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Started my very first quilt tonight

Started my very first quilt tonight

Old 08-11-2008, 07:26 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 68

Hi there,

After reading too many Jennifer Chiaverini novels, I finally decided to try quilting myself. I'm making a quilt for my two-year-old's "big girl bed," using a modified sailboat block pattern. I just started tonight, and managed to complete 1/4 of my first block! (considering I don't actually know how to sew, I'm pretty proud).

I do have a few questions, though. First, the pieces I've sewn are really stringy -- threads keep coming off of the edges. Is that supposed to happen, or am I doing something wrong? (and if I am, how do I stop doing it wrong?)

Second, how exact does your cutting need to be? It turns out I'm not a natural at rotary cutting (I wasted an entire fat quarter tonight just trying to cut squares properly), and I feel like even my "good" patches still aren't quite precise. Is there such a thing as "good enough," or do I need to get back to the cutting board? My patches aren't horrible, the lines just seem to waver a touch.

Thanks in advance for your help. I'm so excited to learn how to do this right!
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:38 PM
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Hi! Welcome to the board and to quilting!!! Are you using a ruler with your rotary cutter? If you are and your cuts are still wavy maybe put a little more pressure holding down your ruler. A lot of fabrics do fray, not much you can do except handle with care.
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:42 PM
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Congratulations on starting your first quilt! :D You have come to the best place for help, we all started somewhere and had the same questions that you will.

My input would be to try and find someone to spend a couple of hours with you to go over the basics of sewing, quilting, cutting and material selection.

Each square will get better and don't stress out, enjoy yourself.
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:42 PM
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Congratulations on starting your first quilt. You do need to make sure your seams are straight or your blocks won't fit together. Are you doing it by machine or hand. If you would like to see a different way to do a sailboat quilt check my sight http://appliquequilt designs.com/Sailing-to-Dreamland.html. It is an easy applique pattern.



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Old 08-11-2008, 07:47 PM
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Wow, that applique quilt is totally adorable! Mine's much more basic -- just a bunch of squares and triangles -- but I'm hoping it will turn out cute.

I am using a ruler, but still seem to have some control issues. DH got me two rotary cutters for my birthday, and the cuts I made with one of them would make you think I'd been hitting the vodka (I wasn't, I swear!). I just couldn't "drive" it. I'm doing better with the second one, but things are still a little imprecise. I think maybe I just need to practice some more.

Thanks to all of you for your responses.
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:59 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kansas
Posts: 590

When you are using your rotarty cutter and ruler...

Line up the ruler and place your finger tips on the ruler and press downward.

Hold the rotary cutter against the ruler and straight up and down, not angled, you dont neet to see where it is going, it follows the ruler.


Push down on the rotary cutter, not against the ruller. It doesnt take presser against the ruler to go straight, the ruler is a guide.

When you cut past where your hand is holding the ruler, stop and walk your hand up the ruler and push down again, so you always have control of the ruler where the cutter is cutting..

Practice will make you better

Hope this helps...
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:09 PM
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Here try this tutorial on how to use a rotary cutter! Good information here--good luck and welcome to quilting your new found ADDICTION :D :lol: :shock: :D :D :roll: :D
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:30 PM
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Location: Bay area CA
Posts: 885

Lots of things to suggest...

Prewash your fabric then really give it a heavy starch. Stiff fabric is much easier to cut straight.

Get a good quilting ruler. Being able to see what you are doing is important.

Keep your fingers out of the way.

It should not take a lot of pressure to cut fabric.

Cut only one layer at a time to start. Measure very carefully.

Use good fabric. Cheap fabric unravels.

We all were (are?) beginners at some time. I never touched a sewing machine till about two years ago. three complete quilts and three more tops later... voilla!

tim in san jose
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:02 PM
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Welcome, and congratulations on starting your first quilt! Will you post a picture of your progress?
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:14 AM
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Quilting Newbie, many of us here are self-taught and if we can be successful you can too! Any good basic quilting book would be a valuable investment for you right now if you don't already have one. You'll learn how to prepare your fabric for cutting, how to rotary cut, how to find the perfect scant 1/4" seam and how to square your blocks. Accurate cutting and seaming will insure the success of your project. Maybe try a mini-quilt of a simple 4 patch first just to familiarize yourself with the entire quilting process from start to finish before tackling your first "real" project.
Also, there are tons of free videos on the net demonstrating just about everything you want to see in the quilting process. You CAN do this :D

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