Tips For Sewing Red And White Quilts

Red Against White Makes A Quilt Timeless.

Classic yet contemporary, red and white is one of the most iconic color combinations in quilting creating eye catching quilts. Two color quilts can often be the most striking, but if you’re a lover of the classic, these tips will take your red and white quilting to the next level.


Quilting with red and fabrics do pose some challenges, including the simple fact that darker red fabrics can bleed and show through white cloth. Vibrant colors, such as reds and purples, tend to bleed more than others when washed. If you don’t prewash your fabric and bleeding occurs, it can damage the finished quilt. But knowing when to prewash is an important part of the equation.

how to stop color bleed in red and white quilts

Test the fabric by cutting a small colored square, about 6″. Rub it against an all white piece the same size. Do the test when the fabric is dry, as well as wet. For the dry test rub the red and white fabric together at least ten times. If the any smudging at all, the fabric has to be pre washed. Perform a wet test by wetting both fabrics and set them against each other for about 15 minutes. If there is any color transfer whatsoever, pre wash the fabric.

Prepare the fabric for pre washing by cutting the edges with pinking shears, serging or zig zagging the edges. Then add a spray of starch before cutting. While these are simple tips that would apply to most projects there are a number of disappointing results with two color quilts, especially red and white. Shadowing occurs when a darker fabric shows through a lighter fabric.

Jodi Butler at The Quilting Company put together some of the top tips found in Linda Pumphrey’s book ‘Red and White Quilting’. The book mentions how to prevent shadowing especially when dealing with high contrast fabrics such as red and white. Whenever possible, press darker fabric toward the darker side. If it is not possible, press seams open so the light seams are on the lighter fabric and the darker seams end up on the darker fabric. If you must press to the lighter side, trim the darker seam by 1⁄16″ so it is slightly smaller than the lighter seam and less visible.

Appliqueing lighter fabrics on top of dark will also cause shadowing. Lining your applique shape with fusible facing a quick and easy solution. Linda Pumpreys book offers every solution for two color with special focus on red and white. Included is 40 pieced and appliqued blocks that can be mixed and matched to create eye-catching quilts, and more. It’s a great read and a good book to add to your bookshelf.


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