Cooking is fun, messy, and can be very delicious. Gardening is quite rewarding because its fun to watch things grow. Sewing, however, is my main jam! I love making bags, gifts for others, clothes, and so much more. Sewing is definitely my most beloved hobby. However, I was never a fan of quilting. To me, quilting and sewing are two different hobbies. Are you team sewing or quilting?
I never loved making those strip pieced table runners, or small quilts. Too many rules to follow. Too many tiny pieces of fabric to cut. Cutting all of those small pieces to then sew them together again, is my absolute nightmare. But, something wild and crazy happened during this past Fall. A Halloween quilt came to life! I don't remember what planet I was visiting, but I decided to make a quilt. Spoiler alert, I made a Christmas one too. And, I loved every minute of it. It was so fun! Why did I change my mind? Well, I didn't follow a pattern. I did my own thing entirely and loved the process and final result.
If you're not a quilty fan, I beg you to try making a quilt following your own rules. Read along for some easy tips to create your first (or next) quilt. Am I a quilter now? I don't think so. But, I did enjoy making both of the holiday lap throws. As you read, you'll notice more of the Halloween quilt. I took more process photos of that one but, there are some Christmas ones too.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional quilter. I probably do some cringe-worthy things here but, this is how I made my two quilts. The best part? I didn't want to set them on fire in the process. Sewing is supposed to be fun and not stressful. And, after all, it's just fabric and we all own a seam ripper or two. Let's get quilting!
All The Fabric Pieces
A quilt is a fabric sandwich, more or less. You have a top, which is all the pretty pieces. The middle is the batting layer. The bottom or backing is the fabric on the back. It is usually a solid or printed piece. If you make a larger quilt, you'll need to have a seam or two running along the back.
*For reference, I'm going to use my lap sized quilts I made, which were roughly 4'x6'.
The Magical Layout
This, in my opinion, is the most important part. Yes, crooked seams want to be avoided along with wonky stitching but, the fabrics need to look pretty. So, this step is very important.
Most machines come with a quarter-inch sewing foot, have marks on the machine plate, and some might even have a quilting guide bar. Make use of one or all of these.
After the middle portion is completed and you're standing in shock and awe at the small sized quilt, you might want to make it bigger. I know I did! Ha! I still can't believe how much it shrinks after sewing all the pieces together.
If you'd like to make it bigger, you can sew a few extra strips to add to the sides, top, and bottom. In that order. My Halloween quilt shrank after I sewed the middle area together. I didn't realize how much a tiny 1/4" seam allowance would eat the fabric.
Sewing the Pieces Together
Batting (the middle layer)
Batting is the layer that gets sandwiched between the quilt top and the quilt backing. This is not the fluffy layer your grandma or great-grandma made your baby quilt with. This is a thin layer that has some weight to it. It's easy to sew through and adds heft to your quilt.
**You want to cut your batting piece a few inches bigger than your top and backing pieces because it can shift during quilting.
There are lots of different types of batting, including that fluffy layer Grammy made your baby quilt with. Use it if you'd like but, I wanted to share some other options.
Here's an in depth blog post all about battings. It has the pros and cons of the different types. You can make your own decision on what type you want to use.
Bonus tip, buy a larger size than you think you need. You can get a couple smaller quilts out of one package. And, use the large scraps for bag making.
Now that you're ready to add the last layer, you'll want to grab your spray adhesive. I prefer KK-100.
Now, there are different ways to go about this next step. Some people prefer to use safety pins to hold the layers together. I found that spraying each layer with KK-100 spray adhesive worked perfectly. It held the layers together and I was able to quilt over everything without any issues. I have a video of how I did this on my TikTok and Instagram reels. @Sewingtothemoon
I started by spraying the bottom layer while having the top layers rolled up. I'd spray about 6" down, across the whole top, and then roll the top layers down. I proceeded until I got to the bottom. Then, did it again for the top layer. Smoothing everything down as I went. It helps to watch the video to get a better idea. This whole process takes about 15 minutes or so.
You can use safety pins instead if you'd like. You just pin every so often through all the layers. I don't use this method, but a quick Google will show you how to use the pins.
Peanut Butter Quilting Time
I couldn't help it, I have the song peanut butter jelly time stuck in my head.
Do not use peanut butter for quilting! Haha. Could you imagine? Ack!
Now that your layers are securely together, it's time to actually quilt. There are so many different ways to go about this. Quilting is the top stitching that keeps all those layers together. And, after you wash it the quilt puffs up between the stitching creating a beautiful heirloom piece. It gives life to it.
I chose to free motion my quilts and it was such a fun experience! If you choose this route, make a small tester quilt first. A mug rug is a good starter size.
Here are some tips:
All in all my quilts aren't perfect. But, I enjoyed the process of making them and didn't stress too much. I whipped each one out in about 3-4 days. I spent one day cutting and laying out everything. One day sewing the top together. Another day spraying and quilting everything together. The last day was for finishing the free motion quilting and sewing the binding on.
Make a tester piece with some scraps before you attempt to free-motion quilt your quilt.
Binding the Edges
Last but definitely not least, it's binding time. It's the fun part! Yay! Your hard work is almost done. Soon, you'll be gifting your new handmade quilt or curling up, underneath it. The binding is pretty easy. And, unlike garment binding, it does not need to be cut on the bias. Woohoo!
And... holy moly, chips, and guacamole, you're done!
Can you believe how easy it can be to make a quilt? Are you excited to start one now? Do you dislike quilting as much as I used to? Share in the comments below! Also, if you have useful quilting tips to share, please do so.
Hi there, I'm Annette and I love eating and sewing. I usually have a cup of coffee or tea with me, but not next to my machine because I'd probably spill it. I am the reason we can't have nice things.
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