Auditioning Quilting Designs

When working with our customers, sometimes it can be hard to show them what quilting designs would work best on their quilt. We, as professionals, who work with the quilting designs on an almost daily basis, can “see” what will work best on a quilt. Our customers, who don’t “see” the designs like we do, can sometimes have problems visualizing what we are talking about.

To visually show my customers (and myself) the quilting designs, I recommend using a sheet of plexiglas, with duct tape (or other colored tape) around the cut, outside edges. Place the plexiglas on top of the quilt, then use a Vis-a-Vis marker to draw the quilting design, full size, on the quilt top. Both you and your customer will then be able to “see” exactly what will be quilted.

For a free video on how this works Click Here

Lately, after drawing out the design for my customer, I will take a photo of the drawing – while the plexiglas is still on the quilt top  – with my smart phone. I can refer back to the photo or print it out and keep it with my paperwork for this quilt.

There are some limitations on using the Vis-a-Vis markers. These markers show up very well on light fabrics, but are almost impossible to see on dark fabrics.

I was browsing around in the office supply store yesterday (Office Depot) and found a set of “new” marker that works very, very well on plexiglass. The markers are called “Expo Bright Sticks” made by the Sanford company. Click on photo for a larger view.

This package of markers was a little pricey, about $23 for the package, but, well worth it! I took the markers home, put some dark fabric on top of a quilt, put the plexiglas on top of the dark fabric, and began drawing.

Oh my! What a difference! The colors of the markers really “popped” and you could see all my drawings.  Here is a photo of one of my sample drawings. Click on the photo for a larger view.

I drew the feather with the white marker and the echo quilting lines with the fluorescent pink marker. (Not my best feather drawing, and I do quilt the feathers better than I draw them.)

Best of all, the drawings “erase” with a damp paper towel.

Note: the red on the photo above is the duct tape along the cut edges of the plexiglas.

I wish I had these markers last week. I received in a customer quilt that was pieced with a lot of dark brown fabrics and drew my quilting lines with the black Vis-a-Vis marker. Both my customer and me were having a hard times seeing what I was drawing!

Anything that helps us communicate with our customers – especially the quilting designs – is  always welcomed. I give the Expo Bright Stick markers a big “Way to Go!” and WILL be using them, a lot!

If you have a way to show your customers the quilting designs, please let us know by posting a comment.


About Cindy Roth
Mother of 3, Grandmother of 10 and quilting forever!

6 Responses to Auditioning Quilting Designs

  1. Fran Foskey says:

    Hi Cindy: I have done the same thing with my customers and they know I can quilt, but I sometimes cannot draw. so I do the best I can and then put the design on their customers sheet for me to refer back to when their quilt is up for me to do.

  2. Pam Huggins says:

    Great idea Cindy! Thanks for the info! I’ve been using Suzanne Hyland’s Preview Paper for a very long time for just that purpose. It’s a roll of very thin plastic, with black marks on the edges. You can use wet markers and let them dry or you can use dry erase markers and just wipe them off with a napkin or paper towel later. I used one roll over and over for probably 4 years. a piece of plexiglass definitely does work but to me, you just can’t get enough design on it. With the preview paper, you can go all the way across the quilt, using different colored markers depending on the color of the fabric in that particular place.

    I totally agree that drawing things out for a customer, is a great help for both people involved. It’s great for the quilter too because then you feel confident that this is what your customer is expecting. Thanks for all the great ideas you’ve given out!

  3. Carole says:

    I copy a portion of each panto on a piece of clear mylar which can be place on top of the different quilts to show how the design will look on THAT particular quilt. It is fast,cheap and can be used time and time again

  4. Nancy says:

    I use a yard of thick clear vinyl, the kind that protects the dining room table. I taped the edges with blue painters tape with one side marked “up”, so that I would not place the dry erase drawing side down on the customers quilt. Vis a Vis works well, but has to be cleaned off with rubbing alcohol. I roll the vinyl up around a cardboard tube to store it. Want to try the new Expos on it!

  5. Joanne Crowson says:

    I just started my Long Arm Quilting Business this year. The hardest part for me was what pattern to use. I made a lap quilt and quilted a line for each of my pantos so the customers could see the pattern quilted. I put it in our local quilt shop. I am starting a new one tonight with my new pantos that I have acquired since I started in January. Hopefully my new panto from Long Arm University will be here in a couple of days and I can put it at the bottom. It’s great advertisement and lets customers see the possibilities. I still have customers who say “Quilt what you think will look good” and they get just that – What I think will look good. Have not had any complaints yets. I do like the plexiglass/marker idea. Will investigate that next time I go to the office supply store. Joanne Crowson, mother of 2, maybe grandmother one day, quilting forever!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: