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Topic: Quilting Advice for Beginners  (Read 80680 times)
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« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2004 08:34:15 AM »

Actually, when I do a border I don't miter the corners, and most of the quilts I've seen do not.   Do your long sides just the length of the quilt, and then do your short sides so that they go the width of the quilt plus whatever your border width is.

If your quilt is 42 inches on all sides, then make your first 2 sides 42 inches long.  Say your border is 6 inches wide.  After applying your border to the sides, then you will make your second set of borders (for the remaining 2 sides) 54 inches long to encompass the borders already in place.  

Also, do measure your quilt top and make the borders the proper length rather than just applying the border and trimming off the excess (which seems like a good idea but is not).  Usually your quilt will vary a little in size and so you want to make the border the same size.  So if you measure one side and it is 42 inches and the other is 42.5, make your border 42 inches long for both sides and ease in that extra 1/2 inch on the longer side so that your quilt sides will be straight.

To ease, once you have cut your border, take 3 straight pins.  Lay your border onto the quilt and match the sides exactly.  Put one pin at each end.  Then put one pin in the center.  Then put more pins between the center pin and the outside pins.  Make sure it is pinned well before you sew.

You would not be able to ease any more than a half inch or maybe 3/4 without there being a noticeable bubble or tuck.  

If you are making more than one border (a wonderful idea) do your first border completely, then start with the second one.  

If you're talking about the binding, rather than the border, those corners are mitered.  It would be impossible to explain online, but Fons & Porter's Perfect Binding Card, available at Hobby Lobby, Joann, Hancock, and any quilt store explains it very well and with pictures.  It's a crazy technique but it works and working on my 5th quilt I still follow the instructions step by step on the card.  It's a laminated card and costs about $5-8.  It is well worth the money.

Good luck, keep those questions coming!
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« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2004 10:19:05 AM »

 Cheesy I started my first quilt through a quilt group at Hancock Fabrics. for a very small fee $20.00 (I payed 10 bucks because I came in one month late) You get everything you need to make 12 different quilt blocks, and one day a month you show up with your finished block and they show you the best way to finish the next one. I think its a great place to start if you like some sort of pattern. I know there are those of you out here who prefer to wing it and I applaud you! Im a big chicken tho and wanted to start out learning something more structured. Maybe after this sampler quilt is finished, I will be more daring and try something totally unstructured...maybe not...LOL

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« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2004 02:21:15 PM »

i've recently finished 2 baby sized quilt fronts and have been terrified of quilting the whole thing with batting and all. thanks knittykat...your post really made it seem less scary..i think i'm going to actually try tackling my two quilts this weekend!!


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« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2004 07:27:56 AM »

anyone have tips for actual quilting by machine? I can't seem to wrap my mind around the fact that my quilt is huge and my sewing machine doesn't seem to have room to accomodate the fabric once I get somewhere near the middle. Do people quilt as they go, then piece the parts together? Is there a special sewing machine that works around the size of a quilt? Or is that why it would be best to hand quilt the top?

Thus far, I've only pieced together crazy strip blocks and haven't used batting, so I have no issues with keeping the sandwich glued, so to speak...

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« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2004 06:19:26 AM »

I'd love some advice about machine quilting also.  I am in the process of making a quilt for my queen size bed and am intimidated by the size of it.  I have made a bunch of lap size quilts, and made a bigger one when I was in high school, but I tied it.  I'd really like to try machine quilting this one but am just not sure how to go about it.  Can you machine quilt on a normal sewing machine?Huh
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2004 06:17:40 AM »

OK, I made a lap size quilt for my niece last night with the scraps of another quilt so that I could try out machine quilting.  I don't have a "walking foot," and I know, I know everything I read mentioned this walking foot, but I figured it didn't really matter.  Bad idea!!  It ended up getting all scrounched up!  I thought maybe I could kinda stretch the seams out a little, but that didn't seem to work.  I am not sure if I am going to just leave it, or pull out the stitches and redo it.  After this happened, I looked online and it said that if you do not have a walking foot to stop the machine with the needle in the fabric every 10 stitches or so to release the tension.  I am glad that I praticed before trying it on the big quilt!
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« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2004 05:01:00 AM »

Knittykat, will you marry me? (lol)

I joined a yahoo group called the fabric arts zine. It's been an interesting resource. My first quilting project is something I'm working on. I have a crappy photo of it. I'm trying to simulate a Japanese ink painting of a tree on a rocky ledge. I bought an Andover print with characters on it ("Eastern Breeze" by Andover).

Now, how do I post it?

Now get craftin'!
« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2004 03:46:27 PM »


This is the pattern of the quilt I'm currently making for my boyfriend.  I've never done it and decided that since i had a boatload of fabric I should do this.  This method was kinda scary at first so i got a bunch of colored papers and cut them all to about the right size and then stapled them where they should be sewn and then it clicked and was so easy!  I'm currently at the stage where I have about 100 6.5x 6.5 blocks that will be all sewn together to make 25 12"x12" blocks.  from there I'll figure it out.  The advice on here helped a lot!

« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2004 11:13:27 AM »

I see a lot of people saying they would like to quilt but are not sure how to do it.  I'll leave it to you to figure out the top, but here are some basic instructions for making your quilt.

A quilt is like a sandwich, it has a layer of backing fabric, a layer of batting, and a layer of top fabric, your 'quilt top' if you will.  Once you have your fabric and your backing fabric, you need batting.  If you can, purchase good batting from a quilt shop.  Polyester is fine, but that Mountain Mist stuff you can buy at Wal-Mart is not the best stuff.  It is difficult to work with.  Usually a good twin size batting from a quilt shop will cost about $12 so it is not a lot more money, but a lot better quality.

Spread your backing fabric out on a card table or dining room table.  Be aware that when you are pinning you may prick the top of the table a bit, so put something on the table if it is your heirloom dining room table!  Put the batting over it.  Then put your quilt top on top.  The batting and backing fabric should extend at least 3 inches or so from the edge of your quilt.  As you quilt the fabric may scrunch in, and you don't want to 'lose' the edge of your backing or your batting.

Pull it pretty taut using those huge 'bulldog' clips from the office supply store (clip them right on the edge of the table) or a couple of friends can hold it down.  Pin through all three layers with safety pins.  Do not skimp on the safety pins!

Once your entire quilt is pinned, then you have a couple of options for quilting on your sewing machine.  One is to use a 'walking foot' which holds all three layers together while you sew to minimize scrunchage.  You can sew in any configuration of straight lines with your walking foot.  Up and down, diagonal, big x's, whatever you like.  This is the 'basic' quilting form.

Another option is a 'darning' or 'free motion' foot.  This is a little sewing machine foot that is straight up and down with a little hole in it.  Drop the feed dogs on the machine when using a darning foot.  You will move the fabric along.  This is my favorite form of quilting.  You just make squiggly lines.  You can squiggle close, you can squiggle far away.  You can squiggle in lines or just in a random pattern.  You can write your name or make big swirls or whatever.  It is incredibly relaxing and fun like finger painting.  

When quilting your quilt (it doesn't matter as much for just sewing together the pieces) it is best to use actual quilting thread.  It costs a touch more but it is worth it.  It is stronger and made of better materials.  Most traditional quilters use a quilting thread that matches their quilt, but you don't have to do that. Quilt a dark quilt with white thread or vice versa for an interesting effect.  There are also metallic threads which are fun to use and add a subtle sparkle to your quilt.  One thing you may want to do is use a colored thread for your top thread and use a thread that matches the backing for your bobbin thread.  Then the stitches will disappear on the bottom, but stand out on the top.  

For putting the binding on the quilt, pick up a Fons & Porters Perfect Binding Card.  This little card has all the information you will need to bind your quilt and finish it off.

Hopefully this helps.  It is not really hard to quilt but there are so many different 'schools of thought' and instructions out there, it is difficult to sort through.  These are very basic instructions that should be able to help any beginner.


Being new at quilting... so new that I haven't gathered the courage to even TRY it yet, your post was very, very informative!! Now I think I can grab some old stuff lying around here and just have at it.. if I mess up, I can always start over again, right? Thanks so much for your help!!! Grin
« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2004 07:38:34 PM »

I had an old sleeping bag with a tear and I couldn;t give it up so i began patching it and then got crazy and covered the whole thing.  That got me over my fear.  Now that i have a sort of pattern to work with its really not so bad.  And I'm doing it all by hand.  I do it while i watch TV 2 nights a week.  Dont be afraid, just do it!

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