the world on my wall: gray vintage map quilt

map quilt wall hanging

I know I said it was time for the next quilting project… but I bet you didn’t think it would be done already!

Back in June (eep!) I was asked by Catherine of Mapology if I’d like to test one of her new map fabric prints and blog my finished project. I had maps on the brain already, with trips to Alaska and Germany in the works for the summer, so I couldn’t refuse.

My initial plan was to create a sort of “where I’ve been” map, with either embroidery or special pins to mark out and color in the corners of the world I’ve visited. With this in mind, plus my love of gray, I selected a minimalist gray world map. I wanted to stretch it over a frame, like a canvas.

All of this changed when I got the fabric. First, I hadn’t thought of the fact that a vintage map might not be the best for marking travel, because maps are frequently changing and this one definitely had some alternate boundaries to today’s world map. Second, if I wanted to stretch it over a frame I’d have to make a frame. Not hard, but a bigger project than I wanted to tackle with so many other projects in the works. Third, and most importantly – this projection has perfectly straight longitude & latitude lines – perfect for quilting. It was time to keep it simple, and let the map show itself off. Plus, I didn’t want to lose my brand new quiltmaking skills!

Click through to get a quick rundown of my quilting process!

map quilt - layers

I started by assembling my quilt sandwich: white cotton, then natural cotton batting, then cotton map print.

map quilt - pin basting

I pinned it all in place, working from the lower left corner to the upper right and smoothing as I went. I flipped it over every once in awhile to make sure the backing was staying flat. Then, I rolled it up, snapped on my walking foot, and started quilting right on top of every longitude and latitude line.

I knew that most quilters use safety pins to pin their layers together, but I don’t have enough safety pins and that would also amount to about three times as much work, with all the pinning and unpinning. Of course, those quilters don’t stab themselves in the thumb multiple times while handling their light gray and WHITE quilt. No bleeding allowed here! So I can’t necessarily recommend this method.

map quilt - longitude quilted

Here it is with just longitude lines quilted… nifty, right? I thought about leaving it here but it needed the rest. I’m glad I kept going.

map quilt - binding side 1

Next, I whipped up some plain white bias tape (yes, really – i wanted it to match!) but instead of using my bias tape maker, I folded the strip in half and binded this one like a real quilt. I used Heather Bailey’s quilt binding tutorial – the photo above was taken after I had machine sewn the binding to the front of my quilt. This method was so much easier & less stressful than using “real” double fold bias tape, as I had done on Aunt Jeanie’s quilt. Any real quilters out there are rolling their eyes at me… but I had to try it to know, right?

I pressed the bias tape up, then I flipped it over and pressed it all the way around, taking special care with the corners.

map quilt - binding with binder clips

I secured these freshly pressed edges with binder clips, which I have been using in just about every quilt project lately. My new favorite sewing supply! They’re perfect for big layers that might be shifted with pins, or for vinyl/leather that will show pin holes. So useful.

Then I sat myself on the couch, turned on a few old episodes of the Office, and secured the binding to the back of the quilt with tiny stitches. I haven’t done much hand sewing lately so I really enjoyed making those tiny stitches as perfect as possible.

map quilt finished

Now it’s all done and I just love how it looks on my wall!

map quilt - hanging loops

I’m hanging it with clips right now, but I did incorporate some tiny bias-tape loops on the back so I could hang it from a dowel rod in the future – I like that idea because it feels extra “classroom-y”. But classy classroom – think Indiana Jones. College archaeology class.

And, since the loops fold down when not in use, this quilt could be draped over a couch or used at the foot of a bed for extra feet warmth. Maps everywhere!

The finished quilt measures 40″ x 31″.

All in all, the map fabric is great quality and nice to work with. I pre-washed it with no problems, and it feels nice and was clearly suitable for quilting. I think it would be great to incorporate maps elsewhere in home decor… like on a seat cushion (map dining room chairs?!) or even just a pillow. My only complaint about the fabric is the watermark/logo printed inside the map legend ( – I feel like it is too large and detracts slightly from the feel of the map. But the fabric is great, I love all the map ideas, and Catherine who owns the shop is really nice. I can’t wait to see what other cartography sewing projects people come up with!

The Fine Print

I received the fabric for free in exchange for this review, but all opinions expressed are my own.

That little orange beauty underneath the map? I haven’t introduced you to her yet and I’m very sorry. You’ll meet her sometime next week. She’s so pretty.

3 Responses

  1. This is absolutly fantastic, i’m always in awe of anyone who can get binding to look this good. I always struggle with the corners, Proberly just need more practise. Love it, love it, love it.

    • Samantha says:

      Debbie – be sure to check Heather Bailey’s tutorial that I linked to! She says to iron the fabric up at a 45-degree angle as you stitch around the first side… this made the corners super easy for me.

  2. Aunt Jeanie says:

    I LOVE that map fabric – and the gray is beautiful.

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