The desire to make a quilt started for me almost a year ago when I entertained the idea of making a quilt for my granddaughter for Christmas. We had been to a local craft fair and her favorite colors where pink & lime green and she didn’t find very many things in these colors that appealed to her. I was hesitant at first because I didn’t even own a sewing machine and was still harboring a grudge against my high school home economics teacher. Once I researched quilting on the internet, it occurred to me that 200 years ago people made quilts by hand and some of them still exist today. Armed with the basic knowledge of quilting, I went to the local fabric store with my husband in tow for moral support but nearly hyperventilated when I made my purchases. I was committed! I had actually spent $75 on these supplies so I felt obligated to create something out of the fabric and notions that I had purchased. My wonderful partner took me straight home and had me to lie down while he made coffee (yes, I really was that out of sorts!). The next hurdle was to begin to cut my fabric and I almost got sick when I made the first cut! (The experience also taught me just how cheap I really am! Wasting $75 would make me physically sick!)
Quilt #1 was a rag quilt which was the style that I had researched on the internet. Rag quilts are basically made by cutting squares of fabric to make a “sandwich” then stitching all of your “sandwiches” together to form your quilt. Although I love the first tow rag quilts that I made, I don’t recommend this method for had-stitched quilts. Eventually I had to go back and reinforce the stitching. My favorite and the quickest method of making a quilt is using solid pieces of fabric and batting to create a simpler quilt. (Instructions below) This is also the best way, in my opinion, to make a baby quilt since you can use 1 yard of fabric for the top, 1 yard of batting and 1 yard of fabric for the backing.
Simple Quilt Instructions
- Lay your backing fabric on a flat surface. Next put your batting on top of the backing and finally lay your top fabric on the batting. You will want to have your backing about 2 inches larger all around so it can be folded over to create your quilt “hem”.
- Pin your quilt together. (Use safety pins to hold your two pieces of fabric and your batting together). Make sure to pin your quilt where the quilt top stops making room for the “hem”. Pins should be about 1 inch apart.
- Stitch the entire diameter of the quilt. The stitching technique that I use is one stitch then back ½ stitch to begin the next stitch. This method seems to reinforce my work.
- Next, I use an embroidery hoop to stitch X’s onto my quilt. You’ll want to do this to reinforce your quilt and keep the batting in place. I usually stitch my X’s randomly onto my quilt about 8-12 inches apart.
- Now you’re ready to make your “hem”. Lay your quilt on a flat surface and fold your backing over 1 inch toward the top then fold again 1 inch to create your hem. Finally, pin the hem and stitch it.
I usually work with solid colors of flannel but have used cotton and prints. You can make a block quilt which requires sewing blocks of fabric together to create a quilt top.
For a quilt 60″ x 60″:
- Cut your fabric into 5 ½” blocks. (The additional ½” is to make room for your stitching.) You will need 144 blocks.
- Sew together 12 blocks for a row then sew together 12 rows to make your quilt top.
For a bed size quilt, you’ll need to measure your bed to determine how much fabric is needed. Once you have your measurements, the associates at the fabric store can assist you with your calculation or you can go online for assistance.
Since I believe quilting is an art for it is only fitting that some of your work be framed. I like to take small amounts of expensive fabric and embellishments to create a design to hand on your wall. The great thing about this is that you can coordinate your art work and your bedding.
Quilting can be a lot of fun and is a great hobby. My work is most often perfectly imperfect so don’t be afraid to get creative!