Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Your First Quilt

Thanks to Chris over at Pickup Some Creativity for asking me to be a part of her Sewing 101 Series
I've got the Basics of Quilting to get you started on your first quilt. 

You'll need: 
-about a yard and a half total of prewashed/ironed cotton fabric (this will leave you plenty of extra)
-a piece of batting or flannel measuring roughly 30" x 20" 
-basting spray
-disappearing ink fabric marker
-optional: rotary cutter, mat & quilting ruler

Cut 5 strips of fabric, each measuring 18" x 6".
You can cut across the width or along the length but not on the bias (diagonally) as it will stretch too much.

Pin the strips right sides together on the long sides, in the order you want them.

Sew together using a 1/4" seam allowance.
{If you want to make more than one quilt in your sewing lifetime, definitely invest in a good walking foot}
Press your seams to one side, toward the darker fabric like below.

Now cut your middle layer (batting or flannel) a little bigger than your quilt top.
Cut your bottom layer (the quilt back) to match the batting.

All three layers stacked together make your "quilt sandwich."
Now you'll baste (read: stick together) your sandwich to keep the layers in place for sewing. Some people pin baste beautifully but I use basting spray - quilting magic in a can. It's quick and easy on my hands. This is how I do mine, but written better.

First, stitch in the ditch like so in the 4 seams joining your strips.

Then mark and sew some more random lines to stabilize the three layers.

Here are a couple ways I like to hold the quilt while it's on the machine.
Just don't tug too hard or you'll break a needle.

Oh, and the goofy gloves I'm wearing are quilting gloves and they are awesome.
The fingertips are coated with rubber to help you grip the fabric. I use them on a lot of my projects, not just quilts.

 Wondering how to wrangle a quilt through your machine?
Just roll up one side to fit it in the machine and adjust as you go.

Trim your excess batting and backing.

It's time to do your binding (to encase the raw edges). Don't be scared! You can either buy premade binding or make your own. I like to make my own using this amazing tutorial. And this tutorial is great for attaching your binding to the quilt.

Here are the basics...
what double fold bias binding looks like

attached to the front of your quilt

folded over the raw edge and pinned to the back
You can either handstitch or machine stitch it down, but I prefer handstitching with this coated cotton thread.

Finished binding

Now you get to wash and dry it!
My dryer always seems soooo slow when there's a new quilt in there...
Have you ever wondered why quilters get all gaga over a freshly washed quilt?



Your quilt would make a great gift as a wall hanging; customize it to a nursery color scheme or someone's interests and give it with a couple of hanging clips.
And it's easy to change the design, add an applique, embroider a name, learn to piece blocks, etc. etc.

I hope you enjoyed my very very long tutorial...
Good luck with your first quilt! I'd love to see what you make in the 
Handmade Mommy Tutorials Flickr Pool.
Pin It


  1. Loved this project, Kari! Thank you so much for sharing it. I am saving up for a walking foot...they are expensive for my machine!

  2. this is great kari, I'm sure others will really enjoy learning from you. :)

  3. The lesson was a bit over my head BUT I am in love with the final product! So sweet.

  4. So cute. You made it look easy...I'm skeptical:) I'm going to get the materials this weekend so I can actually make a quilt, hopefully in the next month. Wish me luck! Thanks for the tutorial. BTW: I enjoy very, very long tutorials. I need all the help I can get:)

  5. This is brilliant. I'd love to have a go but I'm scared I'd ruin it with my dodgy stitches..Thank you for your tutorial, the longer the better I think, thanks for the detail too

  6. That was awesome, I can't wait to sew my first quilt. I love this post Kari. Question - do you sew with a special kind of needle? Thanks. -Van

  7. Beautiful! Are all walking feet the same/universal? My machine didn't come with one, and I'm clueless about where to get one for my Juki. You're awesome!

  8. I love this tutorial and am going to hunt down some basting spray for my next quilt.
    Do you have a preference for what batting you use? I used Bamboo batting for my first quilt and that worked okay but I found it a bit uneven in thickness. I'm going to do a lot more research before I get quilting on my next project.
    Thanks again for sharing,

  9. Thanks Kari! That quilt is so beautiful, I see what you mean after you wash it, so pretty :)

  10. Thanks, everyone!

    Van, I just use a universal needle, but always check my manual to get the right one.

    And Mel, I use warm and natural cotton batting - it's uniform in thickness and feels wonderful. I've always wanted to try bamboo but it's good to know that you had trouble with the thickness being uneven.

    Good luck on your quilts, Ladies!!

  11. Hi Nat, Thanks! I'm not sure about the walking feet being universal...I always go to the sewing machine repair store (Sew Pros for you & I) and ask them. They're very knowledgeable and helpful. Good luck!

  12. Oh gosh! That is so cute, and it seems do-able. I better try it, but I'm kinda scared. A better idea may be to buy all the fabric I like (my fave part), and then have my mom do the sewing using this amazing tutorial! I'll supervise!!

    Love it! Thanks!

  13. Thanks for the awesome tutorial. I have never tried a quilt but you make it look so easy. I will definately be trying your version!!
    Thanks, Jen

  14. I have never been a good sewer, but R.E.A.L.L.Y. want to make my own quilt. Thanks for this tutorial, you make it sound do-able! And I love the patterns you used!


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