Basic Beginner Quilting

Quilting is a time honored tradition that anyone can enjoy. A handmade quilt not only lends warmth to your body, but a handmade quilt can express the personality of the maker as well. The joy of quilting is that you can make a beautiful quilt using basic beginner quilting techniques.

Quilting Supplies
You really don't need a lot of special equipment for easy quilting. If you already sew, you probably have almost everything that you need to quilt. While a sewing machine makes quilting faster, you can also sew your quilt completely by hand. You will need:

  • Large safety pins
  • Tape
  • Quilting thread
  • Fabric scissors
  • Quilting needle
  • Thimble
  • Yarn or embroidery floss
  • Sewing needle for yarn or embroidery floss

For a very simple quilt, you will only need two pieces of fabric, quilt bat, quilting thread and yarn or embroidery floss. Quilt bat is the "fluff" between the two layers of cloth that adds to the warmth and heftiness of a quilt.

Basic Quilting
Take the piece of fabric that will be the bottom of your quilt and place it on the floor or on a table. The back piece should be laid face out. Tape the fabric back in place. The bottom piece of fabric should be larger than the top piece.

Place the batting on the fabric. Cover with the top piece of fabric, smoothing from the center out. Tape the top in place. Safety pin all three layers together every four inches, smoothing from the center out occasionally.

Easy Quilting Guide to Quilt Finishing
Starting in the top center of your quilt, pretend that you are going to sew a small button onto the bottom of your quilt. Bring your needle all of the way through your quilt through the bottom and then bring your floss or yarn back up to the top.

Tie the floss or yarn into a square knot, and cut, leaving about two inches on each side to trail. If you would like extra strength, go through twice before tying and cutting.

Repeat this process until the quilt is completed. Depending on the size of your quilt and the type of bat that you are using, leave three to six inches between each knot at regular intervals. You should find instructions on your batting for this.

Binding Your Quilt
Remove the safety pins from your quilt and trim the edges so that each corner is square.

Cut your binding strips 2 ½ inches wide and a length at least a couple of inches longer than the side of the quilt that you will be binding. Fold the strips in half with the unfinished side inside the strips and iron. Then fold each edge in to meet the center and iron into place. The first two steps in making a paper airplane are exactly the same as this.

Cover the edges of your quilt on opposite sides with your binding. Sew into place with a ¼ inch seam. Turn the quilt over and sew over the stitching by hand. Cut off the excess material.

Leaving ½ inch over the edge of the quilt on each side, put the remaining two pieces of binding in place. Sew only from one edge of the quilt to the other and backstitch as before. Turn in the ends of the binding until they are flush with the quilt and hand sew them until they are closed.

Quilting Tips
As you progress in your new craft, your quilts will become more complicated. The next step is to put together different pieces of fabric to form fabric squares, which you will then sew together to become the top of a quilt.

While many people use fabric remnants from other sewing projects to make quilts, you can also buy new fabrics that you have combined for a custom appearance. Make sure that you stack the fabrics on top of each other and look at them from a distance in real light, so that you can get a feel for what your quilt might look like before purchasing any material.

Some people also salvage good fabric from old clothes to put together a quilt of memories. Another idea is to cut logos from old shirts and patch them together.

Gauge Your Sewing Experience
Remember that there is a learning curve involved in any type of craft, including quilting. If you already have experience in sewing, you might be able to skip right away into mitered corners in your binding and more complex design patterns.

Regardless of whether you are new to sewing and quilting or have experience in both, quilting can be addictive. Soon, you may find yourself immersed in several quilting projects.

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