Today’s post comes courtesy of one of my most creative friends, the wonderful Kim. I got a sewing machine for Christmas and went to her looking for advice – and was absolutely blown away by the brilliant quilt she’d just made. Below are her tips for the first time quilt maker – do comment below if you’ve got any more insights before I start on my own epic journey!
For our Mum’s birthday, my brother and I decided to make her a quilt. Neither of us have ever made a quilt. But neither of us fulfilled her annual request of taking her to see Dirty Dancing….. before the run ended. A quilt was the only quick, affordable, thoughtful way to make this the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER.
We bought a rotary cutter and already had a cutting mat and a square ruler. Hours were spent cutting out our own shapes but that gave us more freedom when choosing a pattern. We went for a Capital T’s quilt block
. All the free online patterns we came across seemed straight forward – much less cryptic than dress patterns. I suppose the trick is to have patience, perseverance and to iron all your seams.
It was tempting to skip the most tedious and repetitive steps but as that was most of the quilt construction we turned the radio on and opened a bottle of wine. It’s ok if one of the blocks is sewn together incorrectly because it might turn out to be the best one. Careful of fingers!
When it came to putting the quilt sandwich together, I took it to work and laid it out on the floor in my lunch break – our London flat isn’t big enough. This was in the days before Christmas so everyone was too absent / drunk to care. I used masking tape, taping the edges to the floor and stretching the fabric out. I safety pinned each square through the three layers (patches, batting, backing) where I wouldn’t be sewing. I then rolled up the sides and started sewing from the middle. For quilting, I didn’t use a ‘walking foot’ on my machine as recommended everywhere online and found the material fed through fine. I’m not sure why – if you have any advice on this please comment.
I sewed along the edges of each square patch (called sewing ‘in the ditch’) and had a white floral pattern on the back so anywhere my white stitches went a bit wonky were camouflaged. Our quilt turned out to be the size of a single duvet – simply because if we had spent any more time on it we’d have been orphaned. I don’t know how my machine (Janome SMD 3000) would have handled anything bigger though – size tip for you there!
Ohhh, we’ve never been so proud as we were when finishing this quilt and would love to see other peoples (do it, do it, do it!..)