Picture of how to sew a quilt! (quilting 101)
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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Step 1: Basic Quilting Definitions

Picture of Basic Quilting Definitions
Like most skills, quilting comes with its own lingo. I thought I'd add this here and give my own definitions of many of the words I'll be using in the instructable.

Backing: the bottom part of the quilt, typically made of one solid piece of fabric. Most times this fabric is white - I like to use sheets for this!

Batting: the cushy middle of a quilt - can be made from cotton, polyester or wool. Typically bought according to the size of the quilt you're making - found in rolls.

Bias-tape: strips of fabric used to bind the edges of a quilt.

Binding: the edging of a quilt - it encases the raw edges.

Blocks: a piece of fabric made from sewing 9 squares together.

Piecing: sewing together pieces of fabric to form the top layer of the quilt, typically done in blocks.

Quilt sandwich: what I call the three layers - top, batting, backing.

Quilt top: pieced fabric, typically put together in blocks. 

Quilting: sewing through multiple layers of fabric to create one thick layer - typically involves three parts: cloth top, batting middle, cloth bottom.

Seam allowance: the standard seam allowance for quilting is 1/4 inch.

Square: smaller pieces of fabric that are sewn together to make a larger, square piece of fabric. In this case, we will be sewing together 9 small blocks to make one large square. A quilt top is made up of these blocks sewn together.

Step 2: Quilting tools.

Picture of Quilting tools.

These are some of the things you'll need:

  • rotary cutter and mat + sharp scissors
  • clear rulers (preferably 5x18 inches and a 4x4 inch one.)
  • bias tape maker or ready-made bias tape
  • clear nylon thread
  • white cotton thread (or a polyester/cotton mix)
  • 100% cotton fabric
  • long pins
  • an iron + ironing board
  • batting
  • seam ripper
  • something to use as a thread trash bin (I like mason jars)
  • walking foot for the machine (more explanation in step 22)

Step 3: A good setup.

Picture of A good setup.

In order to do all of this comfortably, it's best to have a biiiiiiig table. If you don't have one of those, you can pull out the ironing board and use it as a surface, use extra chairs, etc.

I like to be able to see all of my pre-cut squares when I'm working because I don't choose layouts before I start sewing, I just make it up as I go along. It's also important that you can lay your unsewn block layout next to the sewing machine, it'll keep you from getting confused.

At this point, it's also a good idea to make yourself a little trashcan - I use old mason jars for thread clippings. I keep it on the opposite side of my machine and drop them in whenever I cut something off. I also try to keep a test square of fabric (in case the tension on the machine goes funny), a seam ripper, and a good pair of scissors as close as possible. It'll make your life easier.

Step 4: Anatomy of a 9 square quilt.

The most typical 9 square quilt is queen size. This means that it is 6 blocks wide and 8 blocks long.

Each block is made up of nine squares of contrasting fabric - these squares are cut at 4x4inches. (So they will be 3.5x3.5 when sewn - meaning that the block made out of them will be 10.5 inches square.)

You can create many different designs using the 9 square method - it depends on colors and placement. You can make a scrap quilt that includes all kinds of fabric - these are my personal favorite. You can also use 2 colors throughout an entire quilt. Or you can stray away from patterned blocks altogether and create 8-bit characters, landscapes, and words.

Above are some examples of different quilt blocks.

Step 5: Fabric - what to buy, how to choose.

Picture of Fabric - what to buy, how to choose.

For the purposes of this quilt, the best fabric you can choose will be 100% cotton. Most craft, fabric and hobby stores have a section simply labeled "quilting cottons". If you're wanting to do a scrap quilt, I recommend digging through remnant bins and hunting around your house for clothes to deconstruct and cut into squares. I did very little shopping for this quilt - the fabrics are a mixture of my grandmother's and mine. :)

If you're wanting to use two colors or do something more spectacular, you'll need to do a little math to figure out how much fabric to buy... here are some figures to get you started!

Number of blocks and squares in a queen size quilt:

Blocks: 48 (10.5 in square sewn size)
Squares: 432 (3.5 in square sewn size)

If you're doing 2 colors, you'll need 216 of each color in the quilt.

Number of squares you can get out of ONE YARD of fabric (this is assuming you've trimmed off the selvedge ends and are left with fabric 40 inches wide):
90 squares (since your fabric will be 36x40 inches)

I figure you guys should be able to figure the rest out based on those - but if you need any additional help, don't be afraid to ask! :D

Oh! And here's an amazing chart from All People Quilt to help you figure out pretty much any size quilt you'll ever need to make.

Step 6: Choosing batting.

Picture of Choosing batting.

Batting is very important in a quilt - the type you choose will alter the look, feel and warmth of your quilt.

There are three major types of batting:

  • cotton (bamboo also falls into this category)
  • polyester
  • wool

Cotton is my personal favorite - it lays flatter, sews easier and is really breathable. It washes well and makes for a very long lasting and low maintenance quilt.

Polyester is heavier and therefore warmer - but it has a tendency to bunch and also push its way through the quilt top over time. (it's better to use it on light colored quilts - on darker ones, you'll see little white fibers poking through!) It is cheaper than cotton in many cases.

Wool is very heavy and absorbs moisture. This is best for a quilt you'll use primarily in winter or while camping - wool can be kinda fussy when it comes to washing though... so read the package and be careful! Shrinkage is agonizing after all that work!

Batting comes in rolls in many sizes - from crib to king! It is very easy to get a size to suit your needs. :)

Step 7: Choosing your backing fabric.

Picture of Choosing your backing fabric.

This is simple enough - buy a flat sheet of the same size! I really don't do anything else. :)

The best places to look are thrift stores or clearance racks in stores like Target. You don't want to spend more than $15 on it.

The color is also up to you - I almost always use white backing because it's traditional, but if you want the backing to match the quilt, go for it!

Step 8: Cutting your squares.

Picture of Cutting your squares.

VERY IMPORTANT: If your fabric is really wrinkly, you'll want to iron it before hand for more exact cutting. Don't worry about pre-washing it - I've never done it and all my quilts have turned out just fine.

By rotary cutter:

I use a rotary cutter, a cutting mat, a clear 5x18in ruler and a clear 4x4in ruler for this. It's much quicker and easier on your hands when you're cutting a ton of fabric. Plus, if you have a new blade, you can easily cut through 4 layers of fabric at once. :)

The easiest way to do this is to cut a strip of fabric four inches long and then cut that into four inch squares. Only worry about straightening the left edge of the fabric - the uneven tops and bottoms of the fabric can be trimmed off when you cut the strip into squares.

By scissors:

If you don't have a rotary cutter, I find the easiest way to cut the squares is to draw a grid on the back of the fabric. Do the four inch strips, and then divide them into 4 inch squares. Then you can cut the fabric into pieces. You can use pinking shears if you like, but I tend to use regular dressmaker's shears because it goes quicker.


I typically cut a piece of fabric into squares and then count and stack those squares and move on to the next piece of fabric. I find that it's easier to cut everything I have into squares and then start thinking about what color combinations would look nice in a block.

As long as you can get a minimum of four squares out of any piece of fabric, you can use it in a block!

In the next step we'll talk about color combinations. :)

Step 9: Color & pattern combinations for blocks.

Once you've cut a ton of squares, it's a good time to start thinking about what goes with what. :)

Keep in mind that every block has 4 of one color and 5 of another. Here are some ideas to get you going as far as color combinations go:

  • 2 contrasting solids (like yellow and purple, blue and orange, etc.)
  • one solid and one pattern
  • one pattern and one solid that matches one of the colors in the pattern
  • two distinct pattern (dots and stripes, two dots of different colors, florals and checks, etc.)

