Quilting is an art, but it takes a great deal of equipment to get started. Luckily, if you are new to quilting and want to learn quilting, the work required to start is not nearly as daunting. All you need are some basic sewing supplies and a little bit of time.
Essentials for Quilting
The first thing you need to start quilting is a sewing machine. If you already own one, great. If not, consider getting a used machine. You can find these at thrift stores, garage sales and on sites like eBay and Craigslist. Just make sure it works before you purchase it.
You also need some sewing supplies – fabric, thread, scissors and a cutting board are all essential tools to your quilting adventures. There are also a few gadgets that can make the process easier, and help you produce better results. These include a walking foot, seam ripper and cutting mats. You can find them at most department stores or even your local Wal-Mart
Finally, you need a sewing pattern to follow along with. Pattern companies come in many different sizes and styles, but the most common ones are Aida or linen. These patterns have a grid or square like pattern in each block of fabric. For example, in an Aida pattern you might find 10 squares to match a ten-inch-square block. If you have a little more patience, you can actually trace your design with the fabric right onto the blocks before cutting them out. Some people like to do it this way because they can be erase the lines if they need to change their design later.
How It’s Done
To start quilting, you have to decide which pattern or design you would like to use. You then choose different colored fabrics depending on which block of the pattern you are using, and how much detail you want in your finished piece. Next, you cut out all of your fabric. Some patterns are easier than others to trace, depending on the design and the colors used. You should be able to see the grid in your pattern. If not, you can try tracing it by matching up the lines on a larger piece of paper.
Next you need something to cut out your squares on. You can use a cheap carpet knife with a sharp knife edge for this step. This is also known as “cutting from the corner.” Your best bet is to pick up a box cutter at Wal-Mart or Target . They are cheap, easy to use and easier to store than a carpet knife. If you are concerned about cuts, use gloves. Also make sure you cut out your pieces correctly; some patterns require certain cuts for the best results.
Once all of the pieces are cut out, it is time to start sewing them together. There’s an old saying that quilting isn’t like sewing with a needle and thread where you can take stitches out later if they’re not perfect. For this reason, you will want to make sure you are using a thread that matches the color of your fabric as closely as possible. You also want to make sure your stitches are even and strong enough to keep your quilt together. You can have a sewing machine help you by using a straight stitch foot, or you can use the darning foot and do it by hand if you prefer.
Once all of the pieces are sewn together, it’s time to start quilting! This is when the real fun begins. You can choose to do a simple quilt with straight stitches all around, or you can add some free-motion stitching for some artistic flair.
Basic Steps to Quilting
- Choose a pattern and cut your fabric pieces out. Pay close attention to the instructions on how to lay them out on the grid, or trace the design directly onto each square of fabric before cutting it out.
- Use a straight stitch foot on your sewing machine to stitch all of the squares together.
- Sew all of the blocks together. Cut out your batting and insert the batting into the quilt top and sew around the edges.
- Finish off your quilt by quilting it with straight or free-motion stitches. The grid of squares usually provides a perfect guide for your stitches, so you should be able to easily follow along without any problems.
- Use a mashing iron if you need to to press your quilt and make sure it is looking right before you fold it up and put it on the shelf or even better use a machine that can press steam on the iron rather than heat.
- Make sure you wash your quilt on a low temperature setting in cold water so you don’t lose any stitches.
- Enjoy your finished quilt! Maybe make a pillow for yourself or give it as a gift to someone special.
Quilting is an art. It doesn’t have to be tedious if you get the basics down immediately. So start with this list of the tools and supplies you need, and jump in!