Whole Cloth Quilt

A Virtual Class with Aaron Sanders Head

Whole cloth quilting is a medium that invites the maker to draw with thread because the design focus is created by stitching, rather than through pieced fabrics. In whole cloth quilting, one can truly hone and flex their sewing ability to make intricate and dynamic designs. In this workshop starting April 20th, participants will learn the techniques of big stitch, whole cloth quilting. 

We’ll begin Week 1 with a deep dive into materials and an overview of historic whole cloth quilts while learning the basics of drawing quilting patterns on fabric. We will make small samplers to learn the basic techniques of big stitch quilting. In Week 2, we’ll scale up and translate our designs to throw quilts, as we baste and begin our larger works. In Week 3 we’ll wrap things up as we polish our quilting, add binding, learn quilt hanging techniques, and explore archival ways to sign our quilts!

Our teacher, Aaron Sanders Head, on why he loves whole cloth quilting: “I love analyzing and deconstructing historic techniques, because I find a lot of comfort in knowing that people have been on a similar journey as me for a long time, seeking out beauty and ways to connect, communicate and understand the world through handwork. I like knowing that some things are timeless. Sharing a tradition or lineage with folks who have done this work before me is something I find solace in and think about a lot.” In his teaching, he aims to impart the basic framework of a skill and then step back to offer students a chance to explore their own ideas within that framework.

This workshop is perfect for all skill levels—from those who have not done any hand-sewing to those who want a new challenge when it comes to their quilting practice. Whole cloth quilts are a celebration of stitching and fabric alike, as well as providing endless opportunities for creative experimentation. Students will come away with a strong understanding of the architecture of the quilt.

Thursdays, April 20th, April 27th, and May 4th 2023


12 – 2 pm ET

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



  • 2-3 yards of a few fabrics. Our throw-sized quilt will measure approximately 50 x 65 inches, meaning you’ll need pieces at least that large for the front and back, along with smaller fabric squares for making 12 inch square samplers. Make sure that your needle can easily pass through the fabric you choose, and that your marking tool will show up on your fabric.
  • Binding tape, or scraps of fabric for making your own binding.
  • Needles – crewel needles are preferred
  • Thread – White cotton sashiko thread or ecru perle cotton is preferred. Choose any color that will contrast nicely with your fabric color, so that your stitching shows. You will also need other random threads for basting, but any threads can be used.
  • Throw-sized batting
  • Marking tool – tailor’s chalk, water-soluble pen, or any preferred marking tool will work
  • Various quilting rulers. If you only have one, my favorite is the 6 x 12 inch or 6 x 24 inch, but any size you’re comfortable with will work

Aaron Sanders

Aaron Sanders Head is a Southern, Alabama-based textile artist. Aaron was raised in rural Grady, AL and Hope Hull, AL, as the youngest of three children from an artist mother and an agricultural worker father. His grandparents were both rural mail carriers, and the times Aaron spent accompanying them on those trips cemented early on a fondness for rural areas and the importance of connection however it can be found. That learned sense of observation combined with inherited family traditions of textile and agriculture inform the unique visual language Aaron works in today, that exists in the worlds of quiltmaking, handwork and natural dyes. Aaron creates quilts and hand-stitched, naturally dyed textiles that explore the lived experiences of rural Alabamians and the bonding traditions that hold rural communities together.

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