More than anything, I find it handy to make sure I have just about equal amount of solids and patterns when I go through my fabric stash.

Step 10: Assembling & sewing the squares into a block.

You'll sew the squares into three rows, and then sew the rows together. Placement is key here!

I will typically lay out the squares in the pattern I want on my work surface and then sew them. That way you have less chance of sewing the wrong bits together because you can see how the finished block looks.

Remember that you are using a 1/4 INCH SEAM ALLOWANCE. (Look at step 12 for ways to make this easy.) :D Also, I don't pin the squares together as I sew - feel free to do it at first, but trust me, it'll only slow you down!

Starting in the top row, take the first two squares and sew them right sides together. Then, sew the last squares right sides together with the middle square. You've completed a row! Do the other two this way. Once all the rows are done, finger press the seams open.

Then, sew the rows together in the same manner, making sure that the seams line up and lay flat. The key to pretty blocks is getting all the seams sewn flat. The back should look like the last picture if you've done this correctly. :D

The pictures will help you figure this out if you're having any problems.

Once the blocks are sewn, just stack em and keep sewing until you have 48!

(A note about ironing: I don't do it at this point. I just don't. It takes up too much time. See the next step to learn about finger-pressing.)

P.S. If you're interested in learning how to add a border to your quilt blocks, check out this instructable:


Step 11: Finger pressing.

Picture of Finger pressing.

A really simple technique that'll speed up your quilting process and give you prettier blocks.

Once you've sewn a seam, simply flip the fabric to the backside, open the seam up, and rake the length of it with your thumbnail.

This will flatten your seams enough for neat sewing without having to grab the iron every minute or so.

Step 12: Tips for getting an even seam allowance.

Picture of Tips for getting an even seam allowance.

There are many tools out there to help you make sure you're sewing at 1/4 inch. :)

There are quilting feet for every sewing machine - the right edge of the foot is 1/4 inch. You can also buy a magnetic sewing guide - but be warned, these will only work if you have a large metal surface around your presser foot. Some machines have very small throat plates.

The cheapest and easiest alternative is using a piece of masking tape. Just stick it on the sewing machine where the edge of the fabric should lie to get the right seam allowance, and BAM! While I'm lucky enough to have a 1/4 inch foot, I also use masking tape for extra sure-ness.

(I've also seen people use post-it notes if you don't have any masking tape lying around.)

(Also, you'll notice in picture 1 that 1/4 inch is labeled on my machine and not being used - that's because it's wrong. Measure from your needle out if you're unsure about the correct placement of the tape or other tools.)

Step 13: Deciding the final block layout.

Picture of Deciding the final block layout.

Iron all your blocks to get them extra flat.

Find a empty piece of floor and lay the blocks out. I don't put too much thought into this for patchwork quilts. Just as long as there aren't too many similar colors touching you're good to go!

Make sure that the final layout is 6 blocks wide and 8 blocks long. :)

Step 14: Pinning and numbering columns.

Picture of Pinning and numbering columns.

Once you have the layout decided, stack the columns in proper order and pin the blocks together and number the columns. This will help you with keeping them in order.

I always stack them from bottom to top.

Now you'll sew the columns together. :)

Step 15: Sewing the quilt top together, part 1.

Picture of Sewing the quilt top together, part 1.

You've got all your blocks and you're ready to go! We are over halfway done now! :D

Sew them together block by block to form columns - I typically leave my markers on the top blocks through this entire process so I don't get confused.

And, a helpful hint - once you're up to the 3-4 block in a column, it can get tricky to sew. To remedy all the pulling and fabric going everywhere, roll up what you've already sewn as shown in the last picture. :)

Step 16: Ironing.

Picture of Ironing.

At this point, it's helpful to iron again. You really just want to focus on where the blocks meet - make sure to get the seams nice and flat.

So detach your cat from the ironing board and get going. :)

(Yes, she does look worried. She was stuck.)

Step 17: Sewing the quilt top together, part 2.

Picture of Sewing the quilt top together, part 2.

Now you'll sew the columns together to make the quilt top!

This is the only time I'll pin while sewing the quilt top. Because you're dealing with a lot more fabric and it can shift like crazy, I pin every few squares, as shown in the second picture. :)

Start by laying column 1 on your work surface right side up. Lay column 2 on top of it, right side down. Line everything up as well as you can, and then pin.

To properly sew this, get the top corner secured in your machine, and pile the rest of the column into your lap. You don't want any of the fabric hanging off the table - it causes serious pulling and will make you sew very crookedly and puts extra pressure in your machine. So make sure you're not letting the sewn fabric pile up behind the machine and the fabric that's feeding through is supported well. If you feel any tugging, stop sewing and adjust the fabric. (Pictures 3 & 4)

Keep sewing on the additional columns until you're done, and remember that rolling comes in handy! (Picture 6)

Step 18: You quilt top is done!

Picture of You quilt top is done!

Marvel in your awesomeness.

Step 19: Quilt sandwich - laying it out.

Picture of Quilt sandwich - laying it out.

Choose a large spot on your floor - hardwood or tile is better than carpet. Then clean your floor! This is very important, especially if you're using a white backing. Also make sure your feet are clean - you're going to be walking and crawling all over the quilt. :P

(Also, shoo all animals out of the room, otherwise picture 2 will happen.)

Iron your backing and lay it out - smooth it out so you have no creases or bumps.

On top of this, lay out your batting. Smooth it out as well, and make sure it's centered on your backing.

Now, lay your quilt top down. Make sure everything is centered and smooth it out.

The best way to smooth it out is to get down on your hands and knees, honestly. You can either go end-to-end or from the middle out. Do what works best for you - just be sure to be very thorough!

Once it's smoothed out it's time to pin it!

Step 20: Quilt sandwich - pinning and trimming.

Picture of Quilt sandwich - pinning and trimming.

You want to pin through all three layers around the outside of the quilt.

Once the outside is pinned, trim all around the edges. I normally leave a couple inches on each side.
(And keep the excess fabric from the sheet - we're going to be using that to make the binding!)

Now, if you're really worried that you might have bumps - flip the quilt over and check out the back once it's pinned around the edges.

In this case, my sheet wasn't wanting to play nice (see the bumps on picture 3?), so I pinned and smoothed one more time. Once you're satisfied, flip it back over and pin like a madperson.

Seriously, pin all over. The more pins you have, the smoother it'll stay while sewing. As long as your pins are in the middle of squares, you'll be fine. :)

Step 21: Preparing for quilting.

Picture of Preparing for quilting.

You will need to change out the thread for quilting. The spool (the thread at the top of your machine) will be clear nylon, and the thread loaded into the bobbin will be white cotton. (Or whatever color will match your backing.) Set your stitch length to the longest.

(Note that you can keep it white cotton on both - but I'm not a fan. Having clear nylon on top will disguise your stitches so you don't have to worry about clashing with the fabric colors.)

Once you have the thread loaded, it's always good to do a test run of stitches on a piece of scrap fabric - you might have to tweak your machine settings a bit.

In addition, it's also a good idea to change out your needle - you'll need a new sharp one since you'll be going through multiple layers!

The best set-up for quilting is putting your sewing machine at the very edge of a table so the quilt has somewhere to go as you sew it. The quilt that hasn't been through the machine yet will rest on your lap. Try your hardest to not let the quilt hang from the table - this can cause uneven stitches and make your sewing machine work much harder.

