We love working with non-traditional fabrics to create wonderful new combinations. If you’ve always turned to quilting cottons or fleece to construct a throw, give today’s linen and rayon beauty a try. Although often more closely associated with crisp summer suits, linen and linen blends are actually wonderfully soft and a dream to sew. When layered with smooth rayon, you get a lightweight yet warm throw with an absolutely amazing drape. We added a layer of low loft batting and our quilting stitches trace the bold floral motifs. The finishing touch is the swing and sparkle of chainette fringe along the top and bottom.
Even if you are new to sewing in general or just to new working with larger layers and/or quilting techniques, we have you covered with step-by-step instructions and photos, as well as helpful links below to specific tutorials for extra help with specific techniques, like Quilting Basics, Seam Finishing and Fussy Cutting.
Our goal is not only to create projects that inspire, but to make the process of creating them clear and easy – so you end up with a finished item that makes you proud to say, “I made it!”
Our throw finishes at approximately 60″ x 36″, excluding the fringe.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but helpful when working with slippery fabrics, such as the rayon – you could also engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the AcuFeed™Flex system we love to use on many of our Janome studio machines
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2 yards of 44″+ medium weight linen or similar for the throw front: we originally used Linen Blend (55% linen/45″ cotton) Oasis in Rose from the Hapi collection by Amy Butler
NOTE: The suggested yardage above allows a bit extra for fussy cutting to best center a larger motif.
- 1¾ yards of 44″+ wide rayon challis or similar for the throw back; we originally used 56″ Rayon Challis in Jade Blue
- 2 yards of 4″ chainette style fringe; we originally used 4″ Chainette Fringe Trim in Turquoise
NOTE: You will use the full 2 yards. If you are concerned about making exact cuts, get a bit extra.
- 1¾ yards of 44″+ wide low loft batting
NOTE: Batting comes in many widths and well as various standard bedding-size pre-cuts. As listed below in the Getting Started section, the cut size needed is 60″ x 36″.
- Adhesive basting spray; we used Spray N Bond by Therm O Web
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Curved quilt basting pins; optional but helpful; you can use regular large safety pins as well
- From the front fabric (Rose Oasis in our sample), fussy cut ONE 37″ wide x 61″ high panel.
- From the back fabric (Jade Blue Rayon Challis in our sample), cut ONE 37″ wide x 61″ high panel.
NOTE: Rayon Challlis is a slippery devil of a fabric. Be careful with your cutting. As with other thin or sheer fabrics, you may want to tape the fabric in place to keep it from shifting. We strongly recommend using a rotary cutter for both the linen and the rayon to achieve the straightest, cleanest cuts. For more information, check out our Sewing with Sheers tutorial.
- From the batting, cut ONE 36″ x 60″ panel. You want to keep the batting out of the seams.
NOTE: Cutting wide panels of fabric can be challenging. It’s best to fold the fabric in order to cut at a more manageable size. Check out our article: Rotary Cutting Large Panels in One Fell Swoop.
NOTE: However, as noted in our Sewing with Sheers tutorial, it can sometimes be easier to cut slippery sheers as a single layer.
- Cut the fringe into TWO 36″ lengths.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Place the front fabric panel right side up and flat on your work surface. This is a big project, you need a big surface. A table works great, but a clean floor is an option as well.
- Place one length of fringe along the top and bottom of the panel. Center the fringe side to side so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the fringe on each side.
NOTE: If you get just a bit of extra yardage, you can cut the fringe lengths at 36½” and center the trim with just ¼” of fabric showing on each side. Because we are using ¼” seams, this allows for an even tighter fit edge-to-edge.
- Align the insertion edge of the fringe with the raw edge of the fabric with the fringe itself hanging down towards the center of the panel. Pin both lengths in place.
- Place the rayon panel right sides together with the linen panel, aligning all four sides and sandwiching the fringe between the layers. Take the time to smooth out the rayon so it is as flat and wrinkle-free as possible. Re-pin in place.
NOTE: If you are new to working with fringe in combination with the slippery rayon, you can machine baste the fringe to the front panel prior to pinning front to back. Run your basting seam just ⅛” from the raw edge.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch across the top and then the bottom of the throw. When working with fabrics prone to shifting, always stitch your seams in the same direction. For our sample, we stitched right to left across the top and then right to left across the bottom.
- Still using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch both sides. Again go in the same direction – from top to bottom on the left and then re-set to stitch from top to bottom on the right. Leave an 8″ – 10″ opening along one side for turning. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the opening.
- Trim the corners.
- With the sewn throw still wrong side out, flip it so it is facing rayon side up and flat on your work surface.
- Center the batting panel on the rayon.
- Find the basting spray. Working in sections, pull back the batting and lightly spray the adhesive. Smooth the batting down into place. We worked from the top to the bottom.
- When the batting is firmly in place, carefully turn the throw right side out through the side opening.
- Push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A long knitting needle or chop stick works well for this.
- Press flat, taking care to keep the side seams from rolling. Also press in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
NOTE: If you are a quilter, you may be screaming at your computer screen right now, “Why didn’t you handle this throw more like a traditional layered quilt? Just spraying the batting in place seems so weird!” The reasoning is two-fold: 1) this is meant to be a thin throw, so we didn’t want any batting in the narrow ¼” seams or fighting with the fringe; and 2) all the edges are finished rather than staying raw until covered with binding. The spray makes it possible to use this rather non-traditional method of layering.
- Even though the basting spray kept the batting pretty darn secure, after we’d pressed the throw, we added basting pins across the entire throw for extra security against shifting.
- Pin the opening closed.
- Thread a hand sewing needle and carefully stitch the opening closed with tiny slip stitches.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread for the quilting in the top and thread to best match the rayon in the bobbin. We used a closely-coordinating turquoise thread for our quilting. You could also choose to use a high-contrast thread if you want your motif quilting to really stand out. Even if you do choose high-contrast on the top, we would recommend using matching thread in the bobbin against the rayon.
- Stitch around each motif on the front of the throw.
- As with the steps above, work in a specific pattern. We quilted in small sections from top to bottom. The amount of outlining is up to you. We chose to go around all the main floral motifs on our pretty Amy Butler Oasis fabric. This was a good amount to securely hold the layers. We wouldn’t recommend a lot less quilting, but you could certainly add more stitching.
- We used our Standard foot. If you have any trouble with shifting, switch to a Walking foot or Even Feed foot or engage your machine built-in fabric feeding system.
- For the best look, we recommend lengthening your stitch.
- This also looks best from rayon side.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Leah Wand