Are you a new quilter eager to embark on a creative journey with fabric, but unsure where to start? Or perhaps you're a beginner looking to improve your quilting skills. Either way, you're in the right place.
Quilting is a rewarding and artistic craft, and with some guidance from experienced quilters and a few extra tips, you'll be well on your way to creating beautiful quilts. Let's dive into the collective wisdom that can help you succeed in the world of quilting.
We asked our Facebook community of 2,300+ quilters for helpful tips that they wished they new when they were brand new quilters & just getting started. Here's what they had to say!
Use a Planner:
Tabatha S., quilter and one of our co-owners, advises using a planner to stay organized. Make sure you note the fabric line you're using to avoid running out mid-project. Here's our favorite one!
Plan Each Stage of Your Quilting:
Carol Ann M.'s comprehensive approach to quilting involves planning, prewashing your fabric to prevent shrinkage and color bleeding, and mastering precise seam allowances. Carol says an electric seam ripper is your best friend for those occasional mistakes!
Square Up as You Go Along:
Beth K. learned the importance of squaring up quilt blocks the hard way. Save yourself time in the end by ensuring your blocks are square at each construction step.
Invest in a Stripology Ruler:
Cutting fabric is a fundamental part of quilting, and Kay G.'s tip to use a Stripology ruler can be a game-changer. It significantly reduces your cutting time, making the process quicker and more accurate.
Measure Twice, Cut Once:
Cindy B. & Jacqueline C. remind us of the age-old adage. Accurate measurements are the bedrock of successful quilting.
Read the Pattern Thoroughly:
Kathy H. suggests reading your pattern thoroughly and understanding each step. Learning shortcuts, like using a Stripology ruler, and mastering techniques such as half-square triangles and flying geese, can save time and enhance your quilting skills.
Use Good Fabrics:
Annette P. highlights the significance of high-quality fabrics and reading patterns thoroughly.
An interesting note from Annette is that she never washes her fabric before quilting, and her quilts still turn out beautifully. Quality materials can make a significant difference in your final product, and we think you'll love the fabrics in our sister online quilt shop!
Label Your Pieces:
Debbie T. recommends labeling your pieces when cutting for different fabrics and sizes. This organization will save time and prevent confusion.
And always buy a little extra fabric; it never hurts to expand your stash or create a matching bag for gifting your quilt.
Explore Quilting Resources:
Kirsten S. suggests printing off Fons & Porter's Sew Easy technique book, available for free on their website. These techniques can help you master various aspects of quilting.
Learn from Experienced Quilters:
Sandra M. shares her experience learning from experienced quilters like Terry Rowland and Kate Jackson, emphasizing the value of learning from those who've been there and done that.
Now, let's add a few more tips to your quilting toolbox as a new quilter:
Start with Simple Patterns:
Begin with straightforward patterns to build your skills gradually. Simple designs help you develop a strong foundation. This round up of 10 easy quilt patterns for beginners if the perfect place to start.
Practice with Scraps:
Utilize fabric scraps for practice to refine your techniques without using your precious fabric. We also have some easy, fun project ideas to make with quilt scraps here in this blog post!
Invest in Quality Tools:
Certain tools, like a good cutting mat, rotary cutter, and high-quality thread, are worth the investment for a smoother quilting process. We think Classi Creations makes some of the best cutting mats around!
Take Quilting Classes:
Enroll in quilting classes, either in person or online, to receive guidance and interact with experienced instructors.
Create a Design Wall:
Set up a design wall to visualize your quilt blocks before sewing them together, making layout experiments easier.
Keep your quilting workspace organized to improve your efficiency and prevent unnecessary stress. Clean your quilting room often! It's amazing how a clean and organized space can feel more inspiring.
Practice Perfecting Your 1/4" Seam:
Mastering the 1/4" seam allowance is crucial for accurate quilting. Practice until you can sew consistently without measuring constantly.
Learn Quilting Terminology:
Familiarize yourself with quilting terminology and abbreviations to better follow patterns and communicate with fellow quilters. Learn quilting terms like WIPs (works-in-progress) and WOFs (width-of-fabric).
Join a Quilting Community:
Connect with other quilters through local guilds or online communities for support and inspiration. Facebook is a great place to find free, active groups of quilters.
Joining in person quilting communities such as sewing bees or quilt guilds is also extremely helpful. There are tips and quilting methods you can only really pick up from being around other quilters and learning directly from them. If you're new to the quilting world & don't have many quilting friends yet, you want to check out this blog post on how to find your quilting friends!
Experiment with Different Techniques:
Explore various techniques like appliqué, paper piecing, and hand quilting to expand your skill set and discover what you enjoy most.
Remember to rest, stretch, and step away from your project when needed. Quilting can be time-consuming, and breaks keep you energized and motivated. You might also find that as you begin quilting more frequently because you fell in love with the hobby, you also have frequent back pain or similar body aches. You might want to read this blog post on preventing and managing back pain while quilting.
Document Your Progress:
Keep a quilting journal or take photos of your projects at different stages to track your progress and stay motivated. You will appreciate looking back on how far you've come! You might also want to share your projects in a Facebook album so your friends & family can see.
Lastly, be patient with yourself. Quilting is an art form, and no quilt is ever perfect (have you ever heard of a humility block?). Enjoy the process, and your skills will naturally improve over time.
In conclusion, with these invaluable tips from experienced quilters and additional advice for new quilters, you're equipped to enjoy a fulfilling quilting journey.
Every stitch you make is a step closer to creating beautiful and unique quilts. Remember that quilting is a labor of love and a wonderful way to express your creativity.
So, start quilting with confidence and passion, and enjoy the artistic adventure ahead! Happy quilting!