Step 22: The Walking Foot.

Picture of The Walking Foot.

The best of all quilting accessories.

I highly, highly recommend using a walking foot for quilting. A walking foot looks a bit like something out of Star Wars, but it does wonders for keeping your fabrics in line. It works like the feed dogs under the needle that pull the fabric through - just on top! So you get extra flattening pulling power which helps prevent the stitches from getting strained and tiny, and keeps your fabric from puckering and ruching an insane amount!

I attempted to quilt half of the quilt using my regular presser foot (just so I could say, "Hey, it's okay, use a regular foot!") and the backing fabric had a field day, shifted something awful. So I'll be trimming the quilt a bit, not a big deal. :)

But just be warned... a walking foot will make your life easier. :D

Step 23: Quilting!

Picture of Quilting!

We're going to be doing this the easiest possible way because I'm assuming most people doing this will have an itty bitty sewing machine like me which makes it pretty hard to do more intricate stuff. :)

All we're going to be doing is sewing over the seam lines, which will create a nice puffy grid. (Also known as stitching in the ditch!)

You'll start sewing the quilt right side up, on the right side. You'll be sewing down the long side first. You don't have to backstitch for this, either, so don't worry about that.

I always sew straight down the first seam to begin with, and then you can sew the very edge of the quilt together if you like. Then you can go back to stitching in the ditch. Continue to do this for the next couple rows. Remove your pins after you sew the seam to the left of them.

By this time you'll notice you have quite a bit of fabric bunching up on the right against your sewing machine - the easiest way to combat this is to roll the quilt up on the right so you can keep sewing. You'll keep rolling it until you get halfway and then flip the quilt so you're sewing the other side. Continue sewing and rolling until you finish all the seams.

Then, turn the quilt so that you're sewing down the short side and repeat - sew and roll until the middle, and then flip and sew and roll again.

How easy was that? :)

Step 24: How the quilt should look after quilting...

Picture of How the quilt should look after quilting...

Your finished quilt will essentially look like a puffy grid. This is easier to see on the back. Chances are you've got a lot of tiny puckers in the fabric and this is okay. It's my opinion that a patchwork quilt should LOOK like it was made at home. All those little puckers give it character!

At this point, if your backing fabric has shifted, or all the layers didn't line up in some way, just trim a little off the edges of the quilt. This happens, and once again, it's okay! (And plus, if you have a tiny little machine like me, or you don't use a walking foot, some shifting is almost guaranteed to occur!)

Also keep in mind that once you wash the quilt the first time the puckers will even out and it will look positively lovely since you didn't prewash the fabrics. :)

Step 25: Making the binding, part 1.

Picture of Making the binding, part 1.

There are a two ways to do this - you can buy bias tape in store or you can use the excess from the sheet. I'm going to show you how to use the excess from the sheet because bias tape is expensive and I'm on a budget. :)

The first thing you need to do is to cut your sheet into strips. I am using a 2 inch bias tape maker, so I will be cutting my sheet into 3 3/4 inch strips, making sure to square off the ends of the strips.

(Note that I always cut straight strips. I might be using a bias tape maker, but I don't cut the fabric on the bias - I cut on the straight grain. I haven't had any issues with my binding wearing out because of this. I just wanted to clear that up because I had a question in the comments about it. :D)

Step 26: Making the binding, part 2.

You'll need to switch back to the standard presser foot for this.

Now we sew the strips together! Take two strips and lay them on your work surface as shown in the first picture and pin. Now take your ruler and draw a diagonal line. Cut away the excess fabric.

Sew along the line you drew and then press the seam flat.

Once it's pressed, cut off the bits hanging out!

Continue sewing your strips together until you've got enough to go all the way around your quilt + and additional foot or so. :D

Step 27: Making the bias tape, part 3.

The final part!!! Hooray!

Get out your ironing board, iron, bias tape maker, and bring your gigantic strip of fabric... and kinda hang that off the end of the ironing board as seen in picture two.

Feed the fabric into the bias tape maker wrong side up (so that you can see the bottom of the seams) and push it in until you can see the fabric through the slot in the middle. Find find something tiny (I used a little crochet hook) to stick into the slot and drag the tape through. Once it's out you're good to go!

Hold the finished bias tape down and drag the bias tape maker in the opposite direction and iron the new bias tape that forms. Feed the bias tape off the opposite end of the ironing board from the fabric strip.

Make sure the seams feed through nice and flat and that your fabric doesn't bunch up in the bias tape maker and you should be fine!

Once you've fed it all through and ironed it nice and flat, fold the bias tape in half and iron it again!

Now you're finished! :D

Step 28: Make sure your quilt is nice and trimmed!

Picture of Make sure your quilt is nice and trimmed!

If you had any shifting or weirdness, now is the time to make things nice and square. Above are pictures of my quilt after I trimmed it. :)

Just make sure all your layers are even.

Step 29: Pinning the binding to your quilt.

Picture of Pinning the binding to your quilt.
Includes the awesome fold for getting beautiful, easy corners. :D

What you need to do is unfold one edge of the bias tape so that you can see the raw edges. You'll line this raw edge up with the edge of your quilt.

Starting on one of the long sides of the quilt around the middle, pin the raw edge of the bias tape to the edge of the quilt, leaving a 6 inch tail of bias tape. Continue pinning every six inches or so until you reach the corner.

At the corner, extend the bias tape over the opposite edge. Then, fold it back so that it forms a triangle and goes to the left the original pinned strip. Now, fold the strip back over the triangle so that the folded edge lines up the with the raw edge and the strip can now continue down the shorter side of the quilt! (If you've done this correctly, you'll have a little triangle fold as shown in the last photo.

Do this for every corner, and keep pinning every six inches or so until you come around to your starting point. Once you reach your starting point, pin the bias tape about about 3 inches away from where you began and leave a tail of six inches or so. Cut the bias tape and you're ready to sew!

(Please note that my camera ate the photos, so I'm doing these pictures on the finished quilt. :P)

Step 30: Sewing the binding, the backside.

Use a regular foot for this! And make sure to take out your pins right before you get to them. Sewing over pins is not good. :)

We're going to be stitching the the crease as shown in the first picture. So stitch stitch stitch until you get a few inches away from the first corner. The corners are only slightly tricky.

When you get near the corner, stop sewing and take a pin. Remember the crazy fold we made? Run your finger along the crease line until you can feel the triangle fold underneath (picture 2) and mark that place with a pin (picture 3). This is where you will stop sewing. Sew to that point, backstitch, and remove the quilt from the machine. Picture 4 shows what it should look like. Now, flip over the triangle fold so it covers the stitches you just made. (Picture 5)

Now your crease line is in the right place to keep sewing! YAY!

So keep on going from the very beginning of this crease, and backstitch at the start. Continue these steps until you get to the end.

Sew to where you placed the last pin, and backstitch. Remove the quilt from the machine.

Now the last part! (Picture 7)

Fold over the bottom excess as shown in picture 8. Lay the top excess over it, lining up the raw edges, and pin. Now cut off the bottom excess. (Picture 9)

Beginning where you stopped sewing at the top, backstitch and sew to where you began sewing the in very beginning, backstitching again. Picture 10 shows what the finished seam looks like - nice and clean!

Now you're ready to flip the bias tape over!

Step 31: Flipping and pinning the binding.

First up - the beauty of mitered corners... you have to do virtually nothing to the back of the quilt. Check out the first picture - how awesome is that?

