How To Quilt.
How to make a quilt.
You can learn how to make a quilt or how to
quilt quickly and easily, but you can also
spend the rest of your days trying to master
all the subtleties of quilting 101.
How do you choose the best design for your
How do you make a quilt?
There are many choices and
each project raises more possibilities.
But somehow you have to decide what design to
use on this project. Indeed, this is only
the first of many decisions you will need to
make in creating your beautiful quilt.
The design you pick will
guide you in selecting the right fabrics,
patterns, tools, and other materials needed for
You might, however, see a
gorgeous piece of fabric and think to yourself,
"Now this would make a beautiful quilt."
In this case the fabric itself may dictate the
design features you choose.
These three must work
together: design, fabric, and pattern. A
great design can be ruined by choosing the
wrong fabric or pattern.
So how do you choose?
1. Imagine the finished
product first. Try to see through your
mind's eye, what your quilt will look like when
it is done. Dream a little.
2. You might use one of the
many software programs available to help bring
practical definition to your project. Use
the program to draw out your ideas. You
can arrange, group, and sort quickly and
3. If you don't have
software, try using pencil and paper.
Draw out your thoughts. Do whatever it takes to
define your finished project.
4. You may prefer using
certain techniques or tools. Consider how
these might affect the construction of your
quilt. You have many options including
paper piecing, patterns, and stencils. If
you prefer a specific quilting process, use it
to layout the design of your quilt.
5. A beginning quilter
often, learns one way of doing things, and
practices that approach on several quilts
before attempting new and different
approaches. Keep in mind quilting should
be fun, so avoid stressing out over having to
master whole new sets of skills on each new
6. When you use small pieces
to create a block, it is called piecing.
While there are several different ways to do
this, one of the first thing quilters learn is
to use the traditional 1/4" seam
allowance. This will affect how you cut
out your fabrics, how you lay them out, and how
they go together.
7. You may choose to
embellish you quilt blocks with appliqué,
embroidery, or stenciled designs.
8. When you use a block
design approach, eventually you have to join
the blocks together. Before joining them,
however, it is essential that you square your
quilt blocks to insure that they are all
exactly same size, shape, and uniform. Then you
may complete the assembly.This again may be
done in several ways, but Block to Block
and using borders are the most common.
Once you complete all your
blocks, and you have assembled them together,
we say that the quilt top is finished.
There are still some big steps before we can
say the quilt is done.
How to batt a quilt?
BATTING: The next step is to
select the backing material and the batting or
fill material for your quilt. There
are different types of batting including all
cotton, all polyester, and blends of polyester
and cotton. Ask you local quilt shop or
teacher, about what batting they recommend for
your project. You may prefer one type
over another or you may decide based on your
current project. All you have to do
is open the bag and unroll it. This type of
batting comes in different lofts or
thicknesses, the thicker the loft, the warmer
BACKING: Color, texture, and
fabric content are considerations when choosing
the backing fabric. Generally, the
backing fabric is not as important as the quilt
top, so you may get by with a little less
quality fabric or even a lower thread count
fabric. Generally, you want a woven fabric
because you want it keep its shape instead of
stretching. There are larger width
fabrics, but in many cases you will need to
seam the backing fabric together to make it
just a little larger (2" all the way around)
than the top. Before using backing there are a
few things you will need to do. First, trim off
the selvage edge. Then preshrink the
fabric to prevent shrinkage after the quilt is
finished. Finally sew three lengths of
the fabric (equal widths) the length of the
backing. Finally, press the seams to one
ASSEMBLY: Lay the backing
down on the floor with its wrong side up and
right side down. Roll out the batting smoothly
over the backing fabric. Trim the batting about
one inch shorter than the backing fabric and
one inch longer than the quilt
top. Center the quilt top on
top of the batting face-up.
BASTING: The three layers of
the quilt are now ready to assemble. Before
attempting to finish sew, however, the layers
must be temporarily fastened together.
This may be done by simply pinning the three
layers together. Sewing with a long straight
stitch will Baste the layers together.
Begin in the center of the quilt. You may use
running stitches or Z stitches for basting.
MACHINE QUILTING: You are
now ready to quilt the finished project. The
most common way to achieve this is by machine
quilting. With smaller projects, this can
be accomplished with a standard sewing machine,
but with larger projects some type of machine
quilting frame is required. The new Grace
Quilter does a great job for the home, but
there are many quilt frames available.
The quilt is rolled onto a frame and sewn
together according to specialized templates or
by using one of the following techniques.
This is what it means to quilt.
STITCH IN DITCH: A common
practice is to use the sewing technique of
stitching in the ditch, or sewing right into
the seam itself. With a little practice,
the thread almost disappears.
ECHO DESIGN: You may decide
to use Echo Design which is stitching along the
outline of the block repeating lines of
stitches every quarter inch to create
repetitious sections of very heavy
OVERALL QUILTING: You may
choose to use an overall quilting design using
square grids, diamond shapes, or
clamshells. This approach does not follow
the outline of the block but ignores it.
HAND QUILTING: Hand quilting will require quilt
frame, or a large hoop. Hoops are more
portable, but require more basting. Once your
project is secure you begin stitching the three
layers together in very small uniform stitches,
using the design you chose earlier. Start With
about 18 inches of thread and begin working in
the centre of your project, quilting toward the
TYING: Hand quilting is
often viewed even by hand sewers to be
excessively meticulous. An alternative is
typing the quilt together ever four inches or
sew using a think twine.
BINDING: Now that the quilt
is quilted, all that remains is to finish the
edge. Double check the square of the
quilt before beginning and adjust as
needed. Then bind the edges by using bias
strips of fabric or pre-cut bias tape sewn on
one side, folded over and sewn on the
You may now hand your quilt
over a solid quilt rack for display.
Donna Trumble is a professional designer,
seamstress, author, sewing educator, and sewing
business owner. She leads several
Sewing Show And Tell groups in her stores
guiding participants to shop sewing machines
and learn about sewing and quilting.