Need help with quilt strategy

I’m considering making a small wall hanging quilt for my grand-nephew (about 2 feet per side). His room is decorated in a space theme. This is the gist of what I’d like to do. I have some rough ideas about how to accomplish this but I’d love to hear from all you quilting peeps about techniques that might be suitable, especially thread painting or comparable (which I know nothing about!)

Area / Approach:

Background. Laser cut the curvy purple and blue segments and then appliqué them on. I prefer turned edge appliqué, but if all else fails I can probably do raw edge appliqué since it will likely never get washed.

Rocket. Two options. Preferable - convert the shapes to something more angular, paper piece it, and then appliqué the rocket as a single assembly. Second choice - program it and embroider it. If I can paper piece it I will trapunto the rocket.

Planet. This one is my toughest challenge. The pieces are fairly small and complex and I don’t think I can seam all the inside/outside curves. The only thing I can think to do is:

  • make a digital image of the planet with fabric images inside the segments
  • print it on Spoonflower as a “cheater” section
  • sew it into the quilt using circular seam
  • triple batt the planet area and quilt along all of the fake seam lines

And I also have one more question. I’m considering using heat-set Swarovski crystals as the stars. What’s the general consensus - is that too unsuitable for a baby boy’s room?

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I think my approach to this would be to think of it from a foreground/background standpoint with the sky being the furthest back and the rocket being the closest foreground.

I would either pick a fabric similar enough to the background or print it on spoonflower.

For the planet I would pick a fabric that looks like the ocean spots and then either applique or embroider the landmasses on. With embroidery you can even change up your fills so that the textures are different.

Then I would applique the rocket, potentially with some embroidered details if you want to get fancy. Because its a line drawing I don’t think the applique stitches will look strange.

For the crystals, I think that would be fine for a baby’s room regardless of gender. Babies, and eventually kids, like novelty and colors and textures, and I think that having that slight sparkle would be nice (I would go really tiny with the crystals so they’re more subtle, but that’s just me). You’ll have to consider long term wear, but since this is a wall hanging its not as big of an issue as if it were a lap quilt that were going to be handled all the time.

If you REALLY wanted too, I think this would be a terrific project to try some fiber electronics in and you could use tiny LEDs. You’d have to think up the battery solution and how they’d change it out (perhaps a small battery compartment with a zipper in the backing?), but it would be super cool.


I don’t have a gender problem with them -sounds amazing, actually - but I would be concerned about the potential choking hazard should one of the crystals become detached from the fabric and end up on the ground.

How secure is the heat set?

Crystals are small enough that they could be swallowed. Not an ideal thing, but shouldn’t be life-threatening.

I accidentally saved my baby brother’s life when he was choking on one of the old plastic Easter eggs. At 3, I was already over him, so I made a snarky comment, which alerted Mom to the problem…

The heat set is extremely secure (when installed with a heat press) but we’re talking about 5mm flat crystals - smaller than a green pea.

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If you want to do stitching, I would have the whole thing printed and just go to town with the thread.

Otherwise, I would do fused appliqué for the whole thing, then do freemotion to lock everything down and add dimension.

If it’s a wall hanging, is choking hazard applicable?

Spoon flower is apparently running way behind schedule at the moment. I give snaps to a locally run company called “My Fabric Designs”. The fabric is printed overseas, but the customer service at MFD is great.

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