The biggest thing to focus on when pinning the binding to the front is to cover up the stitch lines from attaching the bias tape to the back. Make sure to pull it over that and then pin. You can see those stitch lines in picture 2. :)

For the rest of the corners, simply fold up one side, then fold over the other. (As shown in photos 2-6)

Photo 7 shows how to reign in where the two ends of the bias tape meet - just keep messing with it until the edges meet up and it all looks nice, and then pin!

Step 32: Sewing the binding, the front.

Picture of Sewing the binding, the front.
Switch out to your walking foot! :D

You'll be sewing the binding on in one continuous line! Start wherever you want, pretty close to the inside edge of the binding. You want a 1/4 inch seam allowance or less for this. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and take the pins out as you come to them.

When you get to the corners, leave the needle in the fabric, raise the presser foot, and swing the fabric around so you can keep on truckin'.

Make sure that you're keeping the bias tape in line... sometimes it likes to wander. Check it every so often because you want all those stitches covered!

As you come around to where you started sewing (picture 4) make sure to line up your stitch lines and backstitch.

You're done!!!

Step 33: More photos of the finished quilt.

Additional photos of the finished quilt that I didn't include in the intro. Enjoy!
tsarangova made it!1 year ago

this is my First Quilt ever!!! It took one week :). I did it!)))


This quilt is absolutely beautiful. I hope someday to do something almost as nice

Thank you! I'm sure you will!

AWESOME! What a recommendation for this instructable :-) Pretty blue theme!

thanks alot!

jessyratfink (author)  tsarangova8 months ago

Absolutely beautiful!! :D

Thank you!

That nice is it hard to do


Schlep made it!1 year 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!

ElaineP1 Schlep3 months ago

Incredible - was this your first effort? Amazing!

shimrit.or.7 made it!10 months ago

My first quilt ever :)

Took everything but the pattern, used the squares a bit different to form the frames. Got a machines with embroidery functions so wanted to try it out on some project and this was it. The fabric is all reclaimed items from the house (cloths no one likes anymore, old pillowcases... ). Guide is absolutely fantastic. So clear and pictures are just what you need up close. Thank you so much!

2014-09-23 17.04.40.jpg

Awesome!! Beautiful work.

jessyratfink (author)  shimrit.or.78 months ago

You're welcome! Your quilt looks amazing!! :D

So awesome that you were able to make it from items around the house!

rachel.dewar.14 made it!9 months ago

excellent instructions. Recommended to mainly use 100% cotton for backing so bought some great material from textile traders. Made a small playmat for my 3month old. Thanks.

jessyratfink (author)  rachel.dewar.148 months ago

That's so cute! Great job. :D

I love the borders and the print!

wizgirl made it!1 year ago
Thank you!
ashleyhairston9 made it!1 year ago
13, 6:43 PM.jpg
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)  CementTruck1 year 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 : )
nekokristiaan made it!2 years ago
Here is my version! Thank you for your wonderful instructions.
jessyratfink (author)  nekokristiaan2 years ago
Yaaaay! It looks great, I love the colors :D
ToniRose made it!2 years 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!
jessyratfink (author)  ToniRose2 years ago
Ahhhhhhhhh! So awesome. :D I love the colors!
kategooding21 days ago

Thank you so much!! You have no idea how brilliantly helpful this tuition was. It all made sense - and I now believe I can have a redhot go at making my first quilt. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

mattve21 days ago

Can you explain your preference for the 5x18 ruler? These are not redily available at my local craft store.

jessyratfink (author)  mattve21 days ago

Honestly it's just personal preference! I like that it's five inches wide so I have more room to work with. I use it for my embroideries because many of them are 5x7 inches so it makes cutting them out easy.

Anything 4 or 5 inches wide is perfect for most sewing - the length is not as important. :)

Yasmiene1 month ago

Thank you so much for these instructions!! I just finished my first quilt following this how-to. It's lovely and I really appreciate the detailed information in this guide.

THANKS! Yasmiene

bhawklover192 months ago

If the quilt I want to make isn't a queen size-- (it'll be 9x10 blocks) would that impact anything negatively? like will I still be able to get enough batting and so on?

bethdub3 months ago

I really like this tutorial, but it got a little confusing when you started talking about bias tape. What is that? Also, when sewing long strips of fabric or sewing the length of the quilt, how do you prevent bunching? Pins haven't been enough in the past for me.

jessyratfink (author)  bethdub3 months ago

Bias tape is what makes the border of the quilt! It is basically a strip of fabric that is folded and sewn around the edge. Most bias tape is cut on a 45 degree angle so it conforms well to corners, but I've simply cut strips since this quilt is all straight edges. :)

As far as the bunching, diligent pinning and using a walking foot will help! You can also look into spray basting as a temporary solution to keep quilts layers nice and flat.

Also be wary of the weight of the fabric - letting it hang off the table or your lap at all will add pressure around the foot and causing sewing issues, too!

Thank you! These tips will really help. Another question: I made a quilt awhile ago and prewashed the fabric, but it's still really stiff. Any ideas on a different type of material I should buy? (I really don't remember what type of fabrics I bought either )

jessyratfink (author)  bethdub3 months ago

You're welcome! :)

It sounds like you might have a home decor weight or canvas fabric if it's stiff - a bit too heavy for quilting!

You'll want to stick to muslin or 100% cotton. Most fabric stores will just have a section of fabric labeled "quilting cotton" and that's your best bet! The fabric you want will be tightly woven, very thin and smooth and slightly sheer!

Great tips! Thank you again, this tutorial will definitely help!

I am using T shirts from my daughter's years of dancing. Is it possible to use squares for the front and back of the quilt without making a rag quilt? That is what I would like to do. I can make a rag quilt if I have to.

jessyratfink (author)  billie.s.fuller3 months ago

Absolutely! Just make both sides the same size and you should have no issues. You can add batting as normal, or just sew the two layers together. I would suggest using a stabilizer of some sort of you don't end up putting the batting in, though - otherwise the jersey might try to run all over. :)

Meanebaby3 months ago

This is GREAT!! Thank you for this wonderful tutorial!! I have always wanted to do a quilt. I am making my first one now, it is a rag top quilt. Will have to try this next!!

ali6264 months ago
It's funny, I can make stuffed animals, but I have trouble with quilts. They require too much precision or something I guess. Just started a jelly roll quilt and am stuck on the back. I'm curious if I'd get less puckering on the backing by starting in the middle and working out instead of edge to edge? I've got 3 family members having children in the next 5 months and was planning quilts for each child. Please advise. Also, the walking foot was by far the best $14 I ever spent. I use it for almost all my sewing. It makes almost all sewing easier!
jessyratfink (author)  ali6263 months ago

Working from the middle out might be tricky, honestly! Sometimes you get things aligned a little off doing it that way.

But what you can do is try spray basting! Here's a good tutorial:


Very helpful tutorial, I have looked at loads of sites and this is by far the best! Thank you so much, I can see where I went wrong with my first trial very easily - I am now going to use what I've learnt from here and start with mini quilts as pet quilts before moving onto a big one as a form of test :) this has helped so much :) thank you thank you thank you!
Ive actually made a couple of quilts but tacked them w/ yarn as i didnt have a quilting rack but would LOVE to learn how to really do it right
Thank you so much for your tutorial. I have learned more from you in simple language and steps easy to understand than I have learned from the several "beginner" books from my library!
camisetas4 months ago

You've done a excellent work

MomMaters4 months ago
I have 1 more question...
I'm wanting to put a border around each 9 block, but don't know how. Please please tell me you do!! ?
jessyratfink (author)  MomMaters4 months ago

Here we go! This is the way I've always done it:


jessyratfink (author)  MomMaters4 months ago

Sure, no problem! I think I'll actually do an instructable over that. I'll try to get it posted asap and link you :)

JasonH164 months ago

Just a quick heads up; the amazon link to the bias tape maker above is actually to a 1-1/8" bias tape maker tip that goes onto a machine for making it. The amazon link for the actual bias tape maker you are using in your fantastic write-up is: http://www.amazon.com/Clover-2-Inch-Bias-Tape-Mak...

