So you want to learn how to quilt?

Where to start?


A Quilt is not a blanket. It is a work of art that can be used as a blanket or on a bed. It consists of three layers— the pieced top, a batting in the middle and a large backing fabric. These three layers are stitched together and that stitching is quilting. See below, those stitches are some I made on a customer quilt. This black is the back of the quilt.


I have am going to put up a tutorial once a week here on this blog that will teach you how to make a quilt. There will be pictures and links to some videos that I will post on my Facebook page.  I think that a sampler quilt is a perfect way to learn many skills and have a great quilt at the end. I would encourage you to get a bag of scraps that are 100% cotton. You could buy several fabrics ( 4 or 5)  in half yard cuts.  It is very important that you pick 100% cotton. I don’t shop exclusively at quilt shops but they carry the best fabrics, usually. But other big chains can have some very nice quilting fabrics too but not all cotton fabrics are created equal. I touch the fabric and  hold it up to the light. If it is too thin, it won’t last so pass on it.

Pick fabrics that look great together. I have a color wheel and I don’t really use it much. I find that I instinctively pick fabrics now that I have had some quilting experience. Once word of advice, try to pick colors with the same intensity, undertones and a unifying background color. A way to start is to find a designer you like at a quilt shop and choose a few fabrics in a current line, if choosing fabric is overwhelming. They have done much of the “heavy lifting” for you in coordinating fabrics.

2014-10-20 11.57.59


In this quilt it will be important to pick fabrics with strong contrasts- things that read very much as a light, a medium and a dark for most blocks. Prints are great fabrics to start with. Solids show more mistakes and aren’t as forgiving to start out with. . Tip for this first quilt: Don’t overthink it! Go to the store and get several colors that fall into a light, a med and a dark. (And don’t make them all the same color, take a chance and just pick what you like!)2014-10-19 10.22.24


Then you need to have a rotary cutter, mat, sewing machine, thread and pins.  I like Olfa 45mm rotary cutter. I like 18×24 inch Olfa mats. I am left handed so I cannot buy anything that is ergonomically correct. And the biggest splurge I have ever made is a 3 inch x 18 inch Creative Grids ruler with non slip grips on the back. I have used other rulers and hated them. Caution : there are more quilting tools out there than vitamins at the vitamin shop so beware…. you aren’t going to need anything other tools for your first quilt. You gotta see if you really like it before making a huge investment in stuff!

Next, get some ugly fabrics and practice sewing straight lines. For best quilting results our seam allowance needs to be 1/4″. Measure the seam allowance and then mark your pressure foot or you machine if needed. The biggest sewing skill needed is sewing a straight line, so practice and get comfortable with your machine.

Next week, we will talk about making the first cut into your fabric.


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