The easiest way to make your first quilt is not to get lost in the patchwork. Start out with a pre-cut quilt kit to make it even easier.
My Confession: I am not a quilter.
If you have followed me, or read any of my blog posts, you know that I am not a quilter. I have been sewing all my life and have concentrated on garment sewing. In the last several years, my focus has been on teaching sewing with simple projects. I am always looking for simple sewing to recommend to my students.
I made the Baby Bliss Receiving Blanket, but it had no batting so it truly was a blanket not a quilt. Other simple charity baby blankets I have made with batting did not have any binding.
I took a quilting class and never made a quilt.
I signed up (and took) a multi-week sewing class on Beginning Quilting. Although I had taught child sewing camps and had a Charity Day to make baby quilts, they were simple. I wanted to learn the real way to assemble the layers together and bind the edges properly.
The quilting class I took focused a lot of weeks on the quilt top (what I called the patchwork). Then when it came time to go over assembling the layers of backing and batting we were given a shopping list of all we needed. I bought some of the items and tried to make do with the notions I had at home for the rest. I bought fabrics, batting, a large hoop and needles and thread, etc. It was expensive and I never ended up putting it together because it was going to be so small and I would never use it.
The Itty Bitty Handmade Quilt was perfect for making my first "real" quilt.
Itty Bitty Handmade is a company that sells pre-cut quilt kits. Not only are the pieces of fabric pre-cut, but the kit includes everything you need to make your first quilt (without a lot of excess). It comes with clear instructions and photos for every step of the process. There are even videos to help explain some of the steps.
After my quilt class attempt at making a quilt, I now can attest that the Itty Bitty Handmade quilt kits are very reasonably priced. To buy each item needed separately would cost much more!
What I did (or wish I did) differently than the instructions:
Gluing the layers: It says to allow 8 hours for the glue to dry.
What I did: So I made the top one day. Glued it together overnight. Then I finished it later.
The quilt top pieces were cut perfectly to size. This only took a few minutes to sew these 3 seams together.
I had never used quilt glue. The kit came with plastic for the table and gloves for my hands. It said to use half the bottle for the quilt top to the batting and the other half for the backing. Each side was to be done in three sections. Well it was hard for me to tell how much of the glue I was using. I ended up with half a bottle left over. I could have used more as some of my layers were not glued and were puckering as I did the topstitching.
My tip for you: Divide the glue into 6 disposable bowls. Use 3 for each side.
Topstitching: The instructions said to score the stitching lines and roll the quilt up to fit in the machine.
What I did: I did as instructed for the first few rows then I just went freestyle. I later realized that rolling both sides keeps the underside centered as well.
My tip for you: Stick to the directions on the topstitching.
The binding: The instructions had you use a fusible webbing to help hold down the binding.
What I did: I sewed the edges of the bias strips and I adhered the fusible tape to the bias strips as instructed. I sewed the strips onto the front of the quilt as instructed. Then you were supposed to turn the bias strip over to the back of the quilt and iron it down.
I added a few steps: (I couldn't see just turning it over and pressing it.)
1) I pressed the bias strip away from the quilt to open up the seam. I used the same parchment paper provided so that the fusible tape would not stick the quilt to the ironing board.
2) I then turned the tape to the back side of the quilt. I used Wonder Clips to make sure there was a clean edge and that the bias strip did not show to the front.
3) With the clips in place, I pressed down the bias strip to fuse it to the back of the quilt.
My tip for you: If you think you can successfully turn the strip and press it down, then skip my added steps.
The label: When you order your quilt kit it comes with a personalized label. You can have it say "handmade with love by" any name you want. You also have the option to include "for" and add the baby's name.
What I did: Because my granddaughter's name was not yet chosen, I did not include a baby's name.
My tip for you: If you know the baby's name, I would order the label with it.
Get more ideas for baby on my Pinterest Board: Making Baby Things
Let me know if you have made any of the Itty Bitty Handmade quilts. Tell me about your first "real" quilt. Send me a picture or a link.
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