Thanks for such a great how-to.

jessyratfink (author)  JasonH164 months ago

Thanks very much for finding that - I'll update it now! :D

And you're welcome!

MomMaters5 months ago
Thanks for the help! You're awesome!!
15, 6:58 AM.jpg
carly.mobbs made it!5 months ago

This was my very first attempt at making a quilt! Thank you for the very complete instructions!

jessyratfink (author)  carly.mobbs5 months ago

That's beautiful! I love the bright colors. :D

thank you!

lily.audhui5 months ago

ouah, well done . we can feel the hard work and passion in it .

Very nice step by step instruction

Thank you


MomMaters5 months ago
Ok great! I am making my quilt for my sisters queen size bed, the problem with that is she wants it longer and wider than a standard queen... Can I make it 8 wide & 10 long, and still have it turn out?
You are soooooo much help!! I truly can't thank you enough!!!
jessyratfink (author)  MomMaters5 months ago

Absolutely!! If you buy a king size flat sheet for the back it should all go super smoothly. :)

And you're welcome!! I'm excited to help. :D

MomMaters5 months ago
I am just curious about one other thing...
There are pictures of smaller 9 blocks with solid blocks, what size material squares you use for these? Reference to tsarsngova blue quilt.
jessyratfink (author)  MomMaters5 months ago

If you'd like to use a solid color for one block, you can just match them to the size of a pieced block. In this case that would mean you'd want a piece of solid fabric 10.5x10.5 inches. :)

barbara.anne.96 made it!6 months ago

My son and his wife decided to have napkins of all different colors for their wedding. They mail the remnant material to my 90 year old mother to sew the hems into napkins. The weekend of the wedding as we are setting everything up (it was all outside) my mom is told that they want them make into bow ties. She thought this was the last of the napkins. While my brother and I were shopping for rehearsal dinner equipment, she made all the bow ties (around 125). Wedding goes off without a hitch, everything is beautiful. So I ask them for the napkins back so I can make a quilt. I have never made a quilt before. I even bought a new sewing machine to undertake this task. So I search the web for the best tutorial. I find yours. I cannot thank you enough for how easy you made this undertaking. I have created the wedding quilt. See images from wedding napkins to wedding quilt. I wrapped it up for them for Christmas. However, I really wanted to keep it for myself.

jessyratfink (author)  barbara.anne.965 months ago

Your mom is a machine - that's amazing!!

And I love the idea of a wedding quilt - what a thoughtful present. :D

MomMaters5 months ago
I stumbled across your instructions for this quilt by accident, but since I had convinced myself I could make one for my sister (yr ago), I ran out to get fabrics and tools...
It is 16mos later and now I have this hap-hazard block "thing" that is not sewn well and is kinda, well... "Off".
Upon reading your instructions, I sat down for 2 days and took the whole thing apart, ironed every square and am now starting over via your instruction.
Thank you soooooo very much for providing instructions that are easy to read, follow and understand!!! Your works are so beautiful, and thanks to you... I will have a quilt to give to my sister that will look as though I bought it!
Much appreciation!!!
jessyratfink (author)  MomMaters5 months ago

Oh yayayay!! I am so excited it helped you. :D

AngelaO25 months ago

question: how many blocks would you need for a twin size quilt?

jessyratfink (author)  AngelaO25 months ago

I had a look and it looks like most twin size mattresses run 38x75 inches, so I think a quilt 5 blocks wide and 8 blocks long would work great. 4x7 blocks might make it a little tiny for for the bed.

So I think 40 blocks is your best bet. :D

barbara.anne.96 made it!6 months ago

My son and his wife decided to have napkins of all different colors for their wedding. They mail the remnant material to my 90 year old mother to sew the hems of the napkins. The weekend of the wedding as we are setting everything up (it was all outside) my mom is told that they want them made into bow ties. She thought this was the last of the napkins. While my brother and I were shopping for rehearsal dinner equipment, she made all the bow ties (around 125). Wedding goes off without a hitch, everything is beautiful. So I ask them for the napkins back so I can make a quilt. I have never made a quilt before. I even bought a new sewing machine to undertake this task. So I search the web for the best tutorial. I find yours. I cannot thank you enough for how easy you made this undertaking. After much cursing, crying and temper tantrums, I have created the most beautiful wedding quilt. I didn't want to give it to them, I wanted to keep it. But I wrapped it up for Christmas and they loved it. See the images on the napkings and then the quilt. (I might even made another one someday.)

Thirdw1076 months ago
Hi my is Awilda I'm look for help how to do the quilt
ppiety made it!6 months ago

I made this quilt using your tutorial. Thanks for making your instructions so easy..I wasn't intimidated and I did it!

quilt I made!.jpg

I have question. I used to help my grandma make quilts when I was very young, she would have me sit under the quilting loom and pass her up the needle with yarn attached to it then she would tie it together (in a lot of places) I guess to hold the sandwich together ? I haven't done this for 50 years. My grandma just passed last month at the age of 99 (12 days shory of 100). It got me thinking about making quilts again, this time for my family. I have never used a sewing machine in my life, am I too old to learn or as they say "Can we teach this old dog a new trick" ? I really would like to make some quilts but the only ones I've ever done is where its just a top layer, middle layer and backing, but never little square sewn together. Am I nuts or do you think this is doable? Your instructions seem pretty clear and I'm fairly knowledgable, I am a guy, but I really would like to do this for my daughter who is getting married in June. Any advise on sewing machines? Sorry for going on and on. Any help would be appreciated.


jessyratfink (author)  incrediblynewbutold7 months ago

So sorry to hear about your grandmother! But happy to hear she lived such a long life - that's amazing!

The type of quilt ya'll made is called a tie quilt - it's a basic quilt body, but instead of sewing to quilt it, you just tie some yarn or pearl cotton to keep the layers in place like you described. :)

This is a good description of it! For a quilt like that, you can absolutely keep it to three layers - top, batting, backing. The only thing you'll really need to worry about is binding the edges.

As far as sewing machines, I really recommend the Brother CS6000i (around $150 on Amazon) or the Janome HD1000 (around $270 on Amazon). I've owned and loved both - I'm using the Janome now, actually. The Brother is great for everyday repairs and basic sewing - it can handle quilting for sure! If you wanted to be able to do much more with the machine you get, and sew through heavier materials I'd say to get the Brother.

Is it hard to learn how to use a sewing machine ? Like I said, I've never used one, don't even know how to load the threa :(
jessyratfink (author)  incrediblynewbutold7 months ago

Nope! It's really not hard. All sewing machines come with awesome instruction manuals and there are loads of great youtube videos, too.

The most important thing is to just do lots of practice runs - just sew some scraps together in different ways to get used to how fast the machine goes, how it pulls the fabric though, etc. Once you can sew a nice straight line you can sew almost anything!

What kind of needle did you use in your sewing machine?

jessyratfink (author)  ashley.adams.543908 months ago

You can either use quilting needles or general purpose ones - both of them work pretty well.

