NJS Quilting Standards

photo of sewing machine footer stitching a quilt by jeff wade

Overall Appearance, Design and Construction

Regardless of the type of entry, the workmanship and construction techniques should be suitable to the function of the piece. Whether using traditional or innovative construction techniques, they should be well executed.

The Entry should:

  • have visual impact.
  • have unity in all components of its design.
  • be well executed with special attention paid to overall construction.
  • have materials that are suitable to its design and function.
  • have appropriate embellishments that are securely attached (if applicable).
  • lay/hang flat or as appropriate for design, construction and function.
  • be neat, clean and odour-free.
  • Traditional Techniques

    Definition of Technically Traditional: made with two layers of fabric with a filler/batting; three layers joined by stitch.

  • construction should be smooth and firmly stitched
  • seams should be sharply pressed with no thread showing
  • Piecing

  • points should be sharp
  • intersections should meet evenly and be flat
  • curves should be smooth
  • Appliqué

  • edges should be firmly attached with consistent stitches
  • where stitches are meant to be inconspicuous, the thread should blend with the appliquéd piece
  • where stitches are meant to be visible, such as running or decorative, the thread may be coordinated or contrasting
  • shadows showing through appliquéd pieces should be visible only where appropriate
  • Filler/Batting

  • should be evenly distributed
  • should be suitable to the technique used
  • should be suitable for the end use
  • Border and Sashing Strips

  • should be straight and even if appropriate to quilt design
  • sashing segments should align
  • Quilting and other traditional means of joining

  • stitching should be uniform and evenly spaced; no knots or thread build-ups
  • design marking lines should not be visible
  • stitches on the back should be as neat and even as those on the top
  • thread tension should be evenly balanced
  • spacing of the quilting should be appropriate to the type of batting chosen and the quilting design.
  • Binding

  • should be neatly and securely stitched, front and back
  • should be uniformly filled
  • should be appropriate to the design of the quilt top
  • curved corners should flow smoothly without puckers
  • square corners should be 90 degrees
  • mitered corners should be 45-degrees front and back, lie flat, and be neatly finished
  • Innovative Techniques

    Definition of Technically Innovative: made with at least three layers of materials, of which at least one of the layers must be fabric which is visible from the front of the quilt. Some of the non-traditional materials listed below may be considered a layer.

    As quilting continues to expand with non-traditional applications, techniques and materials, it is important that innovative pieces and fibre art in general meet with the standards already established with traditional quilts.

    These general guidelines include the following areas:
    1. An entry must hang flat when intended as a wall quilt, unless deliberately 3D. Bulging due to heavy quilting in isolated areas, heavy crusted beading, needle felting or insufficient finishing will be considered in the overall judging process.
    2. An innovative piece consists of three layers and has quilting visible on the front.
    3.Three layers of various materials without batting.
    4. Any loose threads and/or embellishments must be an integral part of the overall design.

    Following are examples of some non-traditional materials and techniques currently
    used in innovative pieces. There are others — and no doubt — there will be new ones

    The overall impression / design must be enhanced by the addition of the following
    techniques. It must support the overall design and should be securely attached:
    1. needle felting
    2. wet felting
    3. silk fusion
    4. Tyvek®
    5. angelina fibres
    6. confetti
    7. burnt edges
    8. foiling
    9. beads and sequins
    10 metallic embellishments: should not cause discoloration of the fabric due to surface tarnish/rust, unless intended
    11. fabric paint and inks: including textile oil sticks must be made permanent to avoid rubbing off or transfer to other areas of the quilt or quilts that may be stacked for judging

    When incorporating the following techniques ensure that permission has been granted
    and credit is given to the designer. If these are your original designs, they should be
    1. identified as original.
    2. machine embroidery
    3. photo transfer
    4. digital printing thread work or thread painting: also ensure threadwork, being layers of stitching, must not create uneven hanging and bulging in the quilt
    5. discharge/dyeing/painting: must support the overall outcome of the creation

    Wearable Art

    1. garment must be wearable – form follows function
    2. fit should be flattering to body shape, particularly if meant for street wear
    3. a wearer must be able to put on the garment and must be able to move freely in it
    4. fabrics and embellishments must suit the end use of the garment
    5. grain-line needs to be appropriate for style because it will affect how the garment hangs, or clings to body
    6. curves should be smooth
    7. hem and edge finishes must lie flat
    8. neckline should be flattering and lie flat without gaping
    9. sleeve line should flatter the body shape and have no unwanted tucks or puckers
    10. lining fits smoothly and does not interfere with the hang of the garment
    11. overall design and placement of special motifs must be appropriate to the design
    12. integrated design interest in all sections (front, back, sleeves)
    13. large motifs must be placed attractively and appropriately on the garment; avoid bulls-eye design on the center back or bust area, as well as on sleeves
    14. fasteners must support and complement the design
    15. buttons must compliment the design of the garment. Inappropriate size, shape, placement or colour of buttons may draw attention away or distract from the overall garment
    16. a quilted wearable may be made with two layers, if more appropriate for the style
    of the garment