20 April 2013

Tips for quilting...

Thank you so much for all your kind comments about my film on quilt making. 
I have made a few quilts now and have learnt a few things although lots of these aren't specific to quilting! 

1. Keep an open mind. Unless you are a professional or have a lot of money, or maybe even both, your quilt will not look like that one on pinterest. It just won't. Go into quilt making having an idea of what you want to create but be prepared to put those to one side. 

It's like clothes shopping. You can guarantee if you are specifically looking for a blue skirt you just won't find one (or is that just me)! A case in point, I was set and totally sold on having a black and white striped binding on this quilt. I went to my local fabric shop and they didn't have any striped fabric. I instead chose this red gingham and really like how it turned out. 

2. Trust your instincts. My preference for colours may be totally different to yours but if I am making a quilt for myself I will trust what I feel is instinctively right. I guess it is the same with scrapbooking and being creative. If those colours and patterns work in your head then they will most probably work on paper or on fabric. It is better to go with colours that make you happy than choose fabric etc that you think is good because you have seen someone else use it. 

3. Cut precisely. The worst thing when you are sewing your pieces together is to have to battle with wonky cutting. I am literally the worst at this and it has taken four or so quilts for me to work out that it is money well spent to invest in a cutting board, ruler and rotary cutter and take time over it! 

4. Keep it simple. I used a different process for making this quilt. It's called quilt-as-you-go and I used this tutorial. Because I was using a new technique it made sense to go with what i know. To stick with simple rectangles. Simple is always good in the beginning. 

5. Use an iron. My least favourite part of making a quilt is pressing all those seams! Such a dull task. But, it really does pay off in the finished look of the quilt. If in doubt press it out. And use steam! 

6. Use the chain sewing method for piecing. This is hard to describe but it very simple and speeds up making a quilt. Rather than sew your pieces separately, pin a stack and feed them through the machine one after the other like you are making bunting. This is a better description but it is worth looking into if you are thinking of quilting. 

7. Do it a bit at a time. I guess this comes back to keeping an open mind but unless you are really determined a quilt won't be finished that quickly and if I am honest, the piecing together stage does get a bit dull. Take breaks, set small goals, change things up and do the quilt in small sections. It makes it far less of a daunting task. 

8. Label. When you have all the pieces of your quilt cut and laid out on the floor the worst thing is when the cat walks in and muddles them up. Not that that has happened to me. Label folks! I pin sticky notes to my quilt pieces saying silly things like "I am on the top row second from the left". It helps me anyhow. It also means I can pack the quilt away and know that the pieces will be  in the same place. I also take a lot of "in process" photos which also help. 

9. Supplies. This is totally a personal preference but I use low loft (thin) batting rather than the puffy stuff. I find it goes through my machine better. I also stock up on more cotton thread than I think I will need. The worst thing is to finish a reel and realise you have to go out and buy some more. 

10. Be prepared to make sacrifices. This comes with the territory of crafting but sometimes things have to be let go. For example I always get flustered if my backing fabric bunches a bit at the edges. In hindsight, this really doesn't matter, the quilt is just for me and I will probably never notice that when it is on my bed. Another example, when I bought my fabric I chose a nice coral polka dot as well. When I had cut my pieces I knew it just didn't look right so I had to lay it to one side. Annoying yes, but I think the quilt looks better off without it. 

Phew! That's a lot of stuff but each time I make a new quilt I learn new things, new techniques and come across new problems. My quilt is a long way from perfect but it is right for me. 

Have you ever made a quilt? What are your top tips for quilting or for crafting in general? 


Maria Ontiveros said...

I love quilts, but hate sewing! So, I have to rely on the kindness of strangers (or relatives or friends).

JO SOWERBY said...

I am still at the newbie stage of quilting but now I have my lil craft room coming together there may just be quilt coming,
Jo xxx

Anonymous said...

I started out taking a quilting class and got about 12 squares done and got stuck. That was a few years ago and the squares are still sitting there. I know they were trying to teach different things but I think simple would have been better at least for beginners.