Have you always wanted to quilt? Are you a Beginning Quilter? Welcome to the fold! You’ll become addicted. We love quilt addicts!
My pattern “Navigation” which is shown below is a great beginner’s pattern! You can purchase it from my Craftsy Store or my Etsy Store. The links to both sites are on the home page’s side bar.
Here are some tips and hints for you:
1. Start with a 24″ x 36″ Rotary Cutting Mat. Olfa or Omnigrid are best. You’ll quickly become disappointed with a smaller mat. Also – you’ll need a 6 1/2″ x 24″ Rotary Ruler, and a 45mm Rotary Cutter. Please purchase a quilting Rotary Cutter and not a rotary cutter designed for scrapbooking. These three items are the foundation for quilting. Once purchased – you’ll have them for years. Future rulers: 12 1/2″ square; 4 1/2″ square, 6 1/2″ square, 4″ x 14″ rectangle.
2. Next – quilting pins. Don’t cheap out on me here. Good 1 7/8″ Glasshead pins are the best. Also – 8″ scissors, and possibly small 3 1/2″ scissors. Don’t let family use these! These scissors should be dedicated for fabric only. Then add a seam ripper, pin cushion, water eraseable pen, and extra rotary cutting blades. Safety pins – size #2.
3. Sewing machine – as long as it makes a straight stitch then it’s fine. We don’t backstitch in quilting. You’ll need to find the 1/4″ seam allowance on your machine to start. Measure from the right side of your presser foot in toward the needle. If your machine doesn’t have the capability of moving the needle, then mark your sewing machine plate with painter’s tape. You will be sewing along that edge for all of your quilt block piecing. Always sew your quilt blocks with a 1/4″ seam allowance and do not back stitch. All seams become encased within other seams, and this eliminates bulk.
4. Always use 100% cotton quilt fabric for your quilt project. Don’t go cheap on me here either. Quality matters. You will be spending a lot of time making your quilts and you don’t want them fading or falling apart because you chose poor quality fabric. You can quickly tell cheap fabric by feel – how stiff it is, and by sight – if you can see through it. Quilt Store Quality Fabric is my motto! It’s worth it. Do we wash our fabric before use? That is still up for debate – some of us do, some of us don’t. There’s no right or wrong answer.
5. Use quality thread too. You can use polyester covered cotton for piecing your blocks. If you are machine quilting your quilt then use a stable machine quilting thread. Hand quilting – use only cotton hand quilting thread. Do not use hand quilting thread in your sewing machine.
6. Batting – personally, I’m not fond of polyester. That’s just me! It pulls apart too easy, and shifts and bunches too much for my liking. I stick with cotton batting that has a tighter weave. It lays nicely and stays put when I work with it. I like Warm and Natural best, but there are other brands available.
7. Always press your fabric before us. “Best Press” spray is nice to use for getting those stubborn wrinkles out.
8. Line your fabric fold up along the bottom of your mat – selvage edge away from you – and cut a clean edge. The purpose of this is to start off with a straight edge to begin measuring from. Use your ruler to measure with! If your cutting measurements are under 6 1/2″ you need to use your ruler to measure with and then cut. But if you have strips you need to cut that are larger than 6 1/2″ you must rely on the mat to line your ruler up with.
9. Follow your pattern carefully for the steps in cutting and piecing. BUT I will say that some pattern designers assume you know how to quilt and leave a lot up to imagination, or guess work. One of my favorite authors is “Eleanor Burns” from Quilt in a Day. Her books are fantastic to learn quilting from and to make your own quilts – step-by-step. www.quiltinaday.com. My husband and I also work hard to make my patterns user friend with step-by-step instructions.
10. You’ll eventually want to purchase a “Walking Foot” and a “Darning/Quilting Foot” for your machine. Most quilt stores can help you with that purchase. Or your sewing machine dealer.
There are many YouTube videos that demonstrate binding, turning, top-stitching, stitch-in-the-ditch, meander quilting methods, and much, much more.