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Thread: My first ever quilt-I need help!

  1. #1
    becky191985's Avatar
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    Hi, after getting bored of cross stitching I recently decided to make a quilt with NO IDEA of what I was doing. I don't know any of the correct terms-apologies in advance! I'm 24 so I don't know anyone who can help me (my Mother is into knitting which i just can't do!)

    I'm hand sewing long strips of beautiful fabric (Amy Butler, Joel Dewberry, some satin and ginghams) onto er... padding (it's going to be a king size quilt), It will have vertical stripes of different widths and some ribbon going vertically too, I didn't want to do a traditional one with triangles of materials etc. I dread to think how it will turn out; my hems are terrible, it may be something only a mother can love. Colours are from right to left- royal blue satin, a Joel Dewberry green with blue flowers, green batiks then onto reds.

    Problems include:

    *The border and back of the quilt will be the same fabric, do i need to sew some kind of pattern onto the back so as the material doesn't just flop about & look baggy? I'm doing the border and back last.

    *Does it matter if the hems are terrible? I'm hoping the cotton will be easier to get a straighter hem than the satin.

    * Should i stitch a pattern over the front? I want it to look a bit puffy in sections!

    I'm deliberately not using a sewing machine as I hate using them and I enjoy doing it by hand


  2. #2
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Hi Becky,

    first of all, let me commend you for asking questions and welcome you to the world of quilting. WOW, you are starting with a King-size.

    Here is how "traditional" quilts are generally made (and I am NOT talking about traditional patterns). The nutshell version:

    The quilter picks a pattern and fabric, cuts the fabric and sews the quilt top. Then, the pieces of backing fabric are sewn larger than the top. The batting is also cut larger than the top.

    The backing and top are pressed and sandwiched with the batting between. The sandwich is basted and then the fabric sandwich is quilted and the binding is applied.

    I am a "traditional" quilter, so that is what I do.

    There is a method "quilt as you go" or "flip and sew" where the top, batting, and backing are sewn as one unit. I have never done that.

    Then there are Crazy Quilts that use a variety of fabrics (traditional quilts use primarily 100% cotton) that are usually sewn to foundation fabric, but they ususally don't have batting.

    It sounds from your description as if you are trying to combine those three methods.

    Have you checked out the tutorial section on the QB? There are many beginner guidelines and tips.

    Don't give up. If at first you don't succeed, try try again! :!: :!:

  3. #3
    Super Member Harmony's Avatar
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    You're a brave lady to start out with a king-sized quilt! That's a lot to handle! You might want to start out with a lap-sized quilt or even a wall hanging, just to get your feet wet and to learn some of the techniques. Success breeds success, so if you can manage a smaller project OK, then you'll be ready to move on to something bigger. Just a suggestion! Don't want you to be overwhelmed on your first try!

  4. #4
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    Hello and welcome to the board from Missouri, in the center of the US. :lol:
    You sound like my kinda gal! I NEVER do a test first, always go for the BIGGEST thing I can when learning something new! I'm not saying that is the best way to go, but how I have done everything! :? I think my first quilt was a king size also! :? But I did take a class. I am not sure that quilt is finished. Will have to look for it. :?

    I think I know what you are trying to do. I'm not saying you can't do it, but you are going to have some problems because you are trying to combine satins and ribbons and cottons and they sew differently. I think you can do it if your expectations are that if you plan to wash it ever, the fabrics may shrink or deteriorate at different rates, or ravel and come apart. That said, go for it!
    What kind of padding (we call it batting) are you using that you are sewing your strips to? Is it a solid piece more like a blanket thickness and texture? It sounds like you may be doing a sew and flip, and if so, just make sure it is sewn down firmly and won't pull away from the batting.
    When you get to the hemming (we call it binding) to keep all 3 layers together, you have options. Check out the tutorials and see how regular binding is done, and also check out "birthing a quilt" which is good for tying quilts. It is good to decide how you are going to finish it before you get too far into the process as there are decisions you can make to help make it easier for you in the end.
    But in quilting, "Anything is possible!" Really just depends on how determined you are and how much harder you want to work! Don't want to discourage you, we can help you however you want to go! I applaud you for wanting to make a quilt. You CAN do it! It is easier to do one step at a time, but helps if you know where you want to go! :thumbup:

  5. #5
    Super Member Darlene's Avatar
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    If I were you I would use a king-size sheet for the backing it would make it a lot easier to get your size right for the top and batting.

  6. #6
    Power Poster
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    Welcome -

    You are a brave one!

    No law against what you are doing - but it seems like you are going to try to run a marathon when you are still working up to walking around the block without panting.


  7. #7
    becky191985's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone! I know it's huge but at least it would get used (if it doesn't all go ridiculously wrong! :lol: )more than a lap blanket. I'm going to make cushion covers a birthday presents..probably should have started with those instead but i have such gorgeous material that I didn't want to waste it on little things! I'm gonna stick to cotton now as the satin was a pain to sew straight. my next one is going to be some strips sewn diagonally on squares, arranged so they form diamond shapes and then maybe a tumbling blocks one..if i can cut diamonds.

    I've thrown myself in at the deep end but I'm loving it! I get excited to go home and work on it some more :D

  8. #8
    Senior Member motomom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by becky191985
    I'm gonna stick to cotton now as the satin was a pain to sew straight.
    You are doing better than you think, and you have learned why quilters generally use cotton.

    Don't feel bad, I tend to do things the hard way first, also. It is ok, and no matter how you start quilting, it is only important that you start. If you read through some old threads here, you will see that plenty of us asked lots of questions at the beginning. I know I do all the time. The advice you get here will be priceless to you.

    Quilting has been one of the most rewarding and satisfying hobbies that I have ever begun.

    Good Luck, and WELCOME!


  9. #9
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by becky191985
    my next one is going to be some strips sewn diagonally on squares, arranged so they form diamond shapes and then maybe a tumbling blocks one..if i can cut diamonds.
    Just remember that you will be dealing with bias edges on the diamonds and you must be careful not to stretch those (or you will have ruffled edges).

    The tumbling blocks (we have a couple of threads on those already - you may want to look for them) have issues because they are inset seams. Don't forget to mark each seam line 1/4" in and only sew between the dots.

  10. #10
    Super Member mimee4's Avatar
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    Welcome to the world of quilting. It's exciting, addictive and oh so stress-relieving. Take photos of every finished quilt or item so you can document your progress.

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