Creative articles about quilting

How to Create a Trapunto and Quilted Cushion Cover

Step by Step Instructions for a 50cm (20″) square Trapunto cushion

Items required

  • ¾ m or ¾ yard fabric
  • ¾ m or ¾ yard thin batting
  • 1 reel polyester embroidery thread to match fabric
  • 1 reel polyester embroidery thread darker than fabric
  • Water-soluble thread
  • Size 80 Metafil needle
  • Free-motion feet (9,15,24) or Ruler foot (72) or BSR
  • Very sharp scissors
  • 50cm or 20inch zip


Cut 1 piece of fabric 54cm or 21.5inch square. To create the border, use the water-soluble pen to draw a line on the fabric 12cm or 4.5inch in from each edge. Draw another line 1.5cm or 0.5inch inside this square. This provides a frame for the butterfly drawings which you will now trace in the central area. Any line drawing can be used. To start with select simple drawings, then as confidence increases more intricate drawings can be used.

To start sewing – this is a free-motion project.

  1. Drop the feed-dogs
  2. Use BSR with open-toe foot or Bernina feet 9, 15, 24 or 29
  3. Load the bobbin with polyester embroidery thread to match the fabric
  4. Thread the machine with water-soluble thread. (TIP – loosen the tension of your machine slightly when working with this thread)
  5. Sew the outline of each butterfly (as seen below)


Referring to Picture below, cut away the excess batting as close as possible to the stitches. Be very careful not to cut the fabric. I find it easier to pull the batting away and cut slowly.


As this is a cushion I do not use backing fabric, so attach the batting to the back of the cushion top. Replace the water-soluble thread with the bolder polyester thread – reset the top tension. Now sew on all the lines of the drawings. This is like tracing a picture except you are using a sewing machine. Occasionally you have to sew over lines already stitched (this is called backtracking). Ensure that all the drawn lines have been stitched. I like to sew loose threads into the quilt sandwich. Refer to picture below.


Replace the top thread with the fabric matching colour – you are now ready to quilt the cushion top. I am working on a Bernina Q20 sitdown quilting machine so I attached ruler foot No.72 and used the straight edge ruler to quilt the frame. If you are working with domestic machine and you are unable to use rulers, follow the lines freehand – go slowly and carefully. Refer to Picture below.


To create interest within the frame, quilt circles. To do this, quilt a circle, backtrack half the circle and come out in a “figure of eight” to move to the next circle. Continue this pattern around the frame until you come back to the first circle.


In order for the trapunto butterflies to “pop” the negative space around them must be heavily quilted – I used micro-meandering.


To complete the border I quilted a freehand curling feather. I will cover FREEHAND FEATHERS in my next blog. You can quilt the border with micro-meandering or any other fill pattern you are comfortable doing. The cushion top is now ready to be rinsed in warm water – NO DETERGENTS as they will set the ink from the water-soluble pen!


To complete the cushion cut 2 pieces of fabric 28.5x54cm or 11.25×21.5inch. Place right sides together and sew a seam on the longest side. Leave an opening large enough to accommodate the zip. Iron an open flat seam and insert the zip. Place the right side of the cushion top and the right side of the cushion back together and using straight stitch sew around the perimeter of the cushion. Use the walking foot or engage the dual feed if your machine has this function. Trim back the seams and edge to prevent fraying. Turn right side out and fill with a cushion inner.

Difficulty level: Intermediate
Time to Complete: Weekend
Used Material: cotton fabric, Isacord Polyester Embroidery Thread, polyester batting - thin loft
Used Products:
Reverse Pattern Foot #1
Reverse Pattern Foot #1
Zipper Foot #4
Zipper Foot #4
Darning Foot #9
Darning Foot #9
Adjustable Ruler Foot #72
Adjustable Ruler Foot #72

Topics to this post ,

Link this post Trackback URL

Related content you may be interested in

Comments of this post

0 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Required fields are marked *

Dear BERNINA Blog readers,

if you want to publish pictures via the comment function, please log in to the blog first. Click here to sign in.

You haven't registered for the BERNINA blog yet? Click here to create your free account.

Thank you very much

Your BERNINA Blog Team