People often look at the exterior of a quilt and see something so massive and confusing that they can’t even imagine where to begin, however, there is a science to quilting–and that science is easier than you think. It requires following an organized pattern, and there are lots of tips and tricks that can be used to speed up the process. But above all, make friends–quilting, is and always has been, about friendships and friends can teach you more than this article ever could.
IT’S NOT HARD, IT JUST “LOOKS” HARD
The Americana Quilt is only the second quilt I have ever made (the first is pictured above!) It’s not hard to quilt! I don’t care what anyone says! It simply requires following a pattern, and basic tips and tricks. I have made lots of clothing over the years, and if you ask me, quilts are still easier than any piece of clothing I have ever made. Why? Because quilts follow an EXACT pattern. Clothing doesn’t (because every BODY is shaped differently–it’s just that simple!
AN ORGANIZED PROCESS
People often look at the exterior of a quilt and see something so massive and confusing that they can’t even imagine where to begin, however, there is an exact science to quilting. It requires following an organized pattern, and there are lots of tips and tricks that can be used to speed up the process. So, let’s begin!
FABRIC CUTTING MADE EASY–BULK CUTTING TECHNIQUES
Fabrics can be cut quickly using bulk cutting techniques. Rather than cutting each square individually, squares and triangles are cut in bulk batches. Quilters use quilting mats, rotary cutters, and large rulers to cut fabric in bulk batches. In fact, the fabric is cut on the FOLD, so you are actually cutting two layers at once. It only took me a little over two hours to cut my entire Americana quilt pattern. Now, that’s what I call EASY!
Once you finish cutting your squares, triangles, and strips, you then sew in bulk using an assembly-line technique. Meaning, you run it through the sewing machine without even stoping to “cut” the thread. At the very end of sewing all your stack of fabrics together, you go back and cut them apart all at ones. And that makes for quick and easy sewing.
ROWS AND BLOCKS ARE SEWN TOGETHER IN PATTERNS
Most amateurs (who have never dared to sew a quilt) have no idea that quilts are sewn together in “patterns.” For example, if you were sewing a quilt together ONLY made of squares, you can’t just start sewing squares together. You must sew them together in order of ROWS and BLOCKS–otherwise you will end up with one big crooked mess. Follow the pattern, and everything turns out perfect. All quilts and blocks come with a pattern for sewing them together. The more you quilt, the more you understand how the patterns work.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO START BIG
This was the first quilt I ever made–isn’t it beautiful! Don’t be afraid to start big. Quilts are really just tiny building blocks that form a bigger pattern–to start a quilt, you will have to start small ANYWAY! So, start with ONE block, and then make another block, and then add your sashing, and finally your binding.
NOBODY HAND STITCH QUILTS ANYMORE
I ONLY make the quilt top and the backing! I don’t do the top-stitch quilting (which is the pretty stitching on top of the quilt that holds all the layers together)! That part I “contract” out. There are giant machines and computers that are NOW used to do top-stitching on your quilt. So, a quilt (your part anyway), can be done in a week or so (at least that’s how long it took me to complete BOTH quilts that I have made (the AMERICANA, and this Red Quilt Top pictured above). You can find a local long arm quilter by asking around at quilter’s guilds or in your local community shops. Make friends–quilting, is and always has been, about friendships, and your friends can teach you more than this article ever could. That’s how I learned in the first place.