6 Tips to Get You Started Quilting

Maybe you like to sew and have been wanting to learn how to quilt for a while. Or perhaps you’re brand new and want to learn to sew and quilt at the same time. Here are some great tips to get you started on your quilting journey, no matter what your sewing skills are like now.

• Start off quilting using only 100% cotton fabric – All fabrics are not created equal, and some fabrics like polyester can be slippery and difficult to sew. When you’re just starting out, you probably want to stick to 100% cotton fabrics until you get the hang of quilting. Start basic so that you don’t get frustrated, and work your way up to trickier fabrics after you’re a little more experienced.
• Use the right thread – You also want to stick with 100% cotton thread for quilting. If you’re using your sewing machine to quilt, plain cotton thread will do. There are other high-quality quilting threads, but they are made for hand-quilted projects and won’t work well in your sewing machine. If you’re working on multi-colored quilts, you don’t need every color of thread. You can get away with white, gray, beige and occasionally a dark color.
• A rotary cutter will be your new best friend – Rotary cutters can help you make precise cuts to many layers of fabric at once to save you tons of time. You’ll also need a clear ruler and cutting mat to help you cut with your rotary cutter. If you want to quilt geometric shapes like hexagons or stars, a rotary cutter is much better than a pair of shears for this job.
• Learn basic quilting terminology – The smaller pieces of your quilt are known as quilting blocks. These are the pieces you sew together to form the outside layers of your quilt. Batting is the material in the middle of your two outer layers of quilt that helps provide insulation and make your quilt warm. If you’re hand quilting, you want to use polyester, and if you’re machine quilting you want to use cotton.
• Pick the right machine – You can, of course, still hand-make your quilt. But many quilters these days choose to use a sewing machine. A long arm quilting machine is designed to hold a frame that in turn keeps the quilt in place while it sews pieces together. These machines can be pricey. You can find professionals who will do this for you. It may be better to start your quilting journey with a traditional sewing machine. You can certainly sew on a treadle machine (or any sewing machine for that matter) but it will take much longer to complete your project. If you can find a machine with a walking foot, it can ease the work on straight machine quilting. 
• Have the right supplies on-hand – In addition to everything else mentioned here, you’ll need an assortment of tools that will make your quilting life much easier. A seam-ripper will be a lifesaver as you’re learning to quilt. You’ll also want a good pair of shears (they don’t have to be fancy dressmaker shears for quilting projects). Other supplies you will need include pins, quilting clips and needles.

Quilting can be such a rewarding activity, but it can also be challenging. If you would like help making the vision of your quilt come alive, contact me!

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