The quilting industry is worth a whopping $3.7 billion with approximately 7-10 million quilters in the United States alone. So, if you’re considering quilting as your new hobby, you’re in good company.
Not only is quilting fun, but it leaves you with a practical final product. By adding bits of fabric from your favorite band t-shirt or your grandmother’s old sweater, you can create a piece that’s both beautiful and sentimental.
Of course, quilting isn’t quite as easy as it seems. But by following some quilting tips for beginners, you can avoid huge mistakes and ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Do you want to know more? Keep reading to discover our top tips to make a cozy quilt.
1. Buy Precut Quilting Squares
The most important part of any quilt are the squares you use. You want them all to be the exact same size because if one is just a quarter or an eighth of an inch off, you’ll have a hard time making even lines.
Getting the right size can be difficult when cutting the squares yourself, which is why buying precut quilting squares is recommended for your first quilt. The good news is that these are easy to find, and they come in a variety of colors and patterns.
2. Don’t Forget Backing and Batting
Once you have your quilting squares picked out, you’ll have to decide on a backing. This is a solid piece of fabric that makes up the back of your quilt. Since its what will be laying against you when you use the quilt, consider the quality and comfortable fabric like fleece.
You’ll also need to decide on a batting, which is the filling for the middle of your quilt. There are tons of different types of batting, including wool, cotton, and polyester. They can be found in rolls, making it easy to use.
3. Measure Correctly
One of the biggest mistakes new quilters make is forgetting to account for the seam allowance. When sewing a quilt, you’ll use a quarter inch seam allowance, meaning that you’ll need to subtract a quarter inch from every side of your quilting squares. In other words, a 4-inch by 4-inch fabric square will only be 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches once sewn.
Once you figure out how big your quilt will be with your squares, use this number to decide how much backing and batting you should get. You may also want to consider getting a little extra backing to make a border around the edge of your quilt.
4. Choose Your Design First
Now that you have all the materials you need, it’s time to choose your design. Even if you don’t want to include a pattern, it’s important to make sure all your squares look good next to each other. For example, an off-white square next to a white square will end up making the white look dingy and could look awkward in your final product.
Move your fabric squares around and try a few different designs. If you have any patches or machine applique, you’ll want to move these around too. Once you’re happy with your design, take a picture for reference.
5. Prepare a Place to Work
You’ll need a lot of room to sew your quilt and organize everything. For most people, a large dining room table will be the best place to work. Make sure you clean the table off completely and grab a little trash can, so you have everything you need before you start sewing.
6. Practice Your Sewing Skills
If you’re new to sewing, you’ll want to practice a bit on scrap fabric before you start sewing your quilt. You’ll be sewing with a quarter inch seam allowance, which is marked by the right edge of your sewing machine’s foot. Make sure you’re confident with your sewing abilities before moving on to the next step.
7. Decide How You’ll Sew
Before you plunge that needle into your fabric, you should come up with a sewing plan. It’s all too easy to get confused and end up sewing the wrong squares together.
You’ll likely want to start by creating larger blocks with your fabric squares. If you have 4-inch by 4-inch fabric squares, sew 9 of them together to create a block that’s 3 squares across and 3 squares down. If you have bigger fabric squares, you may only need to sew 4 together (2 across and 2 down).
When making your blocks, start by sewing the columns together then attach the columns by sewing the rows. You’ll then repeat this process with the larger blocks to create your final quilt.
8. Mark Your Sewing Machine
If you’re still a bit nervous about sewing perfectly straight lines every time, consider marking your sewing machine with a piece of masking tape.
Place the tape on the quarter-inch mark on your sewing machine (at the right edge of the foot) and extend it down the machine. This will give you a longer guide to ensure your fabric stays straight.
9. Press the Seams
Each time you create a seam, you should press it using an iron. This will help create those crisp lines that will make your quilt look clean and make it easier to sew.
Flip the fabric to the backside, open the seam, and move an iron up and down on the seam. Alternatively, you could also use your finger if you don’t feel like constantly using the iron.
10. Lightly Glue Machine Appliques
Machine appliques are separate fabric shapes that you can apply over squares on your quilt for extra interest. However, these can easily shift around, making it difficult to sew them on correctly.
An easy way to ensure they stay is to use a small amount of fabric glue to attach them to the desired spot before you start sewing them in place.
Best Quilting Tips for Beginners
Making a quilt can seem like a daunting project. But by following the quilting tips for beginners listed above, you can create a successful quilt in no time.
Are you thinking about selling your quilts online? Then check out these tips for starting a business today!