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How to sew a quilt! (quilting 101)

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Quilting is my biggest passion. I think it's probably hereditary. :D

I also think it's a skill that is useful beyond words... quilts are beautiful and functional and I consider them to be the greatest gift in the world. (Really, who wouldn't want a quilt?) They're family heirlooms, passed down through the generations until they fall apart. They're an amazing way to use up scrap fabric, and a cheap first sewing project.

Not to mention I find sewing/cutting them very therapeutic... lots of straight lines with no pressure. :)

In this instructable I'm going to take you through creating a basic queen size 9-patch patchwork quilt. These are my favorites because they are not complicated and can be completed in far less time than other quilt types.

I'll teach you about the tools needed for quilting, how to cut squares, choosing fabrics, batting, making a quilt sandwich, how to choose and attach backing, and assembling the quilt top among other things. It's also important to note that you can easily complete one of these in a couple weeks - I started this one on March 7th, and finished it on April 3rd - but that included lots of documentation and only working in good sunlight. ;)

I do hope this instructable is helpful for you and inspires you to quilt. We need more quilts in the world! :D


 
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CementTruck7 months ago
I wear Hawaiian print shirts as a general rule and I have closets full of old shirts that frayed around the collars and are unusable as office shirts. My daughter just got married and bought a new house and I wanted to make her a housewarming present out of my old shirts. I thought either a few throw pillows or a quilt. Quilts look daunting, and although your ible is very easy to read I'm not sure I would have the patience to do the bias. The 9 squares seem easy enough though.

On a related note I had a grandmother who made quilts and used old army wool blankets that she picked up at surplus stores for the inserts instead of the batting. Those were the warmest and coziest blankets I ever owned.
jessyratfink (author)  CementTruck4 months ago
What an amazing idea using wool blankets!! Stealing it, haha! There are lots of surplus stores in the bay area so I'll have to go look around. :D
I left the Bay Area right around the time the "Internet" was making it on the scene. How I wished I had that resource to find all these surplus stores you speak of. I only knew of a couple of them.
I LOVE the wool blanket insert idea! Thank you : )
awatson2923 days ago
I can't thank you enough for posting your amazing guide. As a total newby to the world of quilting, I have just worked through it from beginning to end to complete my very first project - a denim quilt (a great first project for lack of colour matching required but denim is definitely a tough fabric for a beginners machine). Thanks for taking the time and effort to explain everything in such detail - your passion is definitely infectious and I've caught the bug!
Schlep27 days ago

Made this for my wife, as a late xmas gift... (she thought it was worth the wait). Has picture from all the major events of out life together. Thanks for posting this tutorial. Between this tutorial, and one other site, i was able to put this together. Thanks!

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tmitchell192 months ago
Wonderful tutorial. Will definitely be using your help to make my quilt. Not planning all the small squares. Will be buying bias maker. THANK YOU for you expertise !!!
sasmira3 months ago
Tout simplement Wow!
Amd9285163 months ago
So i know this is an older instructable, but I just found it and love it It is very simple to understand i have a basic sewing machine and there is no walking foot available for it, do you have any suggestions to make this any easier?
wizgirl3 months ago
Thank you!
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GScience3 months ago
the stitching of the squares together is kinda awry. last step first pic. But who am I to judge? Anyway great!
:-)
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Snap Dragon4 months ago
I'm making a denim quilt from old jeans and to make the most of my material I have a lot of different shapes ranging from 11", 8", 7" squares and even some rectangle ones. My question is if I "sew in the ditch" and follow the pattern will it be as durable as your 9" square pattern? I worry about the batting shifting easily in the 11" squares. Your advice is welcomed. BTW...I marveled at 'the awesomeness' of your quilt too.
jessyratfink (author)  Snap Dragon4 months ago
Ooooh, yay! I've been wanting to make a denim quilt to use as an outside blanket for a looooong time. :D

The batting will most likely shift a bit in those big squares - I'd recommend quilting diagonally or straight across through the larger squares a couple times. It'll look nice and help keep things in place!

