Quilting is a lovely art that people have been practicing for eons. It has been evolving, and no single quilter can or should shush you about the perfect way to quilt. Everyone is learning and improving, which has brought about a great deal of diversity and richness in the quilting family. Every quilter, whether an experienced one or a beginner, has one or a few tips to learn if they care to learn. Don’t forget, though, the more the experience you have, the better the quilts you will make.
What you should know to start quilting
Quilting, if simply put, is the sewing together of two or (mostly) three layers of fabric to make a heavy, warm piece of cloth. In olden days, quilting was done mainly for warmth purposes. However, today, quilting has been embraced by interior designers to accentuate interior décor. It has become some kind of art and, therefore, a valuable type of homely decor option.
Before you venture into quilting, you should know quilters prefer a few things like quilting weight cotton. While earlier years, people were very keen on using hand quilting techniques today, machine quilting is the more preferred method, especially by beginners. In fact, you can use your ordinary sewing machine for quilting. Hand quilting is also preferred by many because it offers you hands-on expertise and attachment to the quilts you make. However, whether you opt for hand or machine quilting, you are sure to enjoy a whole lot of benefits when you learn quilting basics. Below, we are going to explore how to start quilting for beginners.
Quilting allows one to not only explore what they learned about quilting from their mentor, but it also lets you open your wings and explore different methods and depths of quilting. You can mix different types of fabrics when making a quilt. Combining different types of fabrics, patterns, and colors give your quilts depth and originality. It is for this reason quilters are seen as artists because they can employ different techniques, methods, and styles to produce their quilts.
Hand quilting tips
Hand quilting can be intimidating at first. However, upon watching a quilting expert at work, you will be relieved to discover that it is not as hard. Some of the most basic quilting tips for beginners is to know what tools are needed. First, you will need tools such as a quilting hoop, the quilting fabric, a thimble, and a set of quilting needles. Don’t forget to buy the right quilting thread, which should be available locally. Here are some tips that will come in handy if you are a beginner quilter:
- Use a quilting hoop – Though you can use an embroidery hoop, it is advisable to pick a quilting one, which is not expensive. When tightening the fabric on the hoop, please don’t make it drum-tight.
- Use the right quilting needles – You should use quilting needles, which tend to be generally smaller than the sewing ones. It would help if you bought a pack of needles from your local store. One of the most critical hand quilting tips for a beginner is acquiring the correct needles. The smallest needle will give you small stitches and is more likely to provide you with uniform spaces between the stitches. The larger needles are ideal if you are after larger stitches.
- Use quilting thread – The quilting thread is firmer, stiffer, and it doesn’t fray at the edges. This thread is easy to put in the eye of the needle. For a beginner, you might want to pick a thread that is a bit thicker and whose color blends with your fabric.
- Make a knot at the end of the thread. Simply tie the end of the thread twice or thrice to make it easy to hide the knot. Please don’t make a fat knot as it may fail to pass through the fabric or even destroy it.
- To hide the knot, simply put the needle in the top fabric while placing a finger below the underneath fabric. Don’t let the needle pierce the fabric below. Make a stitch on the above fabric. When the knot comes into contact with the fabric, tug at it to make the knot go between the two fabrics. Don’t forget to hide the last knot when you are done with stitching.
Machine quilting tips
There are countless ways that you can use your machine when quilting. Here, we are going to explore some echo stitching machine quilting tips that will help pave the way for your successful quilting future.
- Have a large working surface – Some machines come with extension tables that will help you with this. It would be best if you don’t let any fabric hang by the sides of the machine as the layers of the fabrics will separate, and the stitches will be a mess.
- Knee lift – This is a gadget installed next to your right knee. When you want to lift the feeddogs, all you will need to do is tap the knee lift twice.
- Use the walking foot and quilting guide – The adjustable metal guide is fitted on the outer end of the sewing machine. It helps prevent the fabric from going out of the way when it’s being sewn. The rows of stitches will be equally spaced apart because of this guide. The unique gripper pads of the foot prevent the fabrics from separating when the needle goes up. This helps in keeping the quilt fabrics together at all times.
- Use an inspirational guide – Many of the sewing and quilting machines come with an inspirational guide to help a beginner get started. If there wasn’t one, you could always find one at your local store or over the internet. This guide will help you in discovering a lot of patterns, processes, and styles. Using this guide, you also get the courage to try out new challenging styles and quilt patterns.
How to fix quilting mistakes
The first thing you should know and appreciate when you are starting to quilt is that every quilting project is a learning lesson. Having noted that, you might find your blocks or triangles are of different sizes even though you had carefully measured everything. Finally, you see the finish line of your quilting marathon, and then suddenly you realize you are out of border fabric.
- You have run out of fabric – This can be due to a miscalculation or an oversight. The way to solve this is to ask for help from other quilters. Take a photo and video of the particular print that you are using and ask for help from fellow quilters on Instagram, Flickr, and other social media sites you are on. To prevent this from happening in the future, invest in a quilting calculator.
- Wavy borders – You might realize that one side is a few inches longer than the other side, which means you are not going to have precise edges. The solution to this is to confirm that the length and width of the top quilt are even. You can then trim off the excess material before adding new borders. To avoid a repeat of the mistake, add extra-long materials, which you can then trim to the size you want.
- Having messed up allowances – You can end up with unequal parts of a square or a block that is too small. This can happen despite you trying to follow the instructions and the measurements. The problem could have arisen because of a seam allowance miscalculation. Some of the quilting pinwheels tips to follow include using the machine foot and a quilting metal ridge to help you keep within the intended measurements. If you have none of these gadgets, you can use a sticky note or masking tape to mark the correct distance from the edge of your foot.
The solution to getting the best quilt is to keep on learning. There is no end to quilting lessons. Even a veteran quilter has something to learn. While you might be an expert in the straight line or echo quilting methods, you shouldn’t block your mind from learning free motion quilting tips. After all, you never know when these extra skills might come in handy in your quilting career. As we have explored above, quilting using hand can be different from machine quilting, and this presents you with the dilemma of which one is good for you. Well, whichever method you opt for, you are guaranteed to get breathtaking results when you invest in the right amount of time and other resources.