Map Making with Fabrics

Supplies Students Need To Bring

Paper map of a location important to you. Have the map enlarged at a copy shop to approximately 24”x36”. A black and white copy is fine.

Basic sewing supplies including: rotary cutter, rulers, small sharp fabric scissors, pins, seam ripper etc.

One yard of good quality white fabric for foundation/background

Assorted fabrics to use for map features (water, roads, landscape etc.)

Neutral colored threads, or threads that generally match your fabrics

Double sided, paper-backed fusible, such as Heat and Bond Lite or Steam-a-Seam II

Water-soluble blue marker


Black Sharpie

Glue stick

Paper scissors

Optional Supplies:

– Silicone pressing sheet

– Freezer paper

Some thoughts on finding source maps:

Most maps are copyrighted, including Google and Yahoo maps.

If I plan to make a quilt for display or sale, I always use a copyright free map so as not to infringe on anyone’s copyright.

That said…there are loads of places to look for copyright free maps. If you have a map that is copyrighted, ask the owner if you can use it – they just might say yes!

– Most maps produced by the federal government are copyright free. Those include maps from the National Park Service, Army Corps of Engineers, USGS, NOAA, NASA etc. USGS is one of my favorite places to search for maps. The interface is clunky, but they have many maps to choose from.

– Every state has different laws, but many maps produced by state and local governments are copyright free.

– Local town offices will often print town maps, although there might be a small fee.

– Maps and documents published before 1922 are copyright free in the US.

Other places to search for copyright free maps:

-Library of Congress

-NY Public Library

-Massachusetts has an online digital database with copyright free maps and images I suspect that other states have similar resources.