Here are some quilting ones, if you'd like to see:


Thank you!!

This is an amazing tutorial! Thank you! I want to make a memory quilt out of my mom's old clothes and items, but not all the material is cotton. Do you please have any suggestions on what to do with the materials that aren't cotton, but that we might want to use in the quilt?

You can buy water soluble stabilizers and tear away stabilizers - you can apply them to the back of the fabric to help with sewing! :)

They work pretty well with stretchy fabrics!

LifeLuver5589 months ago

Thank you, thank you thank you jessyratfink! This is so helpful. I will definitely have more questions as I go along.

Im a total newbie..I have searched everywhere for a tutorial thats easy to understand..I have bought books..Looked at youtube videos.(not much help i dont think I started a quilt (first one ever)about 6 months ago.Did I mention that im a total newbie and am teaching myself to quilt...I cut the squares etc out no worries..However I havent been able to find easy assembling instructions until now..I came upon pinterest today(never heard of it until today) and typed in quilting..well..I spent about 4 hours in there looking around..I came across this one of yours and its brilliant!! thankyou so much for the easy to understand instructions and the pics as well...Totally awesome...Thankyou...thankyou

RN0071 year ago

Thank you so very much! I've been wanting to make a quilt for my Mom as she turns 90 years old this yr. Your instructions are great and the pictures are fantastic, as I am a visual person. I am so happy to have come across your instructional! God Bless you!

awatson291 year 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!
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 !!!
sasmira1 year ago
Tout simplement Wow!
Amd9285161 year 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?
GScience1 year ago
the stitching of the squares together is kinda awry. last step first pic. But who am I to judge? Anyway great!
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 Dragon1 year 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)  ashleyhairston91 year 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)  ashleyhairston91 year ago
Nope! Length doesn't matter at all. As long as they're the same width, it will work perfectly. :D
Sew strips together **
erutledge11 year ago
excellent instructions...very clear. I feel like I can make a quilt with out a hands on class. Thank you.
n.tapp2 years 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.tapp2 years 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_Wumbo2 years ago
Thanks so much! This was the perfect 101 course.
LesliePLowe2 years ago
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
cbranch2 years 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!
~ Lotus2 years ago
Excellent tutorial!!
mrmtgh2 years 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
eyesee2 years 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 Puddle2 years 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
MooCow1012 years ago
I love ur beds head board how do you make it
jessyratfink (author)  MooCow1012 years ago

Taaaa-daaa! Pretty easy, would just need some plywood, some old books and lots of glue.
codyormoe2 years 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)  codyormoe2 years 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)  rubyweapon85032 years 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!
crazymama632 years ago
just wanted to say thanks having come from a single parent family I was lucky enough to have a mom that worked at singer in the seventies our local store had all need fabric,notions and patterns,well anyway my mom gave me sewing lessons every summer and 6yrs latter had great knowlege for my age 12 t the last of the lessons,but long story short got carpel tunnel so bd at 47 had bi lateral wrists done and started sewing again,but have found myself really having to hone my skills but oh well this is one of THE MOST COMPLETE tutorials I have come across sew thank-you for all newbie sewer this is COMPLETE sew stop searching at this tutorials it is GREAT............thank-you again........tina
pasweeney2 years ago
I really enjoyed this quilting 101 and leaned alot , I will be referring back cause I need help. Awsome. Trish
Ilovetosew2 years ago
I am just beginning to quilt. Thank you for the instructions. You were very thorough with your explanations and your pictures. It was very helpful.
amylea3 years ago
That's fab, thank you! I have been so inspired by your instructables - I am an absolute beginner (seriously, I can hardly sew a button on) but I feel like I have absorbed so much useful information to get me started. Thank you!
amylea3 years ago
This is probably a really ridiculous question but - is there an easy way to hand-sew a seam at a 1/4 inch seam allowance? I don't have a sewing machine but would love to make a quilt. Am I setting myself up for failure?!
jessyratfink (author)  amylea3 years ago
You're definitely not setting yourself up for failure. My grandmother sewed all her quilts by hand, and she made TONS of them!

If you do a really tiny running stitch (just make sure it's nice and tight) it'll work! And if you're worried about making the 1/4 sea allowance nice and even, pin the squares/blocks together while sewing and use the pins as a sewing line.
Great tutorial! Try 505 Basting Spray. No pins needed. It holds together as long as you need (for over a year if you can't get back to it right away), comes apart if you need to readjust and doesn't gum up your needle or sewing machine. I have a very expensive machine, and have had no problems. It runs about $12.99 a can and a little goes a long way. Joann's has it if you don't know where to find it.
bpucks3 years ago
Wow, you make me feel like I can complete a beautiful project! Thank you!
I really like your deer lamp. Is that a DIY or store bought?
how did she make her paw bend that way?
irwinkris3 years ago
hi agen! have you tried a disappering 9 patch quilt. its just as easy and it is a nice change up.
irwinkris3 years ago
i love it. my mother inlaw has been begging me to make her a quilt for years. she says its easy. i have tried 17 times and just figured i sucked. i would then pick up the knitting needles and make her another blanket. you have taken all my questions and solved them for me. i can not thank you enough. THANK YOU!
rquickel3 years ago
What a thorough, helpful and clear instructable. I finally understand how to do those friggin' corners! Thank you so much.
CherylTX4 years ago
The binding is where we differ but yours is definitely the better finish and traditional. For me, instead of trimming my backing even with the quilt, I always bought a king size sheet and, at this stage, trim it to be 4 inches beyond the top, all the way around. Then fold it over the front (two folds so it's hemmed), pin it well and sew it down, miter fold at the corners.

(there's nothing worse than a know-it-all commenting all over your instructable; I'm just so excited to see such wonderful, well done instructions!)
That would make a great instructable on its own! (hint, hint)
Oh, good idea!
jessyratfink (author)  CherylTX4 years ago
Haha, thank you! My grandmother did it the fold-over way too... I really like the look of it, but I'm always too lazy to handsew it, and not brave enough to do it by machine. :D
I have been wanting to make a quilt and your instructions are very detailed along with great pictures to walk you though it all. I had always wondered if I needed a walking foot and you cleared that up.. I have also wanted to make my own binding, so your instructions have inspired me to pick up all the extra's and get started. Thank you for taking the time to ease the beginning sewers into it all. I cannot wait to try this, the forcast calls for rain this weekend and my husband will be out fishing, I think I will try to start something this weekend.. I might not finish it by this weekend but at least I could get started. Thanks agian,
jessyratfink (author)  DiannaCarter3 years ago
You're welcome! I'm so happy you liked it. :)
Rynrambles3 years ago
Thank you soooo much. Have always wanted to sew. Took one class last year that taught me how to thread a machine. I had hoped for more. Bought a $120 Janome & googled instructions. Found this page. Just finished my quilt yesterday. Took 110 days, where I didn't touch it for a solid 6 weeks and would put in a few good 8-10 hours days here & there at my leisure. The bias tape scared me the most & the tool was more frustrating than not but (: I made a quilt (her name is Josie Bell Woods) and I am beyond pleased. My biggest mistake was not sewing close enough to the crease on the mitered corners. However, I added a lil stitch & do not mind the flaws. Thank you sooooo very very much!
jessyratfink (author)  Rynrambles3 years ago
That's so neat! I'm so excited you finished your quilt. Happy I could help. :)
cparke13 years ago
I've never done my own binding. I always use satin binding because it's easy. But, I love your methods and directions for your binding. I don't have a binding machine and don't want to go to the expense. Do you think I could just fold the cut fabric in half, iron it, then fold the cut edges inside to the fold and iron again? Wouldn't that give me the same end result? I am going to try doing my own binding because you made it seem fairly easy and the finished product looked beautiful. Thanks for the instructable!
jessyratfink (author)  cparke13 years ago
You can definitely do that! I do that for smaller items all the time. I just like the bias tape maker shortcut for when I'm making yards and yards of it. :D
This is such a great intro to quilting that I'm going to go thru my old clothes and fabric stash and try one. But I have a question...when you start to sew the columns do you sew them vertically then across?
What a great way to get rid of cloth and make Xmas gifts. Thanks!
jessyratfink (author)  mz anne thrope3 years ago
Yep, sew them into vertical columns, and then sew those columns together!
jhawes13 years ago
You said its helpful to iron again...where was the 1st part of ironing?
jessyratfink (author)  jhawes13 years ago
Step 13! Once you have all your blocks sewn I like to flatten them before you lay them out to decide your final layout. :)
BigDrig4 years ago
Is it odd that I'm a married man, and I want to do this? I love quilts and I'm decent at this sort of thing. Do you just cut up old T-shirts and re-use fabrics? Thats what my grandmother did when I was younger.
Sewing is nothing but construction with softer building materials. So, not strange at all. There's a lot of spatial thinking going on with both, too. Good luck with your projects.
jessyratfink (author)  BigDrig4 years ago
No, not odd at all! And you definitely should. :D

