizon up into multiple mountains. This piece uses four color fabrics (five with the backing piece that is also the sky) that run the width of the entire quilt:

Mountain Quilts

When you have the mountains all arranged and trimmed, iron strips of your fusible webbing around the edges of all your mountains. This quilt uses the basic technique of “raw-edge applique”, which you can learn about in great detail on other blogs if you are confused.

NOTE: some people cover the entire back of their applique in fusible webbing. This stuff makes your fabric slightly stiff, so if you want your fabric be more like fabric and less like plastic, I recommend just using it around the edges. I think you could also use fabric glue for this phase, but I never have…So I don’t know. Anyway, the webbing/glue not only holds your work of art in place while you’re sewing it, it will keep the edges of your mountains from fraying after it’s all sewn up.

Mountain Quilt Tutorial

Then peel the paper off your mountains and use your iron to glue it all down. The fusible webbing gets super sticky and will get all over your iron if you aren’t careful. Many smart people recommend laying a piece of fabric or paper over your quilt to iron it. This time you want to start from the top and go down. If you mess this up, you just melt off the sticky stuff by baking the crap out of it with your iron. Use whatever recommended heat that your fusible webbing package says.

Next you want to sew down your mountains. I used a blanket stitch around the edge. You could also use a zig-zag stitch or a straight stitch. I have this great 6 mm Open Toe Presser foot that I use for this (see it below). I have moved my needle to the right, so that the outside of the stitch lines up with the right part of my presser foot. Then I can just zip along, making sure that the top of the ‘mountain’ is always lined up with that part of the foot:

Mountain Quilt Tutorial

BUT WAIT DON’T START SEWING YET! Another option is that you can wait to sew the edges of your mountain applique till you are quilting – then you just have to sew through everything once and wham-bam, you are quilted and appliqued in one step! If you are going to do blanket stitch or zig-zag stitch though, you probably don’t want that showing up on the back of your finished quilt. Something to think about…

Ok, let’s fast-forward and say you just sewed all your edges down – yay!  Now you want to make a back for your quilt. One option is to just take piece of fabric and use that as the back. That is a great option! Another one is to piece together a back using scrap fabrics from the front of your quilt like so:

Mountain Quilts back

Mountain Quilts back

This is a great way to use up scraps and have the back of your quilt look badass and possibly better than the front?

Ok, let me know if you have questions. I’m assuming you know how to pin, quilt and bind. If you don’t, get a book about it! That’s hard stuff to learn on the internet.


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