10 Quilting Tips

8/17/11

Recently, I have been doing a lot of quilting.  Now I am no expert by any means (I have a lot to learn), but I have made a total of 6 quilts, so far.  You don't make that many quilts without learning a few things about what you should and shouldn't do.  I noticed in our last giveaway that we have a lot of rookie quilters out there, so here is a list of my top ten quilting tips.

1. Grade A
There is a big difference between quilt shops and fabric stores...quilt grade fabrics. Don't get me wrong, I love the fabric store and I do buy quilting fabric from them sometimes, but be meticulous.  Look at the fabric, rub it between your fingers, and make sure it's a good fabric before you purchase it. 

2. Fruit Salad
Quilt stores will often have charm packs or shelve their fabrics by fabric line so that you can get a variety of colors and textures that coincide with each other.  But, if you are doing something where you are handpicking individual fabrics, be sure to get a variety of textures.  Get fabrics with dots, stripes, florals, prints, etc.  Make sure that they all work well together.  If you feel lost, the quilt shop employees are amazing at helping you pick out the right stuff.

3. To Wash, or Not to Wash
There is a debate amongst quilters of whether to prewash their fabrics or not to.  Well, that depends on the look you want.  Personally, I hate prewashing.  To me it's an extra step, but if you want a quilt that is more streamline, you may want to.  Prewash your fabric and then when you wash your finished quilt, it won't shrink...giving you a smooth quilt.  If you choose not to prewash, washing your finished quilt gives it that quilted texture.

4. Iron Fist
Whether you choose to prewash your fabric or not, always iron before you cut your fabric.  I must admit that I didn't do this until recently.  When fabric is on the bolt, it will wrinkle.  Some wrinkles are so bad that you cannot cut a straight seam.  If you aren't ironing, you run the risk of cutting blocks or strips that are unusable and you could end up wasting your fabric.

5. Slow and Steady
Throughout the entire process remember to take your time to be precise.  Cutting your fabric correctly is vital to your quilt.  This may not be the part you enjoy most, but it's very important to take the time to do it right.

6. Do The Math
Quilt and fabric stores will help you figure out how much fabric you need if you tell them dimensions, but I think it's important to understand the mathematics of quilting.  It helps in the purchasing process as well as the cutting and quilting process.  It helps you figure out how to best cut your fabric to get the most out of it.  And it's extremely important when creating your own quilt design.  Be sure to take into account your seam allowances.

7. Follow the Recipe
When you are making a quilt from a quilt pattern, follow the directions.  That's what they are there for.  There is a reason that you sew it together a certain way and press the seams a certain way.  You may not understand it, but it helps with the precision of your finished product.

8. Zig Zag
This is one that I learned the hard way.  When sewing your strips together, be sure to sew them in different directions.  If your first two strips are sewed from left to right, sew the next one from right to left.  Whether you realize it or not, everyone sews slightly skewed and if you sew every strip the same way, your quilt will arch like a rainbow making it hard to quilt and add your binding.

9. Centerpiece
Before sewing your strips together, pin them together from the center.  You want to line up your center seams because your quilt isn't perfect.  Seams will not always line up perfect, but if you line up from the center, those little imperfections won't be as noticable as they would if you line them up from the ends.

10. Scrap the Back
Once you finish your top, you may find that you have some leftover scraps from your fabric.  Use them up and make a great backing for your quilt.  Whether it's patchwork, strips, or big blocks of fabric it'll make it fun and use up those leftover scraps that normally go to waste.

Feel free to comment any quilting tips that you may have.

3 comments:

Catchtanya said...

Thanks! I am new to sewing and while I had heard *some* of your tips, it was nice to hear them again and to also learn some new ones. (ive never lined up seams from the center- whoops!)

Helen said...

Just found your blog...great tips!! I'm an oooooold seamstress, quilter, etc., and I still love reading tips! Thanks a bunch!

Lis Martion said...

Thank you for this..big help for every one.

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