I have yet to use tshirts, but I do use little bits of fabrics left over from other projects and pieces from old clothes. My grandmother did that as well!
cdye3 years ago
i LOVE the curved pins idea...i have tried so many many things to STOP stabbing myself so much, but must admit that Istill do! I checked at our local store and they don't carry then, but i'm going to look online and maybe i can find some there!

belbix084 years ago
Your quilt is beautiful! I've been taking on more craft projects lately and I can't wait to get started on this one! You make it seem so easy and fun, thanks for putting this up for begginers like me =)
jessyratfink (author)  belbix083 years ago
Awww, thank you. Glad you liked it! :)
PurpleKat4 years ago
There will indeed be more quilts in the world! My bedspread is long past worn out, but I don't like the synthetic microfiber things that they sell now. I thought I'd need a big fancy machine to make a quilt, but now I know better. I'll be off to the fabric store soon. :)
jessyratfink (author)  PurpleKat3 years ago
Yay! Happy I could convince you. :D
RobSmith514 years ago
About how much of each fabric, roughly?
jessyratfink (author)  RobSmith513 years ago
It depends how many fabrics you want to use in your quilt, honestly. If you want to use only a few colors it's easy enough to estimate, but if you want to do lots of random colors it's much harder. I'd check step five and try to work out what you think is best.

Just keep in mind that you'll have a total of 400+ squares in your quilt, and you can get 90 squares out of a yard, so you can easily do a quilt out of 6 yards or so. :)
RobSmith514 years ago
I've been wanting to make a quilt ,I usually make clothes and some crafts but quilts always scared me off. But after looking at you instructions I'm ready to try one. Thanks for the directions.
balalawi4 years ago
thank you very much .You are very clear in your instrutions.
but do you know how can I make a quilt with photo?
my sister will marry soon and i want to make a quilt with her photo as a present
jessyratfink (author)  balalawi4 years ago

There's always something like the instructable above, or printing images directly onto fabric. It all depends on what you want the finished product to be like. :)
cbledsoe314 years ago
I've been thinking about tackling my first quilt and I've been trying to find an easy pattern with clear, detailed instructions. This seems like something I can handle (hopefully!). Thank you SO much for posting this!
CherylTX4 years ago
Do you ever sew two squares together and without cutting the thread just keep going with two more and two more. You wind up with what I think of as a kite tail. Then cut them apart and sew the third square to each pair without cutting in between. I wouldn't recommend it to a beginner but you've got your time-savers down to an art and kite-tail piecing is one of my fav ways to speed the process.
jessyratfink (author)  CherylTX4 years ago
I've always heard about this but haven't actually tried it... though I'm going to be making a baby quilt for a friend soon, so I might give it a go!
CherylTX4 years ago
(I'm just going along step by step LOVING your tutorial, I can't believe we do things so similarly) If you haven't already run across curved safety pins made especially for pinning your quilt sandwich, I bet you'd love them. The curve makes pinning go much smoother and faster. Also, the straight pins would always stick me when I wrangled everything to my sewing machine. But taking all of them out is slower.
jessyratfink (author)  CherylTX4 years ago
I haven't seen the curved ones - those sound awesome. I also have a problem with stabbing myself while sewing. :P
CherylTX4 years ago
I love that you put this suggestion (a flat sheet for the backing); it's exactly what I do and you don't get a seam down the middle from sewing yards of fabric together.
Kchloe174 years ago
You could embroider patches and sew them all together to make a crazy quilt
cooi4 years ago
I've always wanted to make a quilt! I make clothing and am afraid that making a quilt would be too tedious because of all the repetitive motions, but I think your instructable has finally inspired me to make one this summer before I relocate to a new city!!

Thank you!
Can you use different types of fabric in the same quilt or will it set wrong?
For instance, cotton, cotton/polyester mix, and polyester sewn together.
Also, can you use different thicknesses in the same quilt?
jessyratfink (author)  crazyaboutbeads4 years ago
You can, but there are lots of things to consider which is why I recommend 100% cotton. If you do choose to use a mixture of fabrics, it will be best to:
  • make sure all your fabrics are washable! You don't want the quilt to fall apart in the wash, so avoid things that are dry clean only or things that fray very easily
  • wash everything beforehand, because chances are they will shrink at oddly different rates
  • check to make sure that they don't stretch too much compared to one another - if one fabric stretches 1 inch, and another 3 inches, it can be very tricky to sew together in a uniform manner
As far as the different thicknesses, you definitely can, as long as they meet the above criteria. :)
Okay, thanks!
lw1194 years ago
Great instructable! Very detailed and easy to follow. Thanks for all the hard work and thought you put into it.
Softdove4 years ago
I have been learning how to quilt and I must say that I really enjoyed this instructable very much. You are very clear in your instrutions. I have learned some new things as well. Thank you for taking the time to show your work. All the pictures were very helpful as well. Now I have to get shopping for a few items to make my next quilt. :)
jessyratfink (author)  Softdove4 years ago
Thank you very much! It always feels good to be helpful! :D
Oooo thank you!! Your clear instructions and pictures will allow me to quickly repair a much-loved quilt that never had binding on it before. Then I can move on to the grandchildren's special theme quilts! It's one thing to see a couple line-drawn steps in a book and quite another to observe an actual quilt in process in living color.
jessyratfink (author)  duckweedfarm4 years ago
You're welcome! Happy I helped! :)
Creativeman4 years ago
Verrrrry nice!
Great instructable. I'm feeling very inspired now!

Do you have any sewing-machine recommendations for a beginner? Is there any particular feature that is a must-have, that not all machines have? Or will pretty much any basic model work?

jessyratfink (author)  chris.tierney4 years ago
Thank you!