You can use a ruler and a water or air soluble pen to mark the lines before sewing to make sure it all stays nice and pretty. :D
Also, I can't find anything but a 1" bias tape maker. Will that be wide enough?
jessyratfink (author)  ashleyhairston94 months ago
It will give you pretty skinny binding, but it's definitely doable. :D

I have a question about the bias tape. If you use the leftover backing, and see strips together, do the strips need to be the same length? Or does it matter?
jessyratfink (author)  ashleyhairston94 months ago
Nope! Length doesn't matter at all. As long as they're the same width, it will work perfectly. :D
Sew strips together **
erutledge18 months ago
excellent instructions...very clear. I feel like I can make a quilt with out a hands on class. Thank you.
nekokristiaan10 months ago
Here is my version! Thank you for your wonderful instructions.
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jessyratfink (author)  nekokristiaan10 months ago
Yaaaay! It looks great, I love the colors :D
n.tapp10 months ago
Hi, I am making my first quilt as per your amazing instructions... I'm just noticing that after cutting my squares some are fraying quite badly. Any advice?
jessyratfink (author)  n.tapp10 months ago
You can either:
  • cut the fabric into squares with pinking shears
  • use a bit of fray check
I prefer the pinking shears because it's less tedious, but since they're already cut that might be best! :D

You can also sew a straight stitch super close the end for those squares that are fraying really bad - I tend to do that with linen. :)
Papa_Wumbo1 year ago
Thanks so much! This was the perfect 101 course.
Thank you for this course, Jessy. It's wonderful! All one needs and nothing wasted. I think I'll give quilting a try, thanks to you. -- Leslie
cbranch1 year ago
I have never made a quilt, but my sister-in-law got me interested in the idea of trying. Thanks to your excellent tutorial, I feel like I can actually do it. I have watched and read tons of tutorials and yours, by far, is the absolute best. I love that it goes from start to finish and skips no steps in between.

Thank you in advance for teaching me how to quilt! I can't wait to get the remainder of my supplies and get started!
ToniRose1 year ago
It's been a while since I first saw this instructable, but I wanted to show you the quilt I just finished last month. Your instructions were so clear and easy to follow, I was inspired. Thanks!
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jessyratfink (author)  ToniRose1 year ago
Ahhhhhhhhh! So awesome. :D I love the colors!
~ Lotus1 year ago
Excellent tutorial!!
mrmtgh1 year ago
hi, thank you so much, I am Iranian and my English language is not very good but I understand instruction by watching picture, I think I can complete this project. tanks again dear friend
eyesee1 year ago
Seen in childhood
I am at the cutting squares I had scanned over your tutorial and really fancied making one for a gift, now I have got my squares I read through it again, Now I am thinking of ways to do one with the tools I have, and the lack of space, My plan was to make the front and then make it almost like a quilt cover with the back and front sewn together so I could feed in a thin quilt and quilt through that by hand thinking that I wound not need the binding, but I do not have large floor space I have a tiny ironing board that sits on a side board and a rather small table, I am worried now that I have cut the squares for nothing as I will not be able to build it, ?????? any suggestions or ideas or help would be awesome, I am just at a point where I cant get my head round it,.............
jessyratfink (author)  Pixie Puddle1 year ago
You can always assemble the top of the quilt, and attach it to the backing right sides facing and sew around all four edges, leaving a space to turn it right side out. That will give you clean edges! You could topstitch all around the sides which will make it look nice and close the opening.

That will make a really nice light blanket that you could easily quilt by hand.

Don't let your tiny space get you discouraged. I've never had much room to work or a nice sewing machine. Sometimes you just have to move furniture against the walls and power through. :D
MooCow1011 year ago
I love ur beds head board how do you make it
jessyratfink (author)  MooCow1011 year ago
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-book-headboard/

Taaaa-daaa! Pretty easy, would just need some plywood, some old books and lots of glue.
codyormoe1 year ago
I've never sewn anything before, just bought a sewing machine a month ago and I made a quilt thanks to this instructable. I'm a very visual learner and all the pictures here made it soooo easy. It came out amazing, I can't even believe how good it looks and that I made it.

I used a bunch of old sheets I've been saving because I knew one day I'd find a use for them and a flannel flat sheet for the back(I wanted super cozy).Now I have a beautiful quilt made from sheets that all my kids used to sleep on.

Thank you!!!!
jessyratfink (author)  codyormoe1 year ago
Ohhhhh yayay! I'm so happy it was helpful for you. :D

Old sheets are the best!
I am working on a memory quilt from this instructable. It's my first quilt. I've come up with enough squares to make 42 blocks, and I'd rather not add in squares from another fabric. What would be good dimensions for a quilt with up to 42 blocks? Could I make a twin size quilt? What would the dimensions be for a throw-sized quilt? Any recommendations?
jessyratfink (author)  rubyweapon85031 year ago
You could do a 5x8 or a 6x7 - both would be nice throw sized quilts. :D A 5x7 is almost the right size for a twin sized bed, but it would just be a topper - it wouldn't hang over the sides. :)

Something that I've done with smaller quilts like this is adding fabric borders - so adding a strip 8-10 inches wide and as long as the sides of the quilt on either two sides or all four sides. If you can find a nice complementary solid it looks lovely. So that might be something to consider!
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