Quilting is one of the oldest crafts in the world and is still being practiced today. It can be done by anyone, regardless of experience or skill level, and it’s an incredibly versatile craft that can be used for a variety of purposes. Let’s explore everything you need to know to get started.
What is Quilting?
Quilting is a centuries-old art form that can be traced back to the Islamic and Byzantine empires. It is a process of piecing together pieces of fabric, usually cotton or woolen, to create an image on a surface. Quilts are often used as beds or covers, but can also be used as wall hangings or props for pictures. There are many different types of quilts including traditional quilts with geometric patterns, appliquéd quilts, patchwork quilts, and Southwest-style quilts. It can be done by hand or with a sewing machine and you can learn all that in quilting classes.
The Different Types of Fabric You Will Need
Fabric is one of the most important things you will need when starting quilting. There are a variety of types of fabric that can be used for different projects, so it’s important to understand what each one is good for.
When choosing fabric, think about the project you’re going to quilt. A traditional quilt will use a lot of fabrics that are folded together and pieced together like a puzzle. So if you’re planning on making a traditional quilt, you’ll want to choose fabrics with a lot of body and drape.
On the other hand, some quilts are created using batting and backing that is printed or has designs on them. In these cases, you don’t need as much fabric as you would for a traditional quilt because the fabric won’t be seen. So if you’re looking to create something special but don’t have enough fabric to make a traditional quilt, try choosing prints or patterns instead.
Another thing to consider when choosing fabric is how it will be used. For example, if your project calls for bias tape (a type of seam binding), you’ll want bias tape made from an elastic-quality material. On the other hand, if your project doesn’t call for bias tape (like an everyday piece of clothing), you might want to choose something cheaper that still has a good drape.
There are also different types of seams that can be used in different ways depending on the project. For example, binding (like bias tape) can be done with a simple seam or a zigzag seam.
So when choosing fabric, think about what you’ll be using it for and what kind of seams will be needed. Then find a fabric that has the qualities you’re looking for.
How to Sew a Straight Line
If you’re new to quilting, one of the first things you’ll need to learn is how to sew a straight line. There are a few techniques you can use to achieve this goal, and each has its own benefits.
The Dry-Erase Method
This is the simplest method and works best for medium to large fabrics. Simply put the fabric under your presser foot and lift up the presser foot so that the fabric moves over the needle but does not touch it. Then hold down the fabric with your other hand while you slowly lower the presser foot back down onto the needle. Voilà! You have just sewn a straight line without having to guide or adjust your fabric! The downside is that this method can be time-consuming if you have a lot of fabric to sew.
The Hand-Held Method
This method is easier than the dry-erase method, but it isn’t as fast. To use it, place your fabric under your presser foot and hold down one end of the fabric with one hand while you move your other hand along the length of the fabric, guiding it onto the needle as you go. Then release your grip on one end of the fabric and let go of all other parts of it so that it falls freely onto your sewing machine bed.
The Manual Method
This is the most time-consuming method, but it’s also the easiest to use. To use it, first, place your fabric under your presser foot and hold down one end of the fabric with one hand while you move your other hand along the length of the fabric, guiding it onto the needle as you go. Then release your grip on one end of the fabric and let go of all other parts of it so that it falls freely onto your sewing machine bed. You’re now ready to start sewing! The downside is that this method can be difficult if you have a lot of fabric to sew.
How to Sew a Curve
There are a few different methods you can use, and each has its own benefits.
The first method is called “pinning and unpinning.” This technique involves using a pin to keep the fabric in place while you sew. To do it, position the fabric near the edge of the curve you want to sew and fold the fabric over so that the pinpoints down toward the floor. Then, unfold the fabric so that the pin is now inside the fold. Sew slowly around the perimeter of the curve, being careful not to pull on the pinched-up fabric. When you finish sewing, gently remove the pin and press down on the seam allowance where it circles around the curve.
The second method is called “tacking and binding.” With this technique, you tack (or glue) one edge of your fabric to another before sewing around the curve. To do it, find a spot on one edge of your fabric that matches up with a spot on another edge of your fabric (usually about 1 inch from either end). Take some batting or other padding and pound it close to both edges of your fabrics so that they stick together slightly. Then, using a needle and thread, sew just past where they meet (but not through the padding). Now, using the second piece of fabric (or paper towel if you don’t have another fabric), position it over the first so that the tacky edges are facing out and press down. Then, take your sewing machine and sew around the curve, being sure to go past the tacky edge on both sides. When you finish sewing, trim off any excess fabric.
The third method is called “zigzag binding.” With this technique, you don’t need any special tools or supplies. You just zigzag stitch around the curve a few times, being careful not to pull on the fabric too much. When you’re done, your seam will be slightly visible but it shouldn’t be noticeable from the front or side.
Tips for Making Your Quilt Look Good
Quilting for beginners can be a challenging task, but with the right tips, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Here are a few tips to help make your quilt look good:
- Start with quality fabric. The quilt will look better and last longer if you use a high-quality fabric.
- Use matching fabrics for blocks and borders. This will create a more cohesive appearance in your quilt.
- Follow the piecing pattern as closely as possible. This will ensure that the blocks and borders match up correctly and look coordinated.
- Quilt in straight lines and curves sparingly. This will keep the quilt looking neat and organized.
- Use a quilting ruler to help guide your quilt stitches. This will make sure that your quilt seams are straight and even.
Quilting for beginners can be a hard task, but with the help of this article, you will have everything you need to get started. We covered topics such as what fabrics are best for beginners, how to make piecing mistakes less costly, and tips on choosing the right quilt pattern. We hope that reading through this guide has given you the confidence to start quilting and that in the future we can chat more about specific projects or techniques that you might want to try.