Quilting is fun!
Not just fun, it can be one of the most useful and comforting hobbies of all time. Whether you want to make quilts for yourself, your loved ones and friends, or if you are looking forward to turning your hobby into a successful business, anything is possible with quilting.
Quilting isn’t something that is hard to learn, but it does take some practice and skill to be good at it. Quilts are rather large projects, larger than any other hobbies that you can have; with quilting, you need time to get good at it.
However, if you know some of the tips and tricks of the trade, it will definitely make any type of quilting easier for you.
Over time, you can figure out some of these tips yourselves, with experience and time; but, learning about them beforehand will take you less time to better yourself at this and make fewer mistakes.
Here in this article, you can learn some of these tips to help make your quilts much, much better.
10 Quilting Tips and Hacks For Beginners
1. Use a rotary cutter instead of a scissor
Rotary Cutters look like pizza cutters, but they can effectively cut through any kind of fabric. While you are quilting, they are much better and more successful in cutting fabric that scissors. With scissors, cutting your fabrics require holding them up in your hands, which can very well result in a crooked line.
If you are using a rotary cutter, on the other hand, you can place the fabric on a cutting mat and run your cutter through it. You can also hold a ruler in another hand while you are using your rotary cutter, making your calculations while you cut.
This is especially helpful if you are cutting your pieces based on another piece; this is something that will be difficult using a pair of scissors. While you might still need a pair of scissors to cut through thread and bobbins, using a rotary cutter for your fabrics is more reasonable.
2. Cut the bigger pieces first
Instead of cutting your fabric into small pieces, it is better if you cut them first into bigger pieces, then cut them into the smaller pieces. This way, cutting is easier and there won’t be much room for miscalculations.
Cut bigger pieces that you can cut down into at least four little pieces so that if needed, you can also cut them down into other shapes: rectangles or triangles.
If you decide to change the design of your quilt, you have the opportunity to do so with the bigger pieces. Keeping the bigger pieces apart for later use is also easy; you can do the final cutting later right before you need them.
Besides, if this is a new hobby, it makes it easier if your quilt has bigger pieces. It makes the work easier and your project will finish sooner. Also, a mixture of bigger and smaller pieces can make the design of your quilt more unique.
3. Never miss your backstitches
Your quilt fabric pieces need a back-stitch first before you can stitch them to each other. Back-stitches are absolutely necessary whether you are stitching your pieces together, sewing all your blocks together, or directly quilting the whole thing.
If you don’t apply back-stitch to each and every one of your fabric pieces, at all four sides, there is a good chance your fabric will start unraveling, especially when you’re trying to stitch the pieces together in a quilt.
The perfect way to go about this is to cut your fabric into big pieces, then take each one and divide them into two or four pieces (depending on the design), and back-stitch each of them before moving on to the next fabric.
4. Never hurry on a project
Quilts are not something you should hurry with. Quilts, even the smaller projects, need a lot of time to finish, both for beginners and for the more experienced quilters.
Every quilt needs more than a few weeks to finish, sometimes, months. This is a hobby that needs both time and patience to complete; this is not something to hurry with.
There are a number of stages that you need to go through to perfectly complete a quilt, and all of these stages need to be dealt with slowly and with patience. While working on a quilt, therefore, you should keep as much time as possible between the starting date and the deadline.
5. Always choose high contrast designs and colors
When you are designing a quilt or choosing the fabrics for one, it is always preferable that you get fabrics that are very much in contrast with each other.
For every one dark-pattered fabric, you need another fabric that has a lighter pattern. This will make the overall design much more attractive to look at than if you use all dark-patterned fabrics or all light-patterned ones.
The contrast between the two types of fabrics will, of course, depend on your design and preference, but this is how most quilts go: a lighter pattern next to a darker pattern, and so on.
6. Always wash your fabric beforehand
This is especially important in cases of dark-hued fabrics like red, green and magenta. These are the fabric colors that can start running after the first wash, which can ruin your whole quilt.
If you are placing some of these dark-hued fabrics beside a lighter-toned one, the colors can bleed and spread to the rest of the quilt, something that is almost impossible to rectify after completing the quilt.
It is, therefore, a very good idea to give all your fabric a wash before you make them into a quilt. Actually, the right idea would be to give them a thorough wash even before you’ve cut them up into smaller pieces, because some fabric can also shrink with the first wash.
So, when you are done choosing your fabrics for the project at hand, give them all a thorough wash before working with them.
7. Don’t forget to use fabric glue
A little bit of fabric glue can very well be a lifesaver at times. If you use this glue to hold your pieces together, you can sew through them more easily without any shifts in the fabric.
This is especially helpful if you are creating a design by placing fabrics over one another, or while appliqueing. You can keep your fabrics pasted together as long as you want and sew them together according to any design you want.
Fabric glue is washable; after you have finished your quilt, the first wash will also wash away any sign of fabric glue from your quilt.
8. Choose the right fabric and thread
When it comes to fabric, the simpler the better. Cotton happens to be the best fabric to work with, as well as voile and linen. These kinds of fabric will not stretch later and can withstand multiple washes.
If you choose expensive and thin materials for your quilt, you won’t be able to sew the pieces together properly without damaging the fine fabric. Besides, with the more expensive fabrics, you can’t wash your quilt even once at home without damaging it.
The kind of threads you need for quilting also happens to be made from cotton. Cotton threads are trustworthy and steady, and will not break away easily when you are sewing. However, cotton threads, especially the dark-hued ones, can bleed sometimes. Therefore, it will be a good idea to give them a thorough wash before sewing.
9. Always buy more fabric than needed
You need to always buy a little more fabric than you need in your quilt. This practice can save you a whole lot of headache later because there is no guarantee that you will find the same pattern again when you have to go back to the store for more.
If you need 4” fabric pieces for each square, make sure you have enough fabric to cut out at least 4½” ones for the whole quilt. Or, if you want to see this a little differently, you need to buy enough extra fabric so that you have at least 3 to 4 extra squares remaining at hand.
This is because you never know when you might end up needing an extra piece. You can lose a square piece, or end up cutting it wrong, and need to replace it.
You might have to head over to the store or make another order online for a single piece, when you could have saved a lot of unnecessary trouble simply by buying a little extra. If you want, you can use these extra pieces of fabric to create an applique design on your quilt at the end.
10. If possible, use a quilting machine
You can use a regular sewing machine for making quilts, or you can even do the whole thing with your hands, but that is going to take you a much longer time. The best way to work on a quilt is by using a sewing machine for quilting, or a quilting machine.
There are a number of quilting machines available in the market, and you can find one in any budget that has all the necessary features needed for quilting.
Of some of the most important features of a quilting machine, one is a rather large work-space. Although it may not seem a lot, but a long work-space can be quite convenient for quilts.
With regular sewing machines, the work-space is tiny, but a quilting machine can have as big as a 12”x12” worktable. Besides, these machines come with specific stitches – both basic and decorative ones – that make quilting easy.
With the right foot and the right stitches chosen, you can work on your quilts much faster than with any other kind of machines or by hand.
If you are new to quilting, it is almost impossible that you won’t make mistakes! The first quilts that you make can rarely be your best work, or even something you would be proud to show off.
However, these 10 tips and tricks can help you to avoid making some of the most common mistakes in quilting, and make this new craft something more enjoyable.
Quilting is one of the most popular hobbies of all time for a very good reason: they are fun to do, as well as productive. Now, with these tips described in this article, it will be much more easier for you as well.