Thank you guys so much for all the excitement and encouragement regarding Wednesday’s introduction post! I want to make sure I’m helping y’all out, and I know if I feel overwhelmed with all the information I could share in these steps and tutorials, I cannot imagine trying to figure it out from scratch.
I’ve broken down the quilt creation process into eight steps. Some of these steps are more planning and prepping steps, and others require skills that we will work on together! I will outline the 8 steps below — each of these steps will be broken down into probably a few posts per step!In today’s tutorial, I’ve really tried to not use any fancy-schmancy quilting tools I happen to have. I want to show you that you can create and quilt using the most basic of supplies! As you continue, and as we continue together, I will share my favorites as we go! I love trying new products in this genre, so there are definitely things I wished I hadn’t purchased and things I’d purchase again in a heartbeat! I’m hoping that by focusing on supplies that accompany each step, it’ll be less overwhelming! (For you and me.)
1|| Picking. Planning. Designing
There are various ways to go about picking fabrics and planning for a quilt. Do you want to use a pattern? Do you want to design as you go? Monochromatic? Solids? Prints? There are so many options it is easy to become overwhelmed! I often think of new designs or ideas as I’m working on a quilt, so mentally I’ve shifted to the next project already. I try hard to focus on the design and project at hand, but you will quickly see — as I hope you get totally hooked! — that one idea usually leads to another, and it’s so fun trying new patterns and techniques in quilting!
2|| Preparing and cutting.
Just as everything else in quilting, there are a million opinions and thoughts regarding the “correct” way to prep and cut your fabric. Do we pre-wash? Do we starch?
Piecing is the most meticulous step in quilting. It is made easier by proper planning and prepping! This step will take up multiple posts, and I’m so excited to share some patterns I’ve been creating with all of you! We will also talk about the quilt back and fun ways to make even the wrong side of your quilt more interesting and fun!
4|| Quilt Sandwich
You’ve probably heard me say this term before or heard it elsewhere. The quilt sandwich refers to your quilt top and quilt back “sandwiching” the batting between. Do you spray baste? Pin baste? What batting do you buy? So many things to talk about!
5|| Quilting your quilt!
Wahoo! Today we will take our first little dip into this step. Yup, we are starting with step 5! I’ll explain more about why I chose to start here in a minute.
Making sure your quilt is the shape you want it to be is key! Wonky edges and crooked corners will lead to a quilt that doesn’t lay flat or look quite right.
Binding might be one of my favorite steps in quilting. Okay. I have a lot of favorite steps in quilting — but there is just something so fulfilling about cleaning up those raw edges and putting that finishing touch on a quilt! I have a lot of fun tips I’ve learned along the way that I’ll share with you all. Next week, we will be binding our coasters using bias tape!
8|| Clean up and washing
Another favorite step of mine is throwing that quilt into the wash. To me, a crinkly quilt is one of the best things ever! Hopefully by now you’ll see what a quilt-loving-dork I am!
So why did I decide to jump to step five today? When I made that first little robot pillow with my walking foot, it was the quilting process that got me hooked! Something about the way quilting is like painting or drawing, but using fabric and thread, had me at hello. I’m really hoping it’ll be the same for y’all!
The other reason I choose to start here — and with this quick tutorial — is that it’s the most forgiving. One day soon, I’ll get out my macro lens and just document all the mistakes on my quilts! Mistakes will happen — they just will! And you will drive yourself mad trying to fix every single one. With these coasters, it’s the perfect project to dust your machine off and give it a whirl! We will go back to piecing a quilt after we’ve mastered sewing a straight line again. :)
Even with this step, I am just scratching the surface — we will be back to cover more, for sure!
Let’s quit with the rambling, Kacia.
|| SUPPLIES ||
- sewing machine
- 5″ squares of quilting cotton — I used a Kona Solids Charm Pack
- polyester batting or fleece cut into 5″ squares
- walking foot*
- sewing supplies — scissor, seam ripper
- marking tools — fabric pen/marker, painters tape
*the walking foot is optional, but you will definitely notice a difference if you use one!
1|| Make a mini quilt sandwich using two of your squares and a square of fleece or batting. You can leave this sandwich as it is, pop a few pins in place or even use a gluestick in a few spots to lightly stick the sandwich together.
2|| Now it’s time for the fun part!! Thread your sewing machine with your thread color of choice and test out your stitch tension. I love this diagram if you are struggling to get it just right. I sound like a broken record, but there are differing opinions regarding the best stitch length for quilting as well! Between 2.75 and 3 is my sweet spot, but you will find your own as you get going!
Quilting Lines or a Grid — marking with a fabric pen.
When marking with a fabric pen, always be sure to test the removal of the ink from your fabric. Even though these little coasters won’t shift or require managing a bulky quilt on your machine, they are a still a great way to form good habits.
- Start from the center out, when possible. Even if you don’t want a center seam, find a place to start that balances out the weight of your project. As you work on larger projects, you will be happy you’ve developed this habit.
- Even if you want to end up closely quilted lines, start by sewing them at least 1 inch a part. Continually “half” each of these sections until you achieve the distance you desire.
- Walk. It’s called a walking foot for a reason. :) You will achieve much more consistency if you allow yourself to be a little bit patient.
- Measure if you want precise lines!
- Figure out the measurements of your walking foot in relation to your needle — I’ll talk about this more in the next week or so!
- Always check your tension before beginning on your project.
Quilting Lines or a Grid — marking with painter tape.
When I heard that people used painter tape to mark lines on a quilt, I thought it seemed tedious and silly. Well, that was before I tried it.
I buy the cheapest rolls of it at Home Depot or Lowe’s in varying widths. I find that I am able to sew an incredibly straight line when the tape is there to guide me. You can also use the thickness of your tape to dictate the distance between your quilting lines.
Echoing and repeating a curve or line.
Using a fabric pen, draw a subtle curve or shape on your fabric. Sew on that line and then continue tracing that line or shape. Use the edge of your walking foot to create a consistent distance. Have fun! Change up the echoing as you go: connecting some lines and changing direction with others!
Lightly mark a straight line down the middle of your coaster. Instead of sewing directly on this line, curve gently to each side of it. Repeat moving out to each side of your coaster.
Have fun with straight lines!
Just have fun! We will talk about burying your threads down the road, so try to start and end on a side as much as possible!
We’ll do the binding next week! And I’ll show you a few variations as well!