So You Want To Make A Quilt?


The process of making a quilt involves several basic tasks: measuring, cutting, marking and stitching. Each step has special tools and or techniques that can save time and make the project you choose easier to complete.

The first step is to select a quilt design or pattern, and your fabric. If you are a beginner, choose a simple design to begin with. Try to envision your finished quilt. What color do you want it to be? Do you want to incorporate different prints with solids? Prints may range from plaids to florals and even stripes. Solid fabrics come in just about every color imaginable. Cotton fabric is generally the easiest fabric to work with. Do not be afraid to experiment. All fabrics should be pre-washed in mild detergent and warm water, dried and pressed.

Step two involves measuring and cutting. If you buy quality-cutting tools, use them only for sewing. This will keep them sharp and make your cuts precise while saving time too. Rotary cutters are available in different sizes. They allow you to cut smooth edges on multiple layers of fabric quickly and easily. Small cutters work well on curves: larger cutters are great for long straight lines and many layers of fabric. Cutting mats should be used with rotary cutters. A good clear ruler is also a valuable tool. Sewing scissors and shears are also necessary. Accuracy is important in quilting. Taking the time to cut accurately will ensure your quilt pieces fit together perfectly.

Marking tools should be tested before you use them. You want the marks to come out easily without damaging the material. Special quilter’s pencils are available with white or gray lead, and an eraser on the end. Other types include soapstone, which is made of pressed talc, and water-soluble, which is great for darker fabrics. Marks from both types may be removed with a damp cloth.

Step three involves stitching. Every quilt project should be layered and basted before the actual quilting is involved. Quilting pins should be used to hold pieces together. If you are hand-basting there are special needles, with small round eyes, that are favored by quilter’s. Use a single strand of white cotton thread to baste. You may however, prefer to use curved, rustproof safety pins to make the basting process quicker and easier.

Pressing at each stage of the construction is also important. Use the tip of the iron and move in the direction of the grainlines. The general rule of quilting is to press each stitched seam before crossing it with another.

Quilting is the fourth step. Quilting holds the quilt top, batting, and backing together. It also adds texture and enhances the design. You may quilt by hand or by machine. Hand quilting is the traditional method; machine quilting takes less time and is more durable.

Binding is almost the final step in creating a quilt. Binding fabrics may either match or complement the other fabrics in the quilt. Binding also helps to square up your finished quilt.

Finally, document your quilt with a tag that should include who the quilt was made by, who quilted the quilt, where the quilt was made and then the month and year when the quilt was made.

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    Sewing Backing for a Quilt

    You have purchased 10 yards of 42” fabric to use for the backing on a quilt. Now what do you

    1. You need to cut off the selvage with a rotary cutter and ruler.
    2. Cut the fabric in half so you end up with TWO (2) 5‐yard pieces of fabric.
    3. Press each 5‐yard cut, making sure the ‘fold’ is pressed out of them.
    4. With right sides together, line up the two 5 yard cuts and sew them together on EACH SIDE. Use a 5/8” seam allowance and press both seams OPEN. You will end up with a long tube.
    5. Lay your tube out so you can draw a line on the back of one of the fabrics. Draw your line in the CENTER of the 5 yard strip ‐ equal distance between the two sewn seams.
    6. CUT just the ONE fabric that you drew on, from end‐to‐end of your tube, ON the line you drew on.
    7. Your fabric is now ready for backing your quilt.

    The reason for doing this is mostly for fabric strength. The most used areas (and hence, the
    most damage areas after regular quilt usage) of a quilt is the binding and the backing. You do
    not want a seam down the center of the backing ‐ too much stress is put on that area of a quilt
    ‐ think of two people laying under a quilt and one pulls it one way and the other pulls it their
    way. That stresses out a center seam on the back of a quilt. You also want to press the
    seam open because if you press it to one side (as you do on most quilt tops), it will be bulky in
    that area. By putting your backing seams on the sides of the quilt back, the center remains

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      Tutorial Tuesday: Rainbow Baby Quilt

      Free “Rainbow Baby Quilt Tutorial” designed by Crystal for Stitched by Crystal from So You Think You’re Crafty

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        Tutorial Tuesday: Easy Strawberry Fields Bricks

        “Easy Strawberry Fields Bricks” Free Quilt Pattern & Tutorial designed by Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter from Moda Bakeshop

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          Tutorial Tuesday: Picture Perfect Flying Geese

          One of the first things I notice, when looking at a quilt, is the ends/points of the triangles (if there are triangles in the quilt).  I am my own worse critic and have been known to rip out stitches a time or six before I am satisfied with the points on my flying geese.

          My 1/4″ seam allowance is checked three and four times before, during and after I am working on a quilt project.  I make sure to measure twice, cut once.  Even with all of that, I still find that I occasionally cut off points of triangles.

          Then I had a revelation.  What can be done to keep from cutting off my triangle points?



          This concept isn’t that difficult to understand although it will change the finished size of your blocks and quilt just a tad.

          ADD 1/4″ to the strip you are sewing your top square to.  For example, with the tutorial below, the original size of my strip called for a 4 1/4″ x 8″ strip.  Instead, I cut the strip 4 1/2″ x 8″.  Follow the tutorial below to see how perfect your triangle points can be.

          Fabric Requirements:

          • ONE (1) 8″ square focus fabric
          • FOUR (4) 4 1/4″ squares triangle/points fabric
          • FOUR (4) 4 1/2″ x 8″ strips flying geese strips
          • FOUR (4) 4 1/2″ squares block cornerstones



          ONE (1) 8″ square


          FOUR (4) 4 1/4″ squares


          Draw a diagonal like, corner-to-corner, on the BACK side of the 4 1/4″ squares


          Line up the 4 1/4″ squares to the top corner of the 4 1/2″ x 8″ strips and sew ON the line you drew.


          Cut off the corner of the flying geese block, 1/4″ inch FROM the sewing line.


          Press your seam toward the 4 1/4″ square.


          Repeat the process to sew the second 4 1/4″ square to the opposite side of the 4 1/2″ x 8″ square.


          Trim off the corner fabric 1/4″ FROM the sewing line.


          Press toward the second corner.


          Using TWO (2) of the flying geese blocks, sew the 4 1/2″ cornerstones to the ends of both of your flying geese.


          With the remaining flying geese, sew them to the right and left sides of the 8″ square.  Press toward the center fabric.


          Pin and sew the top and bottom (the strips with the cornerstones) flying geese strips to the center section of the blocks.


          That’s all there is to it!  Now go forth and create Picture Perfect Flying Geese!


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