Hand-Sewn Quilting Series II: Trapunto

A Virtual Class with Sarah Nishiura

Quilt, ca. 1855-1879, India. Woven cotton, trapunto work. Victoria & Albert Museum, London. 
The Tristan Quilt, ca. 1360-1400, Sicily. Linen quilted and padded with cotton wadding with outlines in brown and white linen thread. Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

This workshop will introduce participants to the history and techniques of stuffed and corded quilting also known as Trapunto, or Marseille, quilting. From their somewhat mysterious origins in the fifteenth century to their mass production in seventeenth-century France, and their domestic production in eighteenth-century colonial American homes, these extraordinarily textured whole-cloth quilts are a testament to the complex globalism that created quilting as we know it today. We will learn about this fascinating history and explore some of the techniques and motifs utilized to produce stuffed and corded quilts through the ages. Finally, participants will have the opportunity to experiment with a simplified approach to stuffing and cording, which is accessible to twenty-first-century quilt makers using commonly available materials and tools.

Friday, July 21st, 2023


12pm – 2:30pm ET*

Zoom, a link will be sent to participants the day before class

$60 for the individual class, $350 for the series

*This session will be recorded. A link to the recording will be emailed to all those who register following the live session. This link is live for one month for you to watch at your convenience.


  • Two pieces of solid color cotton fabric, approximately 15” squares
  • 100% cotton batting – 15” square plus extra scraps for stuffing
  • Small piece of cotton, linen lawn, voile, batiste, or other extra fine and light-weight fabric (scraps are fine). NOTE: This should be the same or similar color to your other cotton fabric. It will be on the inside of your stitching, but it could show through if it is too light or too dark.
  • Cotton hand-quilting thread that matches the color of your fabric
  • Contrasting thread for basting
  • Needles for hand quilting – Sarah likes #8 sharps
  • String for cording – Sarah uses kitchen twine, but cotton yarn, or even worsted wool will work (note: If your fabric is white, your cord should be white unless you want it to show through).
  • Needle for the cord – Make sure the eye will accommodate the size of your chosen cord
  • Cotton balls for stuffing
  • Washable marking pencil or pen
  • Number 2 pencil
  • Adjustable embroidery Hoop (8 – 12”)
  • Ruler
  • Sharp scissors.
  • Something for poking your stuffing – i.e. knitting needle or chopstick
  • Seam ripper

Need materials? Purchase a Tatter-curated materials kit!

This class is part of the Hand-Sewn Quilting Series II

Perfect for the beginner and the seasoned quilter alike (and perfect if you’ve already joined our Hand-Sewn Quilting Primer Series), the Hand-Sewn Quilting Series II takes students on a journey of different forms of hand-sewn quilt construction, from Korean Yeouijumunbo to English Paper Piecing. Rooted in the diverse history of quilting and taught by contemporary textile artists, this series combines enduring quilting techniques with new voices and approaches. 

Beginners will come away with a newfound confidence in their quilting ability and a deeper understanding of the medium. More experienced makers will expand their textile horizons, as well as gaining new skills to use on personal projects. Experiencing the series as a whole is sure to provide a comprehensive foundation and will get you well on your way in a joyful practice of hand-sewn quilting.

The projects from each class can be combined into a sampler commemorating your textile journey or can be displayed individually as pillows or patches applied onto another textile. 

We hope you will join us for all seven of our quilting classes to experience new ways of quilting and broaden your knowledge of textile history. You can sign up for the entire series, or choose your own adventure by selecting the classes you’re most interested in. 

Sarah Nishiura

Sarah Nishiura is a Chicago based quiltmaker who utilizes traditional techniques to craft quilts out of recycled and vintage materials. Inspired by numerous textile traditions including 19th and early 20th century American Quilts, Sarah’s work explores and celebrates the infinite possibilities of geometric design. Her quilts have been exhibited in museums and galleries in the U.S. and abroad including the Iowa Quilt Museum, the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Art, the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and the Yokohama Quilt Fest in Japan. Her quilts have been featured in numerous magazines and blogs including Martha Stewart Living, QuiltFolk Magazine, Chicago Magazine, and Food and Wine, and they are included in private, corporate, and public art collections throughout the United States. In 2019 Sarah received an  Illinois Arts Council Finalist Award for Craft.  Sarah has an MFA in painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and a BA in visual arts from Brown University.

More information about Sarah’s studio practice can be found at: http://www.sarahnishiura.com/

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