Beginning in Quilting

Wow. Where did the time go, haha I really neglected this didn’t I? Anywayyy, thought I’d share my new passion here.

There is something indescribably beautiful about quilts. Other than keeping us warm, they have a way of communicating so much more. Quilts pass down from generation to generation. A grandmother may present one to a newborn grandchild. A mother can also send off her newly married daughter with one as a wedding gift. The process of creating one is a true form of art. The incorporation of different colors, designs, and construction skills require attention to detail. It could perhaps explain why they make such exquisite gifts.

Let me provide some tips on quilting with a regular sewing machine.

How to Use a Regular Sewing Machine for Quilting

What you need:

  • A sewing machine. Get help from Kristina if you need a new one
  • A spacious work surface
  • The quilting units or blocks in simple shapes such as squares. The blocks consist of backing, batting, and the top piece.
  • Basting spray or safety pins
  • Iron
  • Gridded cardboard

Forming the Blocks

Lay the backing piece on the grid cardboard the right side facing down. Spray it with the basting and then place the batting over it. Spray the batting and place the top unit, right side up. Think of it like a sandwich; the bottom part is the backing, the middle part is batting, and then the top unit.

Use the iron to ensure they stay in place. If you do not have the spray, hold the pieces together with the safety pins. Now, sew the edges together to have a complete block.

Prepare your blocks in advance, so that when you start sewing, you don’t need to stop to prepare more.

Sewing the Blocks Together

You have two options when sewing the blocks together using a sewing machine:

  • Straight line quilting will require you to use a walking foot instead of the regular presser foot. You achieve the same movement for the top and bottom due to the grip of the pressure foot and the feed dogs. You avoid shifting or pleating of the quilt. Please note; you cannot achieve intricate designs with straight line quilting.
  • Free motion quilting allows for intricate designs, but it can be challenging for beginners. It does not use the feed dogs, so you are in complete control of the motion. The stitch length depends on how fast your movements are. You will also need to change the foot to one for darning.

Tips for the Perfect Quilting Experience

  • Start Small

One good tip for beginners is to start with smaller projects and simple designs. Aim to achieve 36 to 50 inches, and then go bigger as you learn more. Using scraps of fabric will help you learn how to form blocks and lay them properly.

  • Work On a Large Surface

Work on a large surface so that you have sufficient space to move the quilt around. You do not want a scenario where the quilt falls over the table’s side as you progress. It may interfere with the alignment of the blocks due to the pull of gravity.

  • Work With Busy Prints

Until you get your technique right, you will make some mistakes. Busy prints and texture will help you hide such. Match your thread so that it blends in well.

  • Have a Plan

Before you start quilting, have a good idea of how you want it to look. You can sketch the design or use computer software to generate the final look. It will give you a good idea of how the blocks will blend in together. It also helps you move more efficiently once you start.

Parting words

Quilting with a sewing machine will help you move faster than if you were doing it by hand. Take your time to learn the technique, and start with small projects before moving up. Keep in mind that, you may not be able to achieve perfection initially; but remember; neither did the expert quilt makers began perfectly.