Honestly, the only thing I'd worry about is that it's a major brand like Singer or Brother, that it has a wide variety of stitches (75+ so you know you have some for stretch fabrics), and that it's free-arm, so that you can easily hem things if the need arises. :)

Most sewing machines nowadays are about the same, and a lot of the basic ones are super affordable! ($150 or less)
Great, thanks for the advice. :)
This is great! What a fantastic walk through of every step. Good job!
jessyratfink (author)  abbyholverson4 years ago
Thank you! :D
I have a problem getting my squares to be actually square. What am I doing wrong??
jessyratfink (author)  cgarst lewis4 years ago
When you're cutting them or when you're sewing them into the block?
Once the block is sewn together.
jessyratfink (author)  cgarst lewis4 years ago
There are a few things you can do to help this:

#1 - Make sure you're sewing at a very even 1/4 inch for ALL seams, if you're off few a few of them, it'll cause quite a bit of shifting
#2 - Pin your squares when you sew them so that the edges don't shift
#3 - Make sure all your seams are pressed flat when you sew the rows to together, because if they're not they can cause shifting too.

Slow and steady is really the key until you get the hang of it! And don't worry about trimming up the edges to make them square if you need to. :)
This whole tutorial is awsome!!! I loved the way it lays it all out for newbies, and for others like me who have made "Cheater Quilts" all her adult life. I have yet to make a whole quilt. I'm just making blocks. I want to learn how to make every kind of block in the quilting world. lol...I just sew them onto tote bags, purses, make wall handings, table runners, etc. Never a whole quilt. This is my inspiration to start a whole quilt!!!!! Thank you young lady.
You ROCK!!
When using a bias tape maker, pin the beginning edge to ironing board or anything else you can, and use your hot iron/hair straightener/curling iron to iron the bias strip. Works great!
Another easier tip, cut the fabric (does not need to be on the bias unless your are working on curves) twice the size you want and add twice the seam allowance....fold in half and iron. Place on right side of quilt and sew down on edge (matching edges) Fold over to the back and either hand stitch or machine sew. Voila!!
jessyratfink (author)  kathi kraftyzales4 years ago
The hair straightener tip is such a good idea... I would have never thought of it. I have an expensive one that I bought on a whim (must be PRETTIER!!1) even though I have the straightest hair in the world and I've never really used it. :P That's awesome.

I always think about doing my binding the second way, but I just love dragging the bias tape maker down the strips, haha. :D
I do too, but never found the tape maker big enough for an oversized binding that I like. I just gotta be different.
"twice the size" ...I meant twice the width and add twice the seam allowance. So if you want two inch wide binding around you quilt, make it 4 inch wide and add 1/4" seam on each side...so the fabric width would be 4 1/2".....Fold in half, iron, sew to front of quilt edges matching. etc...
A tip I learned about when you pin the corner folds of bias tape.....fold the other way than pictured, so that when you sew it down it's smooth sewing, not a chance the fabric will pucker or twist. I learned this after years of the hassle....grrrr
chinychiro4 years ago
I love the instructable, i just went throught it and i believe i can make it too with my two left hands!! You really broke it down to the simplest of steps and great instructions. Its my next project!! :) Thanks again!!
jessyratfink (author)  chinychiro4 years ago
Thank you! That's what I was going for - I really do hope that you try! They're so rewarding to make! :)
MsJaxFla4 years ago
Very good instructions.

I think it is a great quilt and you took the hand work out of it, which is good, because most of us will not finish a hand quilted quilt. One thing..... did you really make bias binding? Because if I did not know how, I would think you cut straight of grain binding and if you work so hard on a quilt, it should have the bias binding, because it will take the wash and wear (love and use) so much longer. So just a tadge spiffing up on the how to (start) cut bias strips.... cause I did not understand that part, but loved your instructions, they were really great. I know your mom is so proud of you and your wonderful creative art. God Bless You!
jessyratfink (author)  MsJaxFla4 years ago
Thank you for all the compliments!

I have to admit I never take the time to make the actual bias grain strips! I tried to word everything carefully in the steps above so it didn't seem like I was actually doing that. I might add a disclaimer. :)

My grandmother never used bias grain binding either... and honestly, she normally just flipped the backing over the sewed it down on the front and hers have lasted as well so I try not to worry myself about it too much.

But I know I lot of people swear by it... I think I'm just too impatient of a quilter, by the time I get to the binding I'm just so ready to wash it and lie down with it! :P
I agree, it is so much work that when you get so close to being finished that you might not ever get it done if you did the biased one. Plus, it takes so much more fabric. And the binding would be easy to cover with a new one if it did wear out. Even if you did not want to take it off by ripping the stitching out, you could just cut close to the seam line and make sure you made the new one a bit wider to cover the old stitching. So many are doing machine quilting now a days and they have all these fancy machines. I wish I had the money for one of them, but alas, I do not. I am with you about quick and easy or I would never start one, much less finish it, specially a queen size. I have a Singer that is circa 1965..... and learned to sew on an old Necchi. Yes, I have seen where folks just used the backing and folded it over as well. I think the time you take to bind it separately though, makes a better look, cause it is a smoother finish. I am now reinspired to make a quilt (finally) for my bed. Thank you so much. I am sure you inspired many others also. If you have a girl friend about to get married, maybe you could have some of the other girls buy the fabric and help you cut the squares and give one as a wedding gift, they are priceless to those that can not sew at all.
gahh, I'm getting excited at this point! :D
jessyratfink (author)  crazyaboutbeads4 years ago
Hahaha, as you should! I get really about the time I sew together my first block and it just continues! :D
What is the little silver thingy in the third picture?

That's a bias tape maker, an awesome little notion that folds the bias tape.
jessyratfink (author)  ElizabethGreene4 years ago
Yep, starwalk is right - it's a bias tape maker!

Hopefully image notes will start working again soon so I can explain everything a little better. :)
It's a tool for putting the creases into bias strips to make your own bias binding. You cut the right width of bias strip (usually one or two inch) from whatever fabric you want. Thread one end of the strip in through the large end of the tool so that it come out of the smaller end all folded over, then you pin it to an ironing board and press the folds into place, pulling more fabric through a bit at a time. It's a bit fiddly, but much better than trying to iron the creases in without something holding them still.

Phew - not the best description - hope you can make sense of it :)
trowel_gal4 years ago
Your instructable is really great! Tough competition:)
jessyratfink (author)  trowel_gal4 years ago
Thank you! :)
It was very interesting to know how to sew the quilt. Thanks for sharing the tips.
Lean muscle X
jessyratfink (author)  Humfrydavidd4 years ago
No problem, thanks for reading! :)
leonardml4 years ago
Very good job on your instructable and a beautiful quilt!
jessyratfink (author)  leonardml4 years ago
Thanks - I'm very proud of this one! :)
Sunbanks4 years ago
You ma'am, are brilliant. I've been thinking about making a quilt lately, an if I do at some point, I will definitely be using this instructable :D
jessyratfink (author)  Sunbanks4 years ago
Thank you! I hope you make one. :D
mary candy4 years ago
just perfect! very beautiful.
jessyratfink (author)  mary candy4 years ago
Thank you!
ChrysN4 years ago
This is great! I wish that I had this to read before I started on my first quilt.
jessyratfink (author)  ChrysN4 years ago
Thank you!
And hey, you can always start a new one! :D
angelabchua4 years ago
okay, this is probably one of the best instructables i have ever seen! Such great detail in the steps and the photos are awesome! I am making my first quilt now...its been an on going project for quite some time now, and I am sort of making it up as i go. Will definitely use your ible as my reference guide!

jessyratfink (author)  angelabchua4 years ago
Thanks so much! :D
And if you have any questions about your quilt, feel free to ask. I might add a FAQ step... I figure there's a good chance I left something out!