The process of making a quilt involves several basic tasks: measuring, cutting, marking and stitching. Each step has special tools and or techniques that can save time and make the project you choose easier to complete.
The first step is to select a quilt design or pattern, and your fabric. If you are a beginner, choose a simple design to begin with. Try to envision you finished quilt. What color do you want it to be? Do you want to incorporate different prints with solids? Prints may range from plaids to florals and even stripes. Solid fabrics come in just about every color imaginable. Cotton fabric is generally the easiest fabric to work with. Do not be afraid to experiment. All fabrics should be pre-washed in mild detergent and warm water, dried and pressed.
Step two involves measuring and cutting. If you buy quality-cutting tools, use them only for sewing. This will keep them sharp and make your cuts precise while saving time too. Rotary cutters are available in different sizes. They allow you to cut smooth edges on multiple layers of fabric quickly and easily. Small cutters work well on curves: larger cutters are great for long straight lines and many layers of fabric. Cutting mats should be used with rotary cutters. A good clear ruler is also a valuable tool. Sewing scissors and shears are also necessary. Accuracy is important in quilting. Taking the time to cut accurately will ensure your quilt pieces fit together perfectly.
Marking tools should be tested before you use them. You want the marks to come out easily without damaging the material. Special quilter’s pencils are available with white or gray lead, and an eraser on the end. Other types include soapstone, which is made of pressed talc, and water-soluble, which is great for darker fabrics. Marks from both types may be removed with a damp cloth.
Step three involves stitching. Every quilt project should be layered and basted before the actual quilting is involved. Quilting pins should be used to hold pieces together. If you are hand basting there are special needles, with small round eyes, that are favored by quilter’s. Use a single strand of white cotton thread to baste. You may however, prefer to use curved, rustproof safety pins to make the basting process quicker and easier.
Pressing at each stage of the construction is also important. Use the tip of the iron and move in the direction of the grainlines. The general rule of quilting is to press each stitched seam before crossing it with another.
Quilting is the fourth step. Quilting holds the quilt top, batting, and backing together. It also adds texture and enhances the design. You may quilt by hand or by machine. Hand quilting is the traditional method; machine quilting takes less time and is more durable.
Binding is the final step in creating a quilt. Binding fabrics may either match or complement the other fabrics in the quilt. Binding also helps to square up